In the last couple of years, Co-working spaces have taken off in cities. It’s no surprise that in London alone, there are more than 1000 co-working spaces, making the U.K.’s capital one of Europe’s leading business center and global leader in this sector. The situation isn’t very different in other large metropolitan cities with flourishing start-up scenes. In 2017 it is estimated that more than one million people will work from co-working spaces.
More and more millennial professionals are shifting from traditional office environments to a more flexible way of working, whether that is from home, a coffee shop, in transit, or any other imaginable environment. For small, and medium-sized enterprises it is crucial to have a distinct presence through virtual offices and co-working spaces.
Half a decade ago, when WeWork - the company which popularised the model - opened its doors in SoHo, NY free drinks were enough to seduce the professionals through its gates. Today the variety of services and activities are much wider, all aiming to achieve the perfect work-life balance. Yoga, rooftop parties, healthy drinks and snacks, rock climbing are all generally focused on wellness.
As digital nomadism becomes more popular the industry is also adapting and changing according to its users’ needs.
Many of us are trying to seek that exquisite balance between work and living a fulfilling life. Co-working spaces offer the necessary flexibility, community, and leisure to achieve that, but for others, this might not be enough. A really exciting new trend is emerging called ‘co-working vacation’, offering companies and entrepreneurs the possibility to combine their everyday business with adventurous activities.
For example, ‘Coboat’ offers unique co-working opportunities to sail around the Mediterranean on a fully equipped boat. Their mission is to create inspirational situations and environments in which entrepreneurs can foster creativity, leadership, innovation and change.
Remote Year’s program aims at bringing together communities of talented individuals and professionals to travel to various destinations together for a year while working and living together. If your application is successful and you are selected to be a member of their community, the program offers co-working spaces, private rooms, transportation and fun-filled events and activities throughout the year.
A typical statement by co-working space members is that they are part of a constantly evolving and growing social movement. The movement is truly set on different core values, community, and collaboration. Today it is more than usual for big companies to use co-working spaces for their employees.
However, studies also show that the naturally social environments of co-working spaces may result in similar issues experienced in regular, serviced office spaces, such as the lack of privacy and occasional distraction. A research also indicates that co-working spaces are not enough to inspire collaboration and social bonding.
As co-working spaces are adjusting to meet their users' needs by evolving into a flexible and creative workspace, broader changes are taking place in the living environments as well.
In 2016 the world largest co-living complex opened its doors in London, with the promise to provide ‘everything at their fingertips’ to its residents. Each member has a private flat with their own kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. The all-inclusive rent comes with many services at hand, such as co-working spaces, a gym, restaurant, cinema, spa. Besides flexibility and simplicity, the most desirable aspect of the project is the sense of community. CRN’s research also shows that 96% percent of co-housing residents say that their living environment has increased their satisfaction with life.
All the emerging, new, and similar projects across the globe suggest that the trend will increase in the future.
Going 100% Virtual?
Many of the co-working spaces in London offer Virtual Address Services as well. The purpose of a virtual address is to have a stable location at which you can register your company, use it as a business address for trading, and receive any official or private post. This could be an excellent option for those who are not planning to stay in the same office or co-working space long-term or for those who are constantly on the move, traveling around the globe.
The demand for virtual offices services in the U.K. capital has been increasing in parallel with all the emerging co-working spaces. As London is now the world’s second most expensive city to rent in, many entrepreneurs and companies are seeking new ways to settle their businesses in the capital without serious commitments to offices spaces.
Given recent trends and the above-mentioned benefits, it seems likely for the industry to keep on growing and co-working spaces to adjust their services according to their users’ needs.