Image: Linda Trim

CAPE TOWN - 2017 marked the largest growth in co-working spaces around the world, as well as a number of people using those spaces. 

As the industry grows and evolves, what are some of the major co-working trends to look for in the next year? 

Linda Trim, Director of FutureSpace, a joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap that offers high end shared working, office on-demand space in Sandton, said that the rapid take-up of space at FutureSpace in the 8 months since opening, is in line with robust demand globally.

“We have big corporates, entrepreneurs -local and from overseas - independent consultants and people who just need another space from time to time.” 

Trim added that she expects FutureSpace to add more offices across South Africa this year such is the demand. 

Here are five trends that will shape the continued expansion of co-working in 2018.

Increasing Demand

It’s estimated that 50% of the population will be working independently by 2020. If this plays out, the demand for shared space will continue to rise at a fast pace this year. 

“According to estimates, there could be up to 37 000 co-working spaces worldwide by the end of 2018. Co-working has become a symbol of community, connectivity, efficiency and networking. Not to mention it’s a cheaper alternative than leasing in a traditional office space. The demand will only continue to increase in 2018", said Trim. 

Health

“Another trend we could see in the coming year is the value placed on health,” Trim noted. She sees the added benefits of gyms and yoga classes to become a greater supplementarity offering for co-working places. Working solo can create a sense of isolation. Today’s society is searching more for the positivity of community and therefore also better mental health, a huge benefit of co-working.

Larger companies

Co-working spaces used to be geared toward small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. 

“However larger companies have started to pick up on the trend and realised the added value of working in cross-functional teams instead of in more traditional set ups.  Not only does working within a co-working space offer corporations a more cost-effective alternative to test new and innovative ideas, it also offers them access to other small businesses as well as freelancers and independent consultants,” said Trim.  

Major global companies such as Facebook, IBM, E&Y, and Cisco entered the co-working world in 2017, and this larger companies trend will continue in 2018.

Coworking in unexpected places

It will be increasingly commonplace to find co-working spaces pop up in previously unthought of locations. For example, telecommunications giant Verizon has plans to convert 150 buildings that once housed landlines operators in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and D.C. 

“Underutilised space will have more use the more innovative people become, and the higher the demand grows. Operators of spaces are opening them next to lunch spots or recreational spots to benefit the commuting members who walk or use public transportation to access the office", Trim noted. 

Technology

“Technology is not a new trend, but the rate at which its growing, especially within the co-working industry, is phenomenal, and will continue in 2018. 

“Advancements such as real-time access, keyless door access, automation via apps such as billing, check-in, network login, room booking and temperature control, are all going to play bigger roles in how we use shared spaces, “ Trim concluded. 

Linda Trim is the Director of FutureSpace, which is a joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap that offers shared working, office on-demand space in Sandton. 

The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Independent Group.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE