We had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Melissa Mesku, Founding Editor of New Worker Magazine. As an advocate...
Five years ago this month, ShareDesk celebrated a big milestone. August of 2012 marked the launch of our beta product and with it, the start of our exciting journey into the future of work.
In the last five years, we’ve enjoyed the privilege of serving as a hub connecting inspiring freelancers and digital nomads with passionate coworking space owners, forming mutually beneficial relationships with lasting ripple effects. Since 2012, ShareDesk has exploded from a community of a few hundred coworking spaces in cities around the world into a vibrant network of several thousand venues across 400+ cities, with more added every day.
Today, coworking looks vastly different than how coworking looked five years ago. We’ve learned a lot along the way, and we’ve seen how the way that the world approaches coworking has evolved. Here, we share what we believe are the top three trends that have had the largest impact on coworking.
Millennials continue to stream into the workforce at a rapid pace. By 2020, millennials will account for nearly half of the entire U.S. workforce. What does this mean for our workforce? Gone are the days where work is simply a paycheck, as this new generation of workers require their work to be an extension of their lifestyle. In keeping with this concept, many of the world’s millennials have prioritized work with built-in flexibility. From freelancers to startup employees, this translates to an increase of workers untethered from a physical office who are free to roam the world, otherwise known as ‘digital nomads.’ While these workers aren’t necessarily required to work out of a corporate office, they still need places where they can reliably get their work done.
Enter coworking. Coworking has wholeheartedly embraced this collective of nomadic workers, individuals whose main requirement in a work environment is a high speed internet connection and a like-minded community of freethinkers. The tandem rise of digital nomads and coworking spaces is no coincidence, as these parallel movements serve as perfect complements to one another.
Further reading: Why Coworking “Works” for Digital Nomads
Over the years, we’ve seen the once black and white line between “corporation” and “coworking” soften into a more expansive grey, as each movement borrows concepts from the other. We’ve seen coworking get a corporate facelift with coworking giants generating truly impressive amounts of capital. WeWork recently raised $760 million in their Series G round of funding which brings their current valuation to $20 Billion giving rise to a subset of coworking which borrows strongly from the corporate world.
Similarly, corporations have begun embracing practices pioneered and perfected in the coworking environment. In an effort to remain future-proof and continue attracting top talent, corporations are redesigning their offices to look and feel more like coworking spaces. Corporations are moving towards activity-based workstations, unassigned seating, and breaking down the corner office.
Further reading: What Corporations can Learn from Coworking
If there’s one area of coworking’s evolution which we’ve seen the impact of firsthand, it’s how technology has helped shape and grow this movement. After all, we’ve created the ShareDesk brand around harnessing the power of technology to optimize the coworking experience for everyone. From our work on the ShareDesk Marketplace to our tailor-made, mobile-first management software Optix, we’ve seen how technology stands to benefit this movement.
Technology benefits everyone from the members of a space to the venue managers and operators that run the space. Coworking spaces are using technology to help them manage the day-to-day operations of their space, automating tasks and freeing them up to be more present and focused on providing their members with a wonderful experience.
Perhaps more importantly, using software to manage a coworking space gathers valuable, contextual data about how members are using the space. Managers can then use this data to make educated business decisions that impact the future of their business in a big way. Now, they know exactly how often their meeting rooms are getting booked, which shared areas of their space are the most popular, which types of memberships contribute most to their monthly recurring revenue. Data drives decision-making. And that’s only the beginning.
Further reading: 5 Benefits of Using Coworking Management Software
What do you think is the most important trend shaping the future of coworking? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.