How Coworking Spaces Are Evolving in 2023
5 ways coworking spaces are evolving in 2023
The coworking sector is thriving. While occupancy rates contracted during the global Covid-19 lockdowns, they are rising once again as more companies – large as well as small – seek increased flexibility from their office space portfolios.
Coworking has evolved since the concept began in the early 2000s.
Once the sole domain of freelancers and startups, it now has a universal appeal and has managed to retain its core principle of ‘community building’. Let’s take a look at the five key ways the sector is evolving to meet the needs of today’s businesses.
Operators are expanding
The number of coworking spaces worldwide is predicted to reach 41,975 by 2024. Brand new coworking operators are setting up shop and established players are opening new locations across the UK. And not just in the major cities.
Foundry, for example, is opening a new location in Poole in March. It already runs a coworking space in Eastbourne and has another on the horizon in Walthamstow (London, Zone 3). Foundry seeks to empower the local business community by enabling members to use the space to sell, work, host, network and collaborate.
In January, coworking giant WeWork announced that it is expanding its office footprint at 123 Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria, London, to meet increasing demand from enterprise customers. Meanwhile, The Office Group (TOG) is set to open its Black & White Building – London’s tallest mass-timber office – this winter.
Buildings are getting smarter
A smart building is one that uses technology to automate its processes, with the aim of using resources – such as heating and cooling – more efficiently. Some coworking spaces are using occupancy sensors to work out how their building is being utilised.
Thermal sensors that are connected to the HVAC system can identify the temperature in different parts (or zones) of a coworking space and modify it according to the need. For instance, if an area is particularly busy and getting warmer, the system will identify this and cool it. CO2 sensors can detect when CO2 levels are getting too high and ensure more fresh air enters the building.
Residential and coworking are intersecting
Increasingly, new residential developments are dedicating a portion of their floor space to coworking. The number of people working from home has significantly increased since 2020, yet working in the home full-time can have a negative impact on some people’s sense of wellbeing and, as a result, their productivity.
Cortland Cassiobury in Watford, for instance, has a business suite with a flexible coworking space. Node in Brixton is a new ‘Soho House style’ living complex comprising apartments, a wellness garden, a roof terrace and a coworking space.
More industries are getting on board
Coworking spaces are still, to a large extent, associated with desk-based sectors such as media and tech. However, more and more ‘niche’ coworking spaces are opening up to cater to the needs of other sectors.
Hunter Collective is a coworking space for those operating in the beauty industry, providing coworking salons and event space in Farringdon and Spitalfields. As well as offering professionals somewhere to establish themselves and meet clients, coworking spaces like these open up opportunities for networking and growth.
Other ‘niche’ coworking spaces include Stillpoint Spaces London, a coworking community designed by therapists for therapists, Twickenham Film Studios in London which provides flexible workspace for creatives, and OpenCell, a shared workspace and labspace in London designed for biotech startups.
Coworking spaces are becoming greener
If the UK is to achieve its goal of being net zero by 2050, everyone must play their part in reducing harmful emissions – including all businesses. Many coworking spaces are leading the way when it comes to sustainable operational practices.
x+y, a flexible workspace provider with six locations, is a certified B Corp, meaning it has met high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. It uses 100% renewable sources of electricity to power its buildings.
Coworking spaces are also becoming ‘greener’ by adopting:
- Recycling policies
- Local and eco-friendly suppliers
- Biophilic design elements, such as plants in the office
- Energy-saving best practices
- Zero single-use plastics
- Water efficiency
The truth is, coworking spaces that fail to prioritise the environment will fall behind. Many of today’s freelancers, SMEs and larger businesses expect their suppliers – including their workspace providers – to be able to demonstrate their green credentials. It’s no secret that investors are taking sustainability more seriously too.
If you’re considering coworking for your team, First Office Hub can help. You can use First Office Hub to search and compare 5,000 offices in all major cities, including London and Manchester. A consultant will help you to define your requirements, book viewings and secure the best deal on your new workplace, free of charge.