Will coworking spaces work for you? You may be surprised by some recent findings

by Brianna Crandall — November 25, 2019 — WeWork is the most popular coworking space, but smaller, local coworking spaces are catching up, according to a new survey from Clutch, a Washington-DC-based business-to-business (B2B) ratings, reviews, and research platform for information technology (IT), marketing, and business service providers.

“Coworking” spaces provide an office environment and amenities for growing businesses, through the use of a common infrastructure that is shared by workers from different companies.

Some coworking spaces are managed by national and global organizations, such as WeWork (see the sidebar below for recent WeWork news), and some are managed by regional and local organizations.

Despite its recent troubles, WeWork is still king: 39% of coworking employees work in a WeWork space. But local coworking spaces are almost as popular, at 36%.

Most coworking employees don’t work only in their coworking space

According to the report, employees tend to treat their coworking space as a supplement to other workspaces.

Just 22% of people who work in a coworking space rely on it as their sole workspace.

Clutch: Top 6 Coworking Spaces

Image courtesy Clutch

Coworking employees also work in traditional offices (65%), remote locations (54%), and on-site locations such as labs or factories (37%).

Denver marketing firm SchroderHaus, for example, has three employees who work at Enterprise Coworking full-time. Seven others work remotely but have the option to come to the coworking space.

“We do love that Enterprise has enough space and flexibility to accommodate any member of our team, who come to the office for meetings or to work for the day,” Founder Elexis Schroder said.

Businesses tend to stay at their coworking spaces

The report points out that some businesses use a coworking space as a temporary, flexible space before moving to a permanent office space. But many companies stay in a coworking space for several years, even as they grow.

Workers and businesses are satisfied overall with coworking: most stay in their coworking space for more than one year.

Three-fourth of coworking employees (75%) have been at their current coworking space for at least one year, including 18% for five years or more.

SchroderHaus has been in its coworking space since 2016 with no plans to leave.

“What I love most about being in a coworking space is the ability to provide my team with so many amenities and comforts without having to make the capital investment, which I simply could not do as a small business,” Schroder said.

Coworking spaces’ layouts are designed to meet any business’s needs

According to the report, many coworking spaces offer a variety of layouts to meet individuals’ and businesses’ unique needs. The coworking membership businesses purchase can determine how much access they have to a space’s full layout.

Around half of coworking spaces include open floor plans (52%), private rooms (50%), and cubicles (42%).

Coworking offices feature a variety of spaces for employees to work in other than their desk

The report notes that coworking spaces usually provide various types of workspaces, including meeting rooms, private offices, and shared open areas.

Around two-thirds of coworking spaces have private meeting rooms (66%), private offices (66%), and small collaboration rooms (60%).

Clutch: coworking office layouts

Image courtesy Clutch

Coworking offices provide amenities and “fun” spaces

The report points out that coworking spaces provide not only communal working areas and conference rooms, but often such amenities as a café, office support, and parking options. Many also include fun” spaces to de-stress employees and ultimately lead to better productivity.

Approximately two-thirds of coworking spaces (67%) have lounge/break areas.

And 39% of coworking spaces have a recreation area. For example, Enterprise Coworking in Denver provides a game room at with ping-pong tables, shuffleboard, two beers on tap, a popcorn maker, and an Xbox.

Coworking’s “fun” spaces could be why 60% of employees say they are more relaxed since they began coworking, and 68% can focus better at work.

Larger businesses spend most of their workweek at their shared space

According to the report, the majority of employees at coworking spaces visit their shared space most days of the week, particularly if they work at a company with more than 100 employees.

More than three-fourths (76%) of coworking employees spend three or more days in their coworking space. This includes 46% who spend five or more days in their coworking space.

Employees at larger companies are more likely to spend five days or more in a coworking space:

  • More than 100 employees: 53%
  • 51 to 100 employees: 48%
  • 11 to 50 employees: 41%
  • 10 or fewer employees: 29%
Clutch: days spent at coworking space

Image courtesy Clutch

Many larger businesses don’t allow remote work, so employees tend to spend more time at their designated office space, rather than work from home or other remote locations.

On November 20, 2019, WeWork announced that it was laying off 2,400 employees around the world, due to major global losses. These layoffs represent nearly 20 percent of the company’s employees that were working there in June. The New York Times reported that WeWork also is laying off approximately another 1,000 employees that are outside of its core business of subletting office space as well transferring as an additional 1,000 maintenance employees to outside contractors, including JLL, where they will continue to do the work they had been doing. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Adam Neumann, had attempted to expand the company quite rapidly into other areas, subjecting it to major losses; he resigned in September. Facing bankruptcy, WeWork has been taken over by SoftBank, who is WeWork’s largest shareholder in an effort to rescue the company.

Larger businesses tend to treat a coworking space like their full-time office space. Smaller businesses or individual workers are more likely to treat it as a supplement to their workspace.

Will local coworking spaces dethrone WeWork?

Coworking owners say yes, based on coworking’s overall growth — the number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to reach 26,000 in 2022, up from 18,000 in 2019 and 8,000 in 2015.

“I think the smaller, local coworking spaces will overtake WeWork,” said Andrew Schuh, marketing specialist at Focus Property Group, which owns Enterprise Coworking. “You can’t stop that kind of momentum [that coworking spaces have].”

Local coworking companies tend to be more involved in their community, which also may help explain their appeal.

“Being local and involved in local events and forming partnerships with local businesses has really helped us,” Schuh said. “We have a local touch that WeWork doesn’t have.”

Clutch’s 2019 Coworking Survey included 501 people who have worked in a coworking space in the past 12 months. The survey was created by Clutch and not sponsored by any coworking companies. Respondents worked in spaces managed by multiple coworking companies.

Read the full Coworking Space Trends for 2020 report on the Clutch website.