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What if you could enjoy more leisure time while earning a higher wage? That’s the boon awaiting the one in ten people who start coworking this year. Everyone else will have to work more. But three fourths of coworking respondents reported a significant bonus at year’s end. Though the coworking boom has cooled off slightly since last year with many spaces curbing expansion, the outlook for 2014 is optimistic: sixty-percent of existing coworking offices are slated to acquire new space for their coworking members this year.
By CARSTEN FOERTSCH - Monday, 27 January 2014

The overall expansion plans for coworking spaces has stalled over the past three years. Does this slight downturn forecast the end of coworking’s golden age? Absolutely not!

To the contrary, seven out of ten coworking facilitators report that the availability of desk space in coworking spaces can’t keep up with the public’s demand in general. The current need for coworking spaces outweighs the availability of vacant spots. Taken as a whole, the coworking economy has paralleled this positive outlook, with more than one in two coworking spaces planning to expand in this year alone. Success stories with this kind of market value are few and far between. Compared to coworking, many other industries see less growth on average.

More coworking members are switching workspaces

When we last took our survey, 80% of coworking professionals were still at their first coworking space; this time around, that number dropped to just under 70%. More people were also likely to return to their first coworking spaces. There was one exception, however, which significantly increased the frequency of coworking traffic from one space to another. Whereas in the past, coworkers normally remained loyal to their first ever coworking space (even to those with poor ratings), future estimates show that the probability that people will stay put in unsatisfactory work spaces will be much lower.

If a coworking space doesn’t suit someone, they’ll leave it faster

Two years ago, only every second person first joining a badly rated coworking space chose to move on within a year. In 2014, that average rises dramatically, with every nine out of ten professionals opting to leave their workspaces within twelve months. The ever-widening selection of coworking spaces gives professionals greater mobility and choice. On the other hand, highly rated coworking spaces are managing to hold on to more than a third of their members from one year to the next. Unlike 2013, the residence time of professionals is also longer on average at coworking hubs with more members. The loyalty of members to one space is at its peak in the second and third year.

Growth prospects correspond to last year’s figures

The popularity of coworking spaces remains unchanged, even if more and more people are switching between workspaces. Nine out of ten coworking spaces are expected to increase their number of memberships this year, with one quarter forecasting a significant increase. The same applies to revenue – by comparison to last year, strong profit outlooks showed minimal fluctuation.

Expansion plans dip slightly: less expansion within existing spaces intended

Like last year, coworking spaces are taking clear steps to expand their offerings. 60% are planning extensions (in the previous year: 65%), but only one in five expect to expand upon existing locations (last year: 29%). New branches of existing spaces remained constant from last year, with every third coworking space planning to open additional locations. Approximately one in eleven are considering moving into larger workspaces.

The coworking market matures: Percentage of new coworking spaces declines

Not long ago, the 'newness' of the coworking market could be described in one breath. Half of all coworking spaces at that time had opened their doors within a period of twelve months. This description barely holds water these days, especially since most of the coworking spaces that opened a few years ago are still in operation today. The coworking industry is maturing: only 40% of all current coworking spaces today are less than a year old.

In a similar trend, only every second professional had started to work at a coworking space for the first time in a span of less than one year (last year: 61%). At the same time, the number of people seeking coworking spaces continued to outstrip the number of workspaces on offer. 

What can coworkers expect?

This time around, we also asked coworking professionals for their own perspectives on 2014. The vast majority expected to see an increase in their earnings (75%), while only 3% expected losses. Among the most optimistic were freelancers and entrepreneurs, while employees on average expected less growth. