Problem # 1: Finding new members
In the survey, coworking space owners were asked directly about their current problems. At the top of the list is attracting new members (39%) followed right behind that with the amount of workload (27%) that they designated as “very often or always” or “rather often". In larger markets, more operators were likely to report challenges with general workload, where in smaller cities the real estate market proved to be more problematic with an overall average of one in four spaces rating that as a problem.
When members - who don’t plan to leave - were asked to rank the problems they faced in their spaces, nearly one-third cited an insufficient Internet connection as the main problem. In second place, just like in previous surveys, was noise (24%), a lack of privacy (15%), and difficulty concentrating (17%). None of these single aspects lead to a member deciding to change spaces. One third of the members who did plan on leaving their coworking space within the next three months, did so because they would be starting a new job in a different workplace. Slightly more than one-fifth of members (23%) shared they were just interested in working at another space. Out of the top five reasons to leave, only last three are partly in control of the owner or operator: too high of a price point (21%) followed by “wanting to change my working environment” (16%) and feelings of isolation (14%).
Members are fairly optimistic for the new year
Responses from members on the amount of work, contacts, income and leisure time they expected in 2016 varied only slightly when compared to previous years. This is mainly due to the fact that 50% of respondents of the 2011 were coworking space members compared to only 37% in 2015. Similar to the trend of owners who responded, the most optimistic individuals tend to be those who are newer members. To that extent, the slightly declining expectations are hardly surprising. While the amount of those who responded “increasing” shrank, when combined with “stable” each category remained close enough when compared year over year, to offer a generally optimistic tone.
However, even after four years in a coworking space, the majority of members still ranked anticipated increasing incomes (59%), workload (56%) and contacts (68%) for 2016. There’s a proven association between more positive expectations with an increase in the amount of time the member spends per week in a space
Demand for coworking spaces remains highly stable
While the number of coworking spaces open continues to grow, there is a general feeling that it has not yet outpaced demand. The surveyed operators and their employees affirm this fact with 56% of respondents saying that there is currently a good number of coworking spaces existing in their city in relation to overall demand. Those who believe there are too few decreased (27% in 2016 vs. 36% in 2014) which correlates to the increase in the amount who believe there are too many (14% in 2016 vs. 8% in 2014). However, the share of operators who report too few spaces is still much higher than of the ones who already see to many spaces operating compared to the demand. The smaller the market, the greater the chance the respondent felt there were just the right amount of spaces, compared to their colleagues with > 1 million inhabitants.
Not every trend can be collected through surveys. Either they are too small, too specific or too complex for a survey. Together with Coworkaholic we interviewed coworking experts made up of operators and vendors asking them what trends that they expect this year. Their expertise we packed into a PDF with the graphics and charts from the coworking forecasts, which you can download here.
Articles of the Global Coworking Survey 2015-16:
The Global Coworking Survey 2015-16 is officially supported by:
SocialWorkplaces, Coworking Europe, Global Coworking Unconference Conference, German Coworking Federation, Coworking Belgium, Coworking Croatia, European Coworking Assembly, Coworking Ontario, Ouishare, Ekonomio, Zona Coworking, Coworkaholic, New Worker Magazine, Copass, Mutinerie Paris, Cobot, Hub Australia, Kaptar Budapest, Cowork Funchal, Cowork Inc. Jakarta, Blocktime Coworking São Paulo, Digital Workshop Fort Collins, Schiller 40 Wolfsburg, Betahaus Berlin, Écoworking Lyon, The Coworking Handbook, Meanwhile Creative Bristol, Kowork Temuco, Soho Coworking Sofia, Desk+Works, Combinat56 Munich, The Office Project Makati City, co.up Berlin, Coworking 0711 Stuttgart, Gravity Coworking Brisbane, Cowork Zone Hyderabad, Techspace London, Cowork Penticton, Clearly Coworking Worcester, Hit Cowork Buenos Aires, Mutualāb Lille, Co.lab.Orate Hyderabad, Plane Tree Genova, Plus Concept Singapore, Cambridge Business Lounge, NewportNet NewPort Beach, Work in Progress Bologna, tot Coworking João Pessoa, Chez Guillemette Mennecy, CWC Gran Canaria, Splash Coworking San Marcos, DreamWork Davao, Zona Líquida, Indie Coworking Dorrego, Eureka Coworking Orléans, Coworking Cuenca One,Mr. Outsource, Glocal Coworking Rajkot, The Office Mill and CWKV Viseu.