The coworking scene in Australia is blossoming, with increasing amount of real estate space opening up and larger numbers of sole traders and small businesses taking advantage of low rates and shared facilities.
Overseas, coworking is seriously kicking into overdrive, and there are distinctive shifts in the way hubs are setting up, what they are offering users and how people are making the most of them. Here’s a few of our favourite global trends that are so hot right now.
1 Bigger and better
It’s not just a matter of watch this space, it’s watch this space grow. According to business trends tracker Small Biz Labs, the number of global coworking spaces will reach 26,000 by 2020 and 3.8 million people using them. There’s a boom in new coworking hubs opening up across the globe as well as an expansion of existing spaces across both their floorplans and offerings. Many are spreading their wings across cities and in different countries to reach a bigger audience and offer users multiple locations from which to work if they travel for business. One thing’s for sure – coworking is here to stay.
2 Built-in experts
Coworking hubs offer some great advantages – flexible working arrangements, access to expensive technology, meeting spaces and, of course, cheaper overheads. A growing trend is to now also offer in-house professional services to those who sign up. This varies from an on-site ergonomics expert to help set up your workstation to minimise injury and discomfort to IT experts who can set you up on Gmail in a jiffy to professional bookkeepers who’ll troubleshoot your roadblocks with cloud accounting systems. It’s all part of the package to attract and incentivise new customers.
3 Industry-specific hubs
When coworking hubs first began they attracted a very broad cross-section of the freelance and small business community. Sole traders and business owners come from all types of industry – art and design, finance, building and architecture, fashion and professional consulting among many others. Now that the good word is spreading about the huge opportunities available for those who use them, coworking spaces are now becoming more niche. It’s increasingly common to see hubs dedicated to professions, groups or even genders. Some examples include:
- Ed Space in the UK dedicated to education professionals;
- TechHub which operates tech-focused hubs in seven countries including the UK, India, Poland and Spain.
- The Wing in New York specifically for women entrepreneurs.
- Campfire based in Hong Kong offers several niche hubs including spaces for fashion and tech.
- Gateway, a more unusual niche hub – it’s an accelerator lab for cannabis startups
4 Entrepreneurs who live together, build great things together
Thanks to the rapid proliferation of coworking hubs, each one needs something pretty special to make it stand out. Rather than just offering great facilities, desk options and affordable rates, hubs are now running regular training workshops, networking events, on-site gyms and cafes. The idea is to create not just a shared workplace, but a shared experience. And yes, ping pong tables are pretty popular, too. But the latest trend which takes coworking to a whole new level is called co-living. UK hub De Zeen offers 550 rooms in a huge complex that incorporates a co-working space, a restaurant, gym, cinema, spa and launderette – you literally never have to leave the building.