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With 14 411 spaces worldwide – is coworking becoming the new normal?

Globally, shared workplaces have grown at a rapid rate of 200% over the past five years.
84% of people who use coworking spaces are more engaged and motivated while 89% who cowork report being happier. Picture: Shutterstock

Coworking spaces or shared office spaces that are typically used by the self-employed or those working for various different companies, are soaring in popularity the world over.

So much so, that working in a coworking space is rapidly becoming the new normal even for those who have traditional 9-to-5 jobs.

There are currently 14 411 coworking spaces around the world today making it fastest growing type of commercial property. Globally, shared workspaces have grown at a rapid rate of 200% over the past five years. In global cities like London, New York and Chicago they are expanding at an annual rate of 20%.  

Coworking places are rapidly becoming the workplace of choice. Globally they are expected to be close on four million people who will be members of a coworking office by 2020 and that number is expected to rise to over five million by 2022.” 

In South Africa the trend is not as developed as it is in countries like the US, but is quickly catching on. In major business nodes like Sandton for example, coworking places are springing up all over. For instance FutureSpace is a high end coworking space that is as appealing as WeWork, the hugely successful American coworking company that has offices in 21 countries. 

Coworking became an attractive concept because when it first started to appear, it countered the negative views of the traditional office of drab interiors with tired people spending their lives in cubicles under harsh neon lights. 

If we look back to just a few years ago, coworking was considered to be a movement or a trend, with many believing it would fade. But now coworking is a full-blown industry that is disrupting the real estate industry and the way people work. 

They’re known for offering environments that are conducive to innovation, collaboration, and productivity. These type of workplaces were pioneers in implementing a human approach to design, a trend which is catching up among real estate developers, landlords and of course companies. 

For now coworking is today’s normal.

The extent to which coworking has gone mainstream is evidenced in the fact that large companies are increasingly seeking to enhance the workplace experience as a means to attract and retain talent, and that a significant percentage of workers who have the option to work from home or a coffee shop prefer to work from a coworking space.

By 2020, we expect 50% of large companies to have some form of shared office space to offer their workers. 

It is also worth noting that coworking spaces are having a very positive impact on people, 84% of people who use coworking spaces are more engaged and motivated while 89% who cowork report being happier. 

The coworking phenomenon has also spurred companies to make their existing offices much more people friendly and relaxed. 

On many of our briefs now we are told to design something that makes people feel they are in a relaxed environment somewhere between a coffee bar and their lounge at home.

She added that the growth in coworking spaces will likely remain strong with a forecasted growth rate of 15% over the next five years. 

Linda Trim is the director of workplace design specialists Giant Leap.


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There are several billions of people working around the world. The 14 411 coworking spaces means that less than 1 in every 100 000 jobs is “coworking”. This ratio could hardly be called the “new normal”.

Plus could you imagine the talking and gossiping. Also the arguing oh my word at my place of employment open plan offices had to be changed to cubicals

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