Coworking Is The New Normal, And These Stats Prove It

There are approximately 35,000 flexible workspaces today and in London alone flexible workspaces are expected to reach 3.0 million square feet by 2020

Updated, May 2019

  • There are an estimated 35,000 flexible workspaces in the world today.
  • The global market value of flexible workspaces is estimated at an approximate $26 billion.
  • These statistics, and more like them, prove that flexible workspace has become the workplace of choice.

In a recent article, Steve King from Emergent Research stated that coworking became an attractive concept because back when it first started to appear, it countered the pejorative views of the traditional office. If we look back to just a few years ago, coworking was considered to be a “movement” or a trend, with many believing it would fade away.

Fast forward to 2019 and coworking is a full-blown industry that has disrupted the real estate industry and the way people work. And while we can’t accurately predict whether the term coworking will still be used 10 years from now, “as language evolves, industry terminology moves with it”, there is no denying that coworking is today’s normal.

Suggested Reading: “The Top 5 Ways CRE is Crossing into the Coworking Industry

Coworking, as well as other flexible workspaces, are known for offering environments that are conducive to innovation, collaboration, and productivity. These type of workplaces were pioneers in implementing a human approach to design, a trend which is catching up among real estate developers, landlords, and companies.

From trend to mainstream

The Oxford English Dictionary defines normal as: “the usual, typical, or expected state or condition.” As Sara King notes in this article, coworking could arguably be classed as a ‘new normal’ for workplace requirements. And we think that’s spot on.

Coworking has become the new normal in that it has become the expected and preferred workplace of today’s workforce. This is evidenced in the fact that large companies are increasingly seeking to enhance the workplace experience as a means to attract and retain talent, and that a significant percentage of workers who have the option to work from home or a coffee shop prefer to work from a coworking space.

Coworking has come a long way since 2005, when the first modern day coworking space opened; and while there is no sweet formula to getting the ‘perfect’ space, operators of all shapes and sizes have enhanced their service offering to meet the demands of their market. Consequently, in the past few years we’ve seen operators adopt hybrid workplace models, we’ve seen operators open niche spaces, and we’ve seen billions of dollars invested in the industry.

Numbers that back up the growth and potential of coworking (updated, May 2019)

Statistics gathered from reports published in 2019

  • There are approximately over 35,000 flexible workspaces in the entire world, which represents 521 million square feet of flexible space.
  • The global market value of flexible workspaces is estimated at an approximate $26 billion.
  • Up until  2022, the number of coworking spaces is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6% in the U.S. and 13% elsewhere.
  • The amount of coworking space leased and its share of total office space rose by almost half in only 18 months, from the end of 2016 through mid-2018.
  • In 2018,  the number of coworking spaces rose 16% in the U.S. and 36% outside the U.S.
  • Between 2014 and end of 2018, the number of flexible workspace locations expanded by +205% while the number of operators expanded by +138%.
  • 40% of flexible workspace demand is forecast to come from large and corporate companies.
  • 14% of employees at large companies use coworking spaces.
  • The average coworking space requirement continues to increase year after year, with the average client taking 7 desks.
  • 72% of coworking operators say they expect to see further industry consolidation, with 58% believing consolidation is a great opportunity.
  • In 2018, flexible workspaces accounted for more than two-thirds of the U.S.office market occupancy gains.
  • By 2030, the flexible workspace market is expected to represent 30% of U.S. office stock.
  • Coworking spaces accounted for almost 10% of space leased in Manhattan in the first half of 2018.
  • Demand of flexible workspace solutions from corporate clients increased by 21% in 2018.
  • Europe is forecast to see 255 million square feet of flexible space in 2019,  which represents a 12% increase.
  • Flexible workspaces are expected to make up 7% of the London Commercial Real Estate market in 2019.
  • In 2018, active flexible workspace locations totaled 11.5 million square feet in London, with a further 3.0 million square feet expected to blaunched between now and 2020.
  • Coworking in Asia-Pacific has the highest share of the overall office stock at 2.1%, comparatively in Europe and North America the share is around 1.0%.
  • 15% and 5% Proportion of Grade A office space occupied by flexible workspace operators in prime office areas of Bangalore and Singapore.
  • In 2018, flexible workspaces accounted for 16% of prime grade net absorption in Shanghai, 10% on Hong Kong Island, 8% in the five central wards of Tokyo, and 45% in Singapore.

The statistics were compiled from a number of reports:

Colliers InternationalU.S. Flexible Workspace Outlook Report, The Flexible Workspace Outlook Report 2019 EMEA, Occupier Profiles
GenslerU.S. Workplace Survey 2019
JLLFlexible Workspace Markets 2019
Instant OfficesFlexible Workspace Trends and Predictions, GCUC presentation
Cushman & WakefieldEuropean Coworking Hotspot Index
COLATAM presentations

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Statistics gathered from reports published in 2017-2018

  • There are currently 14,411 Coworking spaces in the world today.
  • Shared workspaces have grown at an incredible rate of 200% over the past five years. In global cities like London, New York and Chicago they are expanding at an annual rate of 20%, making coworking an institutional part of the market.
  • The number of coworking spaces in Australia grew 297% between 2013-2017.
  • The average flexible workspace unit size is estimated at 22,300 sq ft, which is an increase from circa 15,000 sq ft two years ago.
  • Flexible workspace operators currently occupy around 10.7 million square feet of space across central London.
  • Flexible workspaces are typically operating at 84% capacity in Central  London.
  • Leasing 2.6m sq ft of space, WeWork has become the largest corporate office occupier in Central London
  • Coworking has taken the Asia-Pacific region by storm, leasing more than 8.0 million square feet over the last two year.
  • Coworking now takes up 27million square feet of office space across the US.
  • Occupancy levels have been nearing 100% for the few institutionalised coworking operators in India.
  • The coworking segment in India is expected to receive $400 million in investments by 2018
  • The potential market size for the coworking segment across India currently stands in the range of 12-16 million.
  • The number of coworking members will rise to 3.8 million by 2020 and 5.1 million by 2022
  • 76% of coworking members plan to remain users of coworking spaces in 2018.
  • By 2020 50% of large companies will have some form of shared office space.
  • 83% of users of coworking and other forms of flexible space claim to have benefited from these new work environments over the last 5-10 years.
  • 84% of people who use coworking spaces are more engaged and motivated.
  • 89% of people who cowork reported being happier.
  • The future of coworking is forecasted at a healthy growth rate of 15% over the next 5 years
  • 72% of landlords agree that working with coworking operators has significant benefits for their development

The statistics were compiled from a number of reports:
Cushman & Wakefield — Asia Pacific, Coworking 2018: The Flexible Workplace Evolves
JLL — Global Market Perspective, The Future of Work: The Coworking Revolution,
GCUC + Emergent Research — 2018 Coworking Forecast
Yardi Matrix — Shared Space: Coworking’s Rising Star
Deskmag — The 2018 Global Coworking Survey
The Instant Group — The Marketplace for Flexible Work
Knight and Frank — Culture Clash: Flexible Workspace, Coworking & the Future