Co-working has arrived, and whether it's for you or not, it looks like it's going to be here to stay.
It was only a year ago that the demand for flexible co-working spaces were predicted to soar, after 71% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said it would be a priority for them in the near future.
Now, there are 156 co-working spaces and 5,000 members in London alone, and with new hubs sprouting in cities across the UK, there’s no doubt co-working has indeed sky-rocketed in the last couple of years.
So what does the future hold for co-working spaces in the future?
Alfonso Araujo, director of co-working space Greenhouse in North and East London, highlights the benefits of co-working are second to none.
He says people who use co-working spaces see their work as meaningful. They are part of a community; they have more job control.
He added: “The benefits will help you grow your business faster, will expand your personal and professional networks, will help you to find new clients and make you more productive.”
It’s true, start-ups are four times more likely to succeed when working in co-working spaces, according to research by Deskmag.com, and can even help solve the problem of loneliness for entrepreneurs who no longer like to work alone.
Mr. Araujo said: “We'll find more and more people working from co-working spaces with more and more people going freelance. Some people have the self-discipline and focus to work from home, but most people find that they need the structure, inspiration, motivation and human connection that comes from working in a shared space designed for freelancers and start-ups.
“Co-working spaces are far more focused on the wellbeing and needs of the people working in those spaces than offices run by employers and so we are always looking to see how we can create an environment, facilities and technologies that enhance people's experience at work, their productivity and their wellbeing.”
He said at Greenhouse, they incorporate a lot of wellbeing elements into the work space such as daily yoga classes, meditation and mindfulness and healthy food at our cafe that is bursting with plants.
Araujo added: “Co-working spaces are and will continue to play a big part in changing the way people work.”
But is co-working now over-hyped?
"It's getting hype because it really works" said James Abbott-Donnelly, co-founder of Duke Studios, a co-working space situated in Leeds.
He said: “It’s not for everyone and not for every business. By the very nature of Co-working you get out what you put into it so everyone’s experiences are different.”
The number of co-working spaces in the US has gone from one to 781 since 2005, according to the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. This figure has increased even more in 2012/13 by 83%, while memberships increased 117%.
If the US has anything to go by, the number of co-working space in the UK won’t be slowing down any soon.
Mr. Abbott-Donnelly added: “It’s a growing solution for many individuals and businesses and were seeing the UK embrace the culture more slowly catching up with the US and Europe.”