- Allwork.Space counts down the year’s most read articles
- There are some notable surprises on the list, especially in the top 5
- In 2019 our goal is to continue publishing content that’s interesting and of value to you — let us know what you want to read about by contacting the editors.
This year the flexible workspace industry has experienced exponential growth. I am happy and proud to say that the same goes for Allwork.Space. It’s been an incredible year, we’ve met our goals, surpassed some of them, and welcomed new people to our team.
This growth has been possible thanks to you, our readers, and your support. Our goal is to continue writing and publishing content that’s interesting and of value to you and with this in mind, we have just completed our annual review of this year’s (2018) most read articles on our site.
I’m not going to lie, there were a few surprises there (you’ll see!) — but doing this provided us with valuable insights on the topics that you find the most interesting, the most relevant, and the most entertaining.
Check out our 15 most read articles of 2018… and make sure you read them if you haven’t yet!
In December of 2017, Onex Corp and Brookfield Asset Management made an all-cash offer to International Workplace Group (IWG). Their initial offering of £2.5 billion was rejected, however the Canadian consortium had until February 2nd to make a formal offer. Just a day before the deadline, February 1st, news came out that the deal was officially off the table.
We all knew this was coming sooner rather than later. Coworking has experienced exponential growth over the past couple of years and this year the coworking industry made a big splash on the larger commercial and office real estate industry. Several reports and surveys published this year serve as proof of the flexible workspace industry’s potential, marking a new era where property owners and landlords are actively seeking to get involved in the industry.
Since coworking boomed a few years ago, many have argued that the industry was unlikely to withstand an economic downturn. A 2018 report from Cushman & Wakefield argues the opposite, claiming that “the industry is well-positioned to withstand an economic downturn”; that is, if operators are able to diversify their services (management contracts, catering to large companies, etc.). Still, withstanding an economic downturn doesn’t mean the industry would come out unscathed. The industry could experience a 6% decline in a downturn, and those most likely to be affected are small coworking providers.
The open office debate took off when large companies started to ditch the private office to create more collaborative environments. While some argue open workspaces increase collaboration, others argue that it hinders productivity. It seems like two scholars might have finally found an answer to the debate. According to their research, taking out spatial boundaries (like in open workspaces) leads to decreased face-to-face interaction but increased digital collaboration.
WeWork’s sky-high valuation has always been a topic of debate, especially when International Workplace Group’s (IWG) valuation is so low in comparison. One of the reasons why WeWork’s valuation is so high is because the coworking giant is valued as a service-based subscription model, instead of capital-intensive, like IWG’s. Since WeWork’s valuation is service-based, it means the company must keep reinventing itself and its services to meet market demands and sustain its now almost $50 billion valuation.
The number of corporate or enterprise customers (those with 1,000 or more employees) using WeWork has doubled from last year to more than 1,000 businesses and 25% of WeWork’s annual revenue now comes from such companies, according to a recent report from Recode. Yet, this trend isn’t unique to WeWork; in fact, corporations are taking the basic methodologies developed in coworking spaces and modifying them into a viable business model to foster innovation for such large enterprises.
Earlier this year, WeWork raised $702 million in debt by selling high yield bonds. The news generated some debate, as the coworking giant used a controversial financial metric called “community adjusted EBITDA”. This metric helped WeWork cast a more favorable light on its balance sheets, which would otherwise highlight the company’s massive losses.
International Workplace Group’s growth strategy has always (since it was known as only Regus) relied in great part on acquisitions. Last year, IWG grew its portfolio by 1 million sq ft in a single day when it acquired UK rival Basepoint Business Centres. This year, the company focused on growing its coworking presence. IWG acquired New Zealand’s largest coworking brand, BizDojo, shortly after acquiring No.18.
Our take on the top three trends that were set to impact the workplace this year. Technology, wellness, and more flexibility were on our list, specifically mental health, IoT, and how new lease accounting standards would drive more companies towards flexible terms. Stay tuned for our 2019 trends, we’ll be sharing those shortly.
Allwork.Space’s digital nomad, Robert Kropp, shares how he finally had a great hotel coworking experience after many failed attempts. According to Robert, the Tryp by Wyndham hotel in Dubai strikes the right balance with high-level hospitality and great perks with its coworking space, Nest.
5. Corporate Coworking And Niche Spaces Are The Future Of The Workspace Industry: A Q&A With Steve King
In an interview with Allwork.Space, Steve King from Emergent Research talked about the factors driving flexible workspace growth, why industry terminology will likely change, and how corporate coworking brands and small, niche spaces will both continue to be relevant in five years.
Suggested readings on industry terminology:
- 10 Years from Now, Will the Term Coworking Exist?
- Why Coworking Needs a New Definition
- Coworking might not Need a New Definition, but It Needs to Broaden the One it Has
Robert Kropp gets real about being a digital nomad. It’s not all “unicorns and rainbows” and there are indeed bad times for those traversing the globe. Robert shares 25 tips from well-practiced and well-traveled digital nomads to improve the wandering worker’s lifestyle, including how coworking is a great way to combat loneliness and isolation.
An opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal confirms what industry experts have been saying for years: WeWork’s business model isn’t likely to survive an economic downturn. The WSJ article lists WeWork as one of the companies most likely to fail due to its lease obligations and recent debt.
By March of this year, coworking took up 27 million square feet of office space across the US; that number has likely increased in the past 9 months. By 2022, 5.1 million people are expected to be coworking and by 2030, 30% of corporate real estate portfolios will comprise flexible space. It’s safe (and fair) to say that coworking is the new normal.
Remember what I said about there being a few surprises in this list? This one is the biggest surprise! Plants, alongside other natural elements like access to natural light, have made their comeback into the office in recent years as businesses seek ways in which to address wellness in the built environment. Here are the ones that are fairly easy to take care of (and keep alive).