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The Members: How, When & Why Do They Work in Coworking Spaces?

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20 minutes to the coworking space

Just like previous years, members travelled around 20 minutes on average to reach their coworking space. This travel time went up by one minute compared to the previous year. As the survey took place when the weather was worse compared to the previous year in the northern hemisphere, presumably more members travelled to their coworking space by car (35% to 28%). Slightly more of them used public transport (27% to 24%), while the share of people riding bikes to their spaces dropped (14% to 25%). Around a fifth of all members still reach the coworking spaces by foot (18% to 21%).

The differences between continents remain significant. In Europe and Asia, only a quarter of the members uses a car for their daily commute, whilst in North America this number goes up to 44%. In Oceania, especially in Australia, it is almost 60%. On the other hand, public transport is more popular in Europe and Asia (around 30%) than in North America (25%) and Oceania (17%). Scooters and motorbikes are mainly used in Asia (28%) whilst they are not very popular in other parts of the world. In Europe, people expect coworking spaces to provide ample parking spaces for bicycles.

The travel times differ much more according to the number of residents in the city of the coworking space and also depend on whether they are located in urban, suburban or rural areas. The bigger and more urban a city, the longer the travel times are for members, as they usually prefer public transport insuchcases. Smaller cities and suburban areas, on the other hand, are dominated by members using cars.

The type of transport has a big influence on the travel times, and vice versa. For those commuting by foot or using a bicycle, the average travel time is around 15 minutes. Longer distances are usually covered by car or scooter (around 20 minutes). A coworking space with a good link to public transport can increase its catchment area significantly. In these cases, the members take around 30 minutes to reach the spaces.

A working day lasts for 9 hours

The working day starts at 9am and ends around 6pm. Sounds familiar? Most coworking space members work traditional office hours. Only every fifth member reported irregular working hours and were therefore not able to answer the question regarding a usual start and end to their working day. In total, members work 9 hours per day on average, although these times do include breaks.

Members over 50 as well as employees reported especially long working days. In bigger cities, the working days are usually longer than in smaller ones. The share of members with irregular working hours is lowest among employees and highest among employers. Likewise, singles, members over 50 and members with children reported irregular working hours more often.

The questions regarding working hours did not include the exact times during which the members work in coworking spaces as work can start in the morning at home and end there as well. Plus, not all members work at a coworking space every day. Only 40% show up at least five times per week, and a further 30% show up three to four times. In total, the numbers are slightly lower than the previous year. Additionally, only every fifth member is working exclusively in their current coworking space and nowhere else. However, five years ago, it was every tenth member. For a few years now, the majority of members have preferred their own home office as alternative workspace. Overall, coworking spaces are becoming more significant as the main workplace for many members.

The most frequent users of coworking spaces are employees, under the age of 35, as well as people who are single. However, this criteria can often overlap for one person. On the other hand, solo freelancers and members with children are showing up significantly less frequently.

When comparing genders, men are generally using coworking spaces more often than women. Their working days are usually half an hour longer because their group contains less employees than that of the women.

Who is paying for the membership?

Only 60% of members pay the fee for their coworking space themselves. Every fourth membership is covered by the employer or the members’ clients. Not surprisingly, this is especially the case for employees. Still, around a third of them pay for their own membership. 6% of all members offer alternative forms of capital instead of money, for instance by providing services to the coworking space. And around 4% are allowed to work for free.

The most popular form of membership are monthly subscriptions (83%). Hourly, daily and weekly memberships combine for a share of 6%, while options such as vouchers for 10 visits are not included in this share and fall under the remaining 10%. We will split this field up further during the next survey.

And how are the members working in the coworking space?

Every second member still works alone, although the share is dropping and teams are becoming more frequent. Two thirds of all members would prefer working in a team to on their own.

As coworking spaces provide offices for individuals as well as teams, fewer members use the public working areas than in the years before.  However, at 74%, they are still by far the most-used areas, especially since workspaces in these areas can be rented out to multiple members more easily than those in offices.

More than half of members work at a flexible desk, although the share of assigned places is increasing and 60% would actually prefer an assigned desk. Preferably with an ergonomic office chair (70%).

Unfortunately, only a third of coworking spaces are able to fulfill this wish (36%). The majority have to make do with a basic office chair. Women more often than men, although women would appreciate an upgrade even more. 14% of all members are seated on hard surfaces such as wood or plastic. Even though almost no members reported a preference for hard chairs. More than 40% of members workstanding up at least some of the time, with 3% working exclusively at a standing desk.

Windows with a view please!

Somewhat surprisingly, the large majority of members would prefer a window with a view in front of their computer (70%) - if this option is available. Only every fourth member would like to face other people in front of their desk. The most unpopular option is workspaces that are located directly at a wall. Coworking spaces should use these locations for other purposes instead of using every nook and cranny for creating unpopular workspaces.

Looking for ultimate member data?

Whilst we’re not able to offer you a window, Deskmag can still provide a good outlook for readers who want more stats on members of coworking spaces. As always, you can download a free report about the information in this article.

If you would like to find out more about this and other topics, you can support the Global Coworking Survey by purchasing the ultimate report on the members. On 355 slides with more than 800 results, our e-book “Ultimate Member Data” analyzes all members statements in a more detailed way than any survey before. The information is way too comprehensive to be presented in articles. It is the last book of the test series for now and it is designed to emphasize the potential of the Global Coworking Survey for our readers. If it is successful, we will continue the series of additional evaluations in the next Global Coworking Survey. Of course, you will always receive free reports with the general results from Deskmag. The next survey will start in November.

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Related articles: 

The Members: Who Works in Coworking Spaces?

How Profitable Are Coworking Spaces?

2017 Coworking Forecast

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The 2017 Global Coworking Survey is officially supported by the following organizations:

Collaboration Partner: Social Workplaces

Main Supporters: 
Nexudus Spaces - A management tool for coworking spaces
Essensys - A management tool for coworking spaces
Communitas - A network agency for coworking spaces

Click here fore more information about the survey.

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