- The United States, the UK, and India lead the globe in their respective number of coworking spaces.
- In the United States, the increase in coworking spaces can be largely attributed to the following causes: changing work culture, a need to network, and advancing technology and business infrastructure.
- When you’re using a coworking space, you can network with other like-minded peers that are similarly using the services.
The remote work boom wasn’t expected to last this long.
When the pandemic started, bloggers and economists alike assumed that remote work would fade as the virus subsided. Unsurprisingly, these individuals were wrong.
Granted, wholly remote work has slightly decreased, but according to Gallup research, hybrid work increased throughout 2022 and is expected to continue increasing moving forward.
Thanks to the Great Resignation and the obscenely high quit rates it brought, employers are now in a position where offering remote or hybrid work is necessary to reduce turnover and keep workers happy.
This transition to hybrid workstyles has caused the number of coworking spaces to explode in recent years, especially in countries that are planning for the future of work and the various challenges it might bring.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and India lead the globe in their respective number of coworking spaces.
Let’s examine coworking spaces in the U.S., India, and the U.K., and why these countries are seeing such an influx of coworking spaces.
Coworking in the U.S.
According to the most recent study by Statista, there are almost 24,000 coworking spaces globally, and per the most recent Zippia survey, more than 6,200 of these spaces are concentrated in the United States.
This concentration is down from almost 20% of global coworking spaces in 2020, but the number of office spaces in the United States has increased exponentially during the same time.
Considering the transition from the in-office, authoritarian work that was the standard less than a decade ago, to the surge of remote and collaborative work post-pandemic, an influx of coworking spaces all over the world only makes sense.
Traditionally, most workers didn’t have the luxury to use coworking spaces. Working in the office was the norm and employers had no reason to allow their employees to work remotely.
During the pandemic, business closures and shelter-in-place ordinances forced countless Americans into remote work. Almost immediately, publications like Forbes were lauding the benefits of remote work, but as time went on, some of the struggles of working from home became apparent, too.
When you’re working remotely, it’s easy to get in the habit of staying at your home and using the same place you eat, sleep, and relax as your primary workspace. For a time this may be alright, but working exclusively from home tends to blur the line between work and personal life and may lead to job burnout.
Enter coworking spaces.
In the United States, the increase in coworking spaces can be largely attributed to the following causes: changing work culture, a need to network, and advancing technology and business infrastructure.
Changing work culture
The days of working in an office with a single manager and no real open line of communication except iffy HR departments are over.
Authoritarian management styles and toxic work cultures, although still alive and well, are fading out of public favor. Now, they’re being replaced by more collaborative, decentralized management styles that incentivize innovation and value employee well-being.
Unsurprisingly, this collaborative approach works well with remote work. Multiple lines of communication and the ability to choose working hours allow employees and managers to have one single, unified goal: deadlines.
Perhaps in conjunction with this unified front, the change in work culture has also caused many employers to give workers the option to utilize coworking spaces instead of working exclusively at home or in the office.
Humans are social creatures. The after-effects of the pandemic and the sheer amount of time spent inside are still being felt, and the inherent need to network has given coworking spaces an appeal that wasn’t often considered before the pandemic.
When you’re using a coworking space, you can network with other like-minded peers that are similarly using the services.
Being surrounded by other motivated entrepreneurs and business owners, or other coworkers is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated and focused on the important tasks at hand.
Considering that some states are still in the process of phasing out COVID-19 restrictions, it only makes sense that the number of coworking spaces in the United States has exploded.
Advancements in technology
Technology is advancing at, to some, an alarming rate.
Whether it’s virtual offices, payroll and bookkeeping automation, or AI-powered customer support lines, business owners simply don’t need the same amount of space that they did even five years ago.
Considering these advancements and the streamlined nature of business ownership, the increase in coworking spaces in the U.S. is easy to understand.
Coworking in India and the United Kingdom
There are more than 2,200 coworking spaces in India and over 6,000 in the United Kingdom.
These countries have dealt with similar cultural changes, but there are a couple of other reasons that are contributing to India and the U.K.’s increase in coworking spaces too, like government support, growing startup ecosystems, and expensive commercial properties.
Projects like Digital India and Startup India are incentivizing citizens to utilize coworking spaces by providing digital support and offering incubation services to the more promising Indian entrepreneurs.
In the U.K., Enterprise Investment Scheme and Innovate UK are two government-funded projects that aim to offer tax incentives, funding, and support to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. Considering the low barrier to entry of owning a digital business and the need for these individuals to work outside the home, the increase in coworking spaces tracks.
In 2022, the India Times reported that India had become the third-largest startup ecosystem on the planet, and the United Kingdom is the fourth.
Startups want to spend as little as possible at the beginning stages of their business in an attempt to scale quickly and efficiently. Coworking spaces provide the perfect setting to do this.
Expensive commercial properties
In India, Delhi is home to several of the coworking spaces populating the country, so the high price of commercial properties in Delhi makes sense.
Similarly, coworking spaces in the U.K. are concentrated in cities like London and Manchester, neither of which are well known for cheap real estate.
When you think about the work culture, government funding, increase in the number of startups, and commercial properties in both India and the United Kingdom, the top three countries for coworking spaces make sense.
The future of coworking spaces
Although economists once swore that out-of-office work was merely a passing trend, remote and flexible working arrangements aren’t going anywhere. The past few years and the aftermath of COVID-19 have shown that if anything, remote and flexible workstyles are just getting started.
Coworking spaces provide professionals with flexible, affordable, and convenient solutions while improving work-life balance and allowing these individuals to feel in control of their schedules.
As technology continues to rapidly advance, the future of coworking spaces is likely one with even more integrated technology and therefore efficiency and accessibility.
Additionally, coworking spaces will likely start to offer more services outside of meeting spaces and work rooms. These new services might include gyms to give workers the chance to blow off steam or cafes to provide much-needed caffeine fixes for hundreds of busy entrepreneurs.
Not to mention, with the increased focus on mental health and employee well-being, coworking spaces will likely offer health-focused amenities like yoga or onsite or digital therapists.