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And how profitable is it to run a coworking space?

The Global Coworking Survey has prepared a number of questions. The self-assessment of coworking spaces is still part of the ongoing the survey and will be published in January. When asked about the profitability of competitors in their region, external assessments were more widespread than in previous surveys. Their statements showed that more spaces are profitable, as well as unprofitable. A black zero expects to see only 35% of all operators; four years ago it was 43%. Since the question has since been simplified, as it is designed for mobile devices, the response behavior today can make it difficult to compare today’s results with previous years. 

The most common lease is signed for five years 

Lately, there have been many reports on coworking spaces that were forced to close because their leases expired and the new hires need to be significantly higher than the old conditions. In other industries, it does not work differently. The current interest-free policy of many central banks has resulted in rising property prices throughout cities worldwide. Before prices and loans may burst (once again), affecting local rental prices. This development relates to coworking spaces in particular, because four out of five do not own their space. On average, a lease contract for a coworking space runs for 52 months, however, most of operators signed up for five years (60 months). 

14 % of all coworking spaces with lease must enter into another contract within a year - or be forced to leave.

Just under half of all lease contracts discussed will expire within the next three years. In the next twelve months, one in seven coworking spaces will have to decide whether or not to negotiate, close their doors or seek out a new lease. Overall, every fourth coworking space has moved, at least once, since it’s opening its doors.

Coworking spaces as revitalisation program of urban development  

Coworking spaces are rarely found in new buildings. 42% are located in buildings that already existed 50 years ago, ad only half located in the original designated commercial units. We saw that every fifth space moved into former industrial sits. Many coworking spaces will not only revitalize forgotten buildings, but are also likely to lead to a significant revitalization of the surrounding area. Concrete results born from these developments were not a part of this survey.

Positive outlook for 2016

The survey shows that coworking spaces are coming with very positive prospects for the new year. Almost 80% of participants expect an increase in number of members, and three-quarters expect higher revenues, in addition to a stronger bond with members in their community. Overall, nearly 60% are planning more events for next year. The expectations are significantly lower than what was showed in the survey two years ago, but this could also by caused by a new rating system which was introduced for a better layout for mobile devices. Because of this change, the different design makes it complicated to make a direct comparison of both periods for this question. 

The survey also found that 61% of all coworking spaces are planning to expand their workspaces in the coming year. This number has increased since the previous survey. A third of the spaces on the survey want to open a second site, much like in previous years, but now it is significantly more likely that they are planning expansions within existing venues (2015-16: 27%, 2013-14: 21%). Overall, the outlook remains very optimistic.

All results mentioned in this article can be retrieved from the slides, which clearly format the numbers. Results are also summarized in the infographic.


More articles of the Global Coworking Survey 2015-16:

2016 Coworking Forecast

The Most Popular Online Tools To Manage A Coworking Space


The Global Coworking Survey was 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.


The Global Coworking Survey 2015-16 is the 5th global survey on coworking. The questionnaire is continuously updated with each new survey, and currently contains more than 300 questions incl. new, recurring, and classic questions. Not all of them are shown to each respondent. Some questions are also archived and not part of every survey. The first results are swiftly analysed, while the final results consider a quality check and an comprehensive analysis of relations among the characteristics for an in-depth interpretation, which takes more time. For this reason, the final results can slightly differ from the first results. The final results will be published in a series of articles on Deskmag, starting in January 2016. The number of all participants will be announced after this survey has ended. For the first results, the first 830 completed questionnaires have been considered, which have been filled on coworkingsurvey.com by November 9, 2015.

Update: It is said in the infographic, that an average coworking space hosts around 30% more members than two years ago. That's correct if the current average of 76 members would be seen as the base of 100%, but that's been a mistake. The 100% should have been based on the 52 members two years ago. For this reason, the average coworking space hosts now 46% more members than two years ago. Sorry for this mistake. 

ssfCoworking Statistics