A promising year for co-working spaces, 2020 is expected to give rise to plenty of trends. With the number of co-working members increasing dramatically over the past decade, from about 21,000 in 2010 to an expected 2,680,000 through 2020, the industry as a whole has confidently solidified itself as a new driver of workspace trends and habits. But if you know even just a bit about co-working, you’ll understand co-working today isn’t what it was 10 years ago when it burst onto the market. But that remains a good thing, as trends and changes are almost always come with the ambition of making improvements, be it fostering a more collaborative community or making productive and comfortable spaces for every member. But what trends can we expect to see in co-working in 2020?
1. An emphasis on community, rather than competition
One of the most influential trends expected to continue in 2020 is the emphasis on fostering a collaborative and inclusive community. Co-working spaces are expected to spend less time worrying about the precise location of their space and the tiny differences in what they offer when compared to other co-working companies, but instead drive community events and inter-member collaboration. Encouraging their community members to be as generous and helpful as possible, co-working operators are starting to promote even more of a mutually beneficial environment where members help other members. The belief is that people value a community and its benefits far more than a space with a minutely more convenient location. And likely because it’s been very well documented in recent years, people have become more aware of the potential benefits of working in an office space that has access to a communal area, whether it boils down to being inspired by other members, forging business relations or simply being able to network far easier. With members from all walks of life joining to get a taste of something new, co-working communities are inclusive and provide a great place for new business owners and mature corporations alike to broaden their horizons and gain fresh perspectives.
2. Enterprise clients will spend more time in co-working
The trend started back in 2016 and 2017 when Microsoft and IBM cut huge deals with co-working operators to rent space for a large number of their employees. While they helped bring the idea that more mature businesses can benefit from a communal area just as much as the freelance and creative crowd, other trends helped propel it even further. These trends range from more and more short-term projects being taken on in big corporations, the ability to be agile when it comes to macro or economic changes to the general hunger for innovative ideas from those that base themselves in happening co-working communities. Not to mention, staff workplace expectations have changed over the years and now favor spaces that drive community and collaboration. Overall, the flexibility that co-working spaces can offer has made them an ideal place for more and more enterprise clients, and we’re sure 2020 will see a further increase in the number of them moving in.
3. Spaces will go greener and more sustainable
Another trend expected to hit the ground running in 2020 is that co-working spaces will make an attempt to go even greener and more sustainable. Whether that be implementing hand dryers instead of paper towels or sensors to turn off A/C and lighting, locations are expected to follow the trend set by climate change activists and environmentalists like Greta Thunberg who have sparked increasingly widespread attention recently. On top of this, many more spaces are starting to adopt a greener appearance to the space itself. Often with plants liberally spaced around the work area, a concerted effort has been made to increase the productivity in their spaces and add a greater connection to nature. Events are also held at many spaces that nicely complement this trend. theDesk, for example, organizes a weekly ‘theDesk x Rooftop Republic Urban Farming’ event that allows members and attendees to grow their own sustainable produce on their very own outdoor terrace.
4. Less expansion, better quality for members
While in previous years co-working spaces saw explosive membership figures, in 2019 56% of survey respondents believed that the number of members was only going to mildly increase. In 2020 the industry is still predicted to flourish, but instead of focusing on raw expansion, spaces are starting to place their primary focus on improving the quality and experience of their existing spaces. From filling up occupancy numbers to the fostering of a more collaborative and diverse community, operators have started to realize that the primary attraction is in fact the community that shared spaces offer. Building this and improving existing infrastructure will be key.
5. More tech in the workspace
As with every industry, new tech is always being implemented to make jobs easier and more efficient. The co-working world is no different, and 2020 is set to see the introduction of many more Internet of Things (IoT) devices that make the spaces much more accommodating for its members. From access cards and mobile app booking systems to smart sensors, these changes will mean less wasted time on mundane tasks and more time for staff to cater to individual members and make an even better workplace experience. Not to mention, increased automation means a reduced overhead cost – something which eventually trickles down and benefits the members themselves.
In short, while 2019 was an influential year for the co-working business, there’s plenty in store for 2020. Members can expect to see, in general, more of a focus on driving community collaboration and an overall better experience in terms of sustainability, technology and more.
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