Going to a corporate office from 9-5, Monday through Friday is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Even working from home full-time sounds so 2020 now. A flexible, hybrid work economy supported by coworking spaces is the future of work.
The way we think about workplaces should change as the future of work also does. The traditional model of a required office for all employees is no longer practical, and coworking spaces will play a big role in the new dynamic work landscape.
Stay up to date on what’s evolving in how we work and learn why coworking should become part of your routine now to stay ahead of the curve.
The Changing Landscape of Work
There’s no denying that the future of work is changing. Even before the global pandemic, there was a growing trend among companies that were starting to embrace remote work.
In 2019, 5.7 million US employees worked remotely at least half the time they were on the clock, according to Global Workplace Analytics. However, the same research estimates that 75 million US workers could work from home because they have jobs that are compatible with remote work.
Remote work is a popular trend, but it doesn’t end there. From technology propelling us forward to the ever-growing gig economy, asynchronous collaboration tools, hybrid work structure, coworking space popularity, and the shift to a job seeker’s market—work looks different today than ever before.
Technology is playing a key role in how work is changing. Automation, virtual assistants, and artificial intelligence have taken over many tasks that were previously done by people in offices.
Some jobs will soon be obsolete, while others will become more in-demand as we rely on technology to do more. Others will still require a human touch but will evolve into more tech-enabled and tech-supported roles.
For example, manufacturing and industrial jobs that once relied on human accuracy for quality and productivity will be able to utilize automation to manage menial, repetitive tasks so workers can focus on higher-level tasks and responsibilities.
Rise of the Gig Economy
The gig economy is also on the rise, as more and more people are freelancing or working temporary jobs. Estimates show that the number of freelancers in the US will increase from 70.4 million in 2022 to 90.1 million by 2028.
Such significant growth is, in part, because there are now many more opportunities to work remotely or on a freelance or contract basis. With more companies willing to hire workers remotely, there’s no longer the constant need to be tied down to one location or one company.
All of these changes are making the traditional work model obsolete. We can’t continue to rely on a single office for a single company when work is flexible and in most cases can be done from nearly anywhere.
With the rise of remote work, asynchronous collaboration is also becoming more popular. Asynchronous collaboration is when team members work on their own time, rather than having to be online at the same time.
Instead of having a video call to discuss a project, team members can leave each other comments or questions in a shared place. Then, everyone can review the discussion and add their thoughts when it’s convenient for them. This allows each team member to productively allocate their own time.
Asynchronous collaboration is more flexible and can be done from anywhere, which is perfect for a world where work is no longer tied to one specific location.
Hybrid is the New Normal
With all of these changes, it’s clear that the future of work is hybrid. While many jobs can be done from home or practically anywhere, some tasks, meetings, and jobs will still need to be done in person. This shift has already begun, and it will only become more evident in the coming years.
The rise of coworking spaces is also playing an important role in this shift. Coworking spaces are a great solution for hybrid work. They provide a place to go when you need to be in person and offer the flexibility to work from home when you don’t.
Growth of Coworking
Work is heading hybrid, and coworking spaces are a flexible solution for this new way of working.
Coworking spaces have already experienced sizable growth in recent years, which is only predicted to continue as more and more people embrace the hybrid model. In 2017, there were over 4,000 coworking spaces in the US. By 2022, that number has increased to over 6,200.
Employees who may have changed to working from home and disliked the arrangement now have the option of a coworking space, which can get them out of the house without relying on a company-provided workspace.
It’s also a good option for self-employed or freelance workers who want a workspace outside of their own homes or need to supplement their home offices with additional workspace or meeting rooms.
Shift to a Job Seekers’ Market
There has also been a shift to a job seekers’ market as a result of the Great Resignation, which saw workers leaving their jobs en masse due to toxic work culture, lack of flexibility, poor COVID response, and the possibility of finding a better, more flexible job.
Employers will need to provide more perks and benefits to attract and retain employees in a market where they are at a disadvantage.
The perks employees tend to look for include a hybrid or remote work structure, optional access to a coworking space, more time off or a flexible work schedule, better healthcare, and an improved work/life balance.
Why Coworking Is Important to the Future of Work
Coworking spaces are helping to support the future of work. First, they provide the perfect solution for hybrid work. Second, they’re already seeing a lot of growth, and the trend is expected to continue. Finally, they offer employees perks and benefits that are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market.
