I want to take a step back and to set the record straight about a more appropriate way to define the term “coworking”.
The reality is it shouldn’t be referred to as “coworking” anymore. Rather, it should be referred to as flexible office space.
The Flexible Office Space landscape encompasses a wide variety of product offerings and often the “secret sauce” a given provider embodies isn’t necessarily directly correlated with the physical space itself. It has a lot to do with how space is activated, the types of people/companies it aims to attract, and the community/culture it fosters. With this said, I tend to see that there are two overarching product offerings;
First, there is an offer that is traditionally referred to as coworking. This involves a shared floor plate where you may be cohabitating and interacting with other companies. This works for a lot of companies due to the social and collaborative nature. There are global operators playing in this space that are very sophisticated and deliver a high-quality product with great amenities to foster community/collaboration.
There are also a lot of niche players popping up in cities around the world that as an example cater to: women, SaaS companies, blockchain companies, marijuana companies, and so on and so on – the idea with these more niche players is to get truly like-minded people solving the same problems all in one place. Under both of these ‘coworking’ umbrellas, we are noticing that large enterprises see value in being present to collaborate with innovators in a given area.
There are a lot of companies out there that like the idea of flexibility with their lease but they’re looking for more privacy when it comes to building their culture and often they are solving business problems whereby an autonomous environment is best for reasons like security, the perceived (or real) distractions that cohabitating can bring, and so on.
The private flexible space model is gaining a lot of traction right now in the marketplace and it will be very interesting to see how it takes off in the next few years.
It is important to consider the size of your team, the type of business problems you are solving and the pros/cons of a cohabitating model vs. a private model. In weighing out these important considerations you can decide which flex model works best for your business. And as I’ve said before, be sure to engage an agent to advocate for you in your search/negotiations (check out some of my previous articles/videos for more info on why).
I would love to hear from you about which offering might work the best for you and what you might like to see going forward from the flexible office sector going forward to better solve your business objectives and build culture.