The growth of co-working spaces
Following our post on the growth of freelancers and the impact on travel, today we would like to share some interesting statistics about the growth of co-working spaces. Following the argumentation of the growing freelance workforce, it just seems to be logical that the number of those spaces are growing globally as well. There are around 14,000 co-working spaces globally with approximately 1.2 million people worldwide having worked in co-working spaces by 2017. This is still a very small number in comparison to the global workforce or even the number of freelancers worldwide. A statistic about the growth of Regus workspaces over the year shows the increase demands off workstations globally.
Mainly small businesses and freelancers are using co-working spaces
Interestingly is that not only freelancers are using predominantly co-working spaces. Actually more than double of the number of freelancers, small businesses are based in those spaces. An Huffington Post article shares more data on this.
Are time over where start-ups and small businesses operated out of the garages of the founders? Not necessarily! The availability of co-working spaces is in most cases limited to mid-size to large cities. However, there are some examples of those spaces linked with rural experience such as Sende in rural Galicia/Spain. Nevertheless, the availability of shared working spaces outside of the main cities is still limited.
It is not about the space it is about the user experience and support structure
User experience is a key element of co-working spaces. It is not enough to just “provide space”. People will want to have special services which improves their user experience or an on-demand support structure. Otherwise, a freelancer could work from a local library if space is the only issue. The culture of co-working spaces is focusing on digital nomads looking for a tribe on a need by need basis.
A key reason for people joining such a space is not necessarily the lack of space at home or the level of technology infrastructure. One of the key benefits is actually the support structure being available in these spaces. Under support structure we understand the peer-to-peer support on everything related to building your own start-up or succeeding in your freelance project. In the end, a co-working space is a place where people from different backgrounds come together and work under the same principles: working on a project without an extended in-house support team. The co-working colleagues become your in-house support team.