An important trend that has been influencing commercial real estate is coworking office spaces. Coworking spaces take the form of buildings, or parts of buildings, where several workers from different companies and even industries work side-by- side in the same area.
These spaces have become popular in part because they allow individual workers to interact with others, interactions that can fuel inspiration and future projects and lead to more work and deeper cross-collaboration.
While they began as a collaborative space for entrepreneurs and even freelancers, corporations have also been getting on board. HSBC, Samsung and Volkswagen among others have been utilizing coworking spaces for their employees. Originally driven by smaller companies with tight budgets, businesses that were forced to downsize saw the opportunity to save money with coworking spaces.
This new style of office has also been given a boost by millennials and the next generation of workers who no longer see employment as a strictly 9 to 5 lifestyle. The number of coworking spaces is expected to reach 37,000 around the world in the next couple of years. The number of freelancers or those who are self employed will reach 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020. This presents plenty of room for growth and development.
In many ways, one can say coworking office spaces have made a positive impact on commercial real estate. Most of the buildings used for this style of tenancy have been in metropolitan centres and would otherwise have been left vacant. Coworking spaces have been adding density to areas and buildings that were empty or struggling to find tenants. Coworking spaces have also presented investors with new opportunities. In fact, banks and other financial institutions often look on these types of investments more favorably because the diversity of tenants is seen as a more secure return on investment.
An added bonus for realtors is that having contact with so many individuals and businesses who rent space can also lead to future business dealings as companies grow, expand and move.
The amount of coworking space in the U.S. has been estimated at 27 million sq feet. It has also been forecasted that “flexible space” will represent 30 percent of total commercial office space nationwide by 2030.
Numbers like these demonstrate the continued impact coworking office space will have on the commercial real estate market.