The rise of coworking

Smarter solutions

If you’re a sole operator, have just a small team or a fluid number of employees, then maybe you’re looking to shake up the physical work space for your business.

Sharing space with like-minded people gives you an office environment without the crippling overheads and, if you are a one-person band, it eases the sense of isolation that working from home can bring.

Latest research from Bayleys finds that Auckland’s coworking scene continues to evolve, and it’s changing rapidly. Co-workers are now the fastest growing occupiers of office space in the city and it’s a trend that’s expected to continue.

Worldwide the number of coworking spaces is projected to increase by 22% to 18,900 for the 2018 calendar year, and members by 33% to 1,690,000 according to the latest Deskmag Global Coworking survey.

Looking at the Auckland scene, the total amount of coworking space in the city is now 29,400m2 according to the Bayleys Research survey. An additional 15,700m2 is also in the pipeline and due for completion over the next 12 months.

Monthly dedicated/flexi desk rates have remained stable and range from $499 to $1,499 for the larger operators and $400 to $900 for the smaller operators. Casual and flexi rates typically range from $150 to $499 per month.

In line with overseas trends, those opting for coworking business space for their businesses tend to be looking for more than just a physical workspace. The opportunity to work with other like-minded entrepreneurs within a collaborative environment is attractive, as are the networking opportunities it provides.

Some of the trends identified by the Deskmag Global Coworking survey include:

• 2018 will bring more (and bigger) coworking spaces

• More niche spaces (including spaces with childcare)

• Stronger focus on sustainable community building

• More coworking community events

• More corporate coworking (corporates breaking the mould and opting for coworking spaces)

• Better awareness of the coworking concept within the business world

• More coworking in suburban and rural areas

• Stronger competition between available coworking space providers

• More differentiation from competitors

• More collaboration between independent coworking spaces

• Other businesses incorporating coworking into their operation

Overseas, there is evidence of some banks and retailers – who are locked into long leases with unprofitable physical properties – introducing coworking partnerships to make the dollars stack up. In the UK, the John Lewis department store chain was reported to be considering a deal to put coworking spaces into its older stores with poor footfall.

In some parts of the world, the Airbnb model for booking accommodation is being applied to coworking space with users able to tap into available shared offices at the last minute at very affordable daily rates – great for travelling workers who need a conducive work space on the run, or for those watching their business’s bottom line closely.

A new catchphrase internationally is “meanwhile use” – workers making use of otherwise redundant commercial spaces while property developers get their plans together, while leases run their course, or outside of normal office hours when buildings would otherwise be vacant.

Rather than having a building remain empty, landlords have the chance to generate some income, and show goodwill to the entrepreneurial community while workers get to have a physical work base at an affordable rate.

Coworking is a trend that looks set to stick around!


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