International Coworking Day: Celebrating Global Shared Spaces

There was a time when the concept of a shared work space was considered an anathema for any working professional. Not only could businesses bring their mind around this concept, there was hardly any need to build this up. Times have changed since then, with the rise of gig economy, there came a requirement to create a collaborative workplace for such professionals.

International Coworking Day celebrates the milestones and the concept of utilising a shared space amongst a varied working professional, without hurting a business’ bottom line. Today, coworking spaces has changed and developed new ways to work. Services given by companies hosting a shared work space provides flexibility, maintains the upkeep of basic amenities such as desk space, electricity, internet connection and businesses availing such service have pay is just for the space at a reasonable price.

Along with the added benefits, members of any coworking space get to interact with individuals and businesses not just from their own industries but also from other sectors. This allows diversity of people with dynamic skills and mindset, which can be expanded to get collaboration from seemingly unknown sectors. Shared office space is always buzzing with ideas and activities.

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The traditional method of running a business with an actual overhead asset such as a building and purchasing furnishings, organising cubicles and all are a thing of the past. It is estimated that there will be over 26,000 coworking space globally. Of this currently, 10% of office spaces are occupied by coworking and is set to rise to approximately 25% in the next few years.

Plus, the working population these days prefers to set their own timing, particularly the ones who are taking over the mantle from the old guards and play the vital bridge between the past and new rising professionals: Millennials.

Millennials are those born in 1981-1995 while Gen Z (often referred to as Gen Alpha), are those born after 1995, and will become the major chunk of the workforce. According to a study by Cushman & Wakefield, the biggest changes in demographics and workplace culture that will happen over the next 10 years is the entrance of some 1.3 billion Gen Z members in to the workforce this decade.

This is big number! And on top of it, these Gen Z are also digital natives, meaning, they don’t know a world without internet or smart phones and their habit reflect that. These digital natives are always clicked on and have more knowledge than even their immediate Millennial peers.

According to Forbes, millennials prefer working out of coworking spaces when it comes to running their business, for a few reasons, namely, affordability and having an ease of mind on the office expenditures such as internet. However, the workforce will undergo some changes, where coworking spaces will need to evolve and remain relevant to the dynamic, new working age population.

As we enter the new decade, it is imperative that workspace ranging from traditional office space to coworking/cosharing spaces are ready to retain the new-age workforce in their businesses.

Over the decade, 693 million workers will be retiring, a tectonic shift in the modern workplace globally. This will result in businesses going the extra mile in the hopes to recruit and retain talent and ensure their workspaces are adapted to the unique needs and expectations of its new workers. As Gen Z enter the workforce, flexibility – work timing, work life balance – will become more and more valuable.

So, where are we heading in this coworking space?

With the current COVID-19 crisis, shared office space will have to adapt to the new normal by arranging the space to maintain social distancing, arranging sanitisation products, fumigation and maintaining general welfare for members to remain healthy. The way ahead for coworking space will be to providing flexible payment and tenancy plans for business and individual members. Loyalty program is another good way to ensure long-term clients and members are not only gratified but also provide continued service.

One of the many big sale points of shared office space is recreational facilities such as gym and pool table. Expanding this on the online forum under the current pandemic might introduce new trending events.

The future of the coworking space is alive and well, as human mind is capable of going beyond the horizon and challenging new ideas and expectations. Shared office space provides that stimulus and connections which allows for business growth and directly contributes towards scaling the economy and creating new industries and sectors.

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