How significant is the coworking trend, and how will it affect your workspace?

by Brianna Crandall — April 26, 2017 — Look across your desk to your coworker, and the chances are increasing that that person may not even work for the same company as you do. Over the next several years, office workers may soon find themselves working with people from other companies, linked together only by a concept known as coworking, finds a recent survey conducted by global corporate real estate (CRE) association CoreNet Global and global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).

The study found that as property costs and lease lengths are important factors for CRE executives, many are turning to flexible and efficient workspaces, such as a coworking environment, where space — and costs — can be shared.

In the survey of 176 corporate real estate professionals:

  • 96% want to use space more efficiently by offering flexible working practices.
  • 89% want to invest in technology to enable more flexible work locations.
  • 58% want to consolidate and have a smaller number of larger real estate units.
  • 59% want to lease short-term space.
  • 54% want to lease space now from coworking operators.

“Coworking practices are gaining momentum,” said Sigrid G. Zialcita, C&W’s managing director, Research and Investment Strategy, Asia Pacific. “It is fast becoming a part of the corporate culture at many organizations.”

Zialcita said coworking is a global trend, most notably in Asia, where it accounted for 5 million square feet of space in 2016. Coworking supply has doubled in Washington, DC, in the last five years. One-third of coworking space in the U.K. is in London, which grew 16% in 2016.

One of the key players in the market, WeWork, now is the largest occupier of corporate real estate space in New York City, and has plans to grow heavily throughout Asia, points out the report.

“Connectivity means that working from a specific office location every day is not critical,” said Tim Venable, senior vice president at CoreNet Global. “And workers crave flexibility. Combine those factors with the fact that corporate real estate executives want to both save money and support the way that staff prefers to work, and coworking locations offer both sides enormous benefits.”

CoreNet Global offers a blog post on the study, Webinar slides on Coworking: Understanding the Ongoing Evolution, and more information about coworking on its Web site.