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The future of the co-working industry 

2nd May 2024

The rise of coworking in Europe has been a fascinating trend in recent years. As technology has enabled more flexible working arrangements, traditional office setups have given way to innovative shared workspaces.

Post Covid-19, there has been a surge in demand for flexible office spaces which has further fuelled the growth of the coworking space market. This exciting sector continues to grow and evolve as operators develop their offering to members and elevate their community engagement.

The coworking space market will grow from $19.05 billion last year (2023) to $22.44 billion in 2024 – an annual growth rate of 17.8%. Further, it’s estimated that the flexible office space sector will rise significantly from its current size of c 53.4 million square feet (Sept 2023) to 81 million square feet by 2025 – a phenomenal increase of 52 percent.

By the end of 2024, it’s anticipated there will be 41,975 global coworking spaces. That’s an annual growth rate of just over 21%.

We were a key sponsor of Coworking Europe where we had the chance to get insights from leading experts in this space. Here’s what they had to say.

Patrick Kennedy, EMEA Flexible Workspace, Colliers:

“So we’re seeing growth, [coworking] it’s becoming more popular. Post-pandemic we’re also seeing large occupiers coming into the spaces – it’s not necessarily just for start-ups and SMEs as it was historically. So it’s evolving, it’s adapting and we’re all still learning from the modern and agile ways of working that we live in today.”

Ben Kolp, CEO, The Living Room Coworking:

“The industry is growing and professionalising with more and more corporates using flexible office setups, but at the same time you will always have – and I hope for us there will always be – the audience of individuals like freelancers, entrepreneurs, digital nomads and remote workers that look for an inspiring space where, apart from a desk and Wi-Fi, you can find community events, engagement and synergies where people know your name and you’re being cared for. All of that is, I think, the future, to keep catering for those two audiences and to stay true to the mission of the sort of space you want to offer.”

Emma Swinnerton, Head of Flexible Workspace EMEA, Cushman & Wakefield:

“It’s a fascinating time for the flexible workspace sector. There’s lots of opportunity driven by occupiers needing more and more flexibility. But also from a landlord’s perspective we’re seeing an evolution in terms of the types of models they’re prepared to entertain in terms of working with flexible workspace operators.”

Maarten Claes, International Business Development Manager – Zapfloor:

“Because of COVID, the traditional office industry has been under quite some stress, for quite some duration and we do really see that co-working and flex spaces can be a solution and an answer to this problem as well. This is going to be an ongoing trend. It will only be reinforced in the coming years as well so outlook wise I think it’s looking very promising for all the different actors in this industry.”

Alessandro Nacci, CEO Sofia:

“What we are seeing today is that many real estate players are actually looking for new ways of proposing their spaces to their customers. And today customers are looking for super flexible solutions because basically nobody knows what is going to happen tomorrow. So you really need to have a- plug-and-play space where you go and just use the space to do your job and your work. These require operators to be organised to manage the spaces correctly and technology plays a very big role in this direction. Access control today needs to be integrated with a lot of property management systems or ERP management software in general.”

Liz Elam, Founder of GCUC:

“So, globally, coworking is going to do really, really great. We are going to see a correction in real estate because hybrid has really taken hold. But that’s okay because people are going to co-working spaces because they need to get out of their home so you need to be better than home. And you need to have things like ring lights and large monitors and really be welcoming to these people who are coming from home.”

Leon Reiner, MD – Impact Hub

“Having been through a very strenuous process of building up a new coworking space in the past three years, I’m specifically interested in understanding how topic specific co-working spaces are evolving, specifically in the sustainability space where it’s been serving us really well.”

Manuel Zea – Founder of CoworkingSpain.es

“The sector in Spain is growing a lot with cities like Madrid, Barcelona and also second cities like Malaga, Valencia are growing a lot. The traditional office industry is watching the co-working and the flex industry as the place to be and the place where they want to invest.”

Technology is one of the first challenges for any flex space. As a global leader in the development of mobile connectivity solutions in buildings, we’re helping companies around the world deliver workplaces that are truly fit for purpose.

 

 

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