Flexibility for Business and the Workforce
Coworking spaces are flexible, which is important for businesses that may not have the budget or space for a traditional office. It’s a great solution for businesses who want to hire for talent, not location, without limiting workers to their homes – where many people don’t have the space, resources, or privacy to work effectively from home.
Using coworking spaces also helps to save money because businesses don’t need to formalize offices in multiple locations, but can still provide an office option for their workers who would prefer it.
They also offer employees the ability to work from home (WFH) when they need to but give them a place to go when WFH isn’t ideal. Workers today see flexibility as a need, not a want, and many won’t take a job (or would leave a job) that didn’t offer the option to work remotely some of the time.
It’s a common-ground solution between office work and home work because attendance isn’t required, but optional, and it’s more formal and constructive than working from home can be at times.
Community-Driven Connection and Collaboration
In a coworking space, you’re surrounded by other people working on their projects, which can lead to serendipitous collaboration and connection. It’s the perfect environment for networking and building relationships with other professionals in your field.
Rather than collaboration and community connected solely through a job, people become better connected by the kind of work they do, where they live more generally, and the lifestyle they live.
In coworking spaces, same-company coworkers can still work together, too. If a company hires a few remote workers all out of the same city, renting an office at a coworking space provides a way for the team to collaborate and connect in real-time in a way that is more tangible than Zoom happy hours.
Working from home can be lonely and isolating, and coworking spaces are communal and social places designed for work and connection. It gets workers out of their houses and gives them a reason to get dressed, people to interact with if they so choose, and an inspiring place where they can focus on just work.
A Source of Inspiration With Less Distraction
While working from home has its perks, it can also be distracting. It’s easy to get sidetracked by things like laundry, dishes, or other household members when you’re trying to focus on work.
It can be difficult to find a place to work at home that is both comfortable and inspiring. And if you do have a dedicated office space, it can be hard to keep it feeling fresh.
Coworking spaces are designed to be places of inspiration and creativity, with different areas to suit different working styles. For example, some people might prefer to work at a standing desk, while others might want to take advantage of the lounge area or outdoor terrace.
The majority of these spaces are also cleaned regularly by professional teams, so housekeeping in your office is one less thing you have to deal with.
Filling in the Remote Work Gaps
Remote work is ideal for many people, but it can remove some of the perks that come along with more traditional office environments. Coworking spaces do an excellent job of filling in those gaps and providing small “extras” and perks that go a long way.
Socializing is one of the biggest things. It’s hard to socialize when you work alone physically, and coworking spaces often house happy hours, mixers, and other events so you can mingle and connect with like-minded individuals.
Additionally, you can often find learning and development opportunities scheduled and programmed by a coworking space. They may bring in niche experts, and motivational speakers, or offer training sessions to upskill and continue your personal and professional growth.
For those who value wellness, coworking spaces can also have a lot to offer. Some include gym spaces, yoga classes, discounted gym memberships, outdoor spaces, healthy snacks, and water.
Many people moving to remote work look forward to the break it provides from often toxic office cultures curated and controlled by HR. Coworking spaces offer an alternative, crowd-sourced kind of culture. The culture at a coworking space is influenced heavily by its community and members, so there are different environments you can choose based on what you want to get out of your workspace experience.
Coworking spaces also offer you the ability to socialize or keep to yourself as you see fit, with no pressure to collaborate unless it feels right for you. Members can be as involved or uninvolved as they wish, allowing them to curate their ideal work environment.
Coworking is the future of work. With the rise of remote work, shift to more asynchronous collaboration, and growth of the gig economy, there has been a corresponding rise in coworking spaces. And for good reason – coworking spaces provide several benefits perfect for the modern worker.
They are flexible in ways that are attractive to both workers and businesses and drive collaboration and connection through community, not through an employer.
Coworking spaces are also communal and social places designed for work and connection. They provide an inspiring and creative environment free of home distractions with different areas to suit different working styles.
Additionally, coworking spaces often fill in the gaps left by remote work, offering socializing opportunities, learning and development programs, and wellness perks.
And finally, the culture of coworking spaces is crowd-sourced from its members, so you can find the environment where you will work the best and thrive the most.
If you’re looking for “what’s next” in the work world, look no further than coworking spaces.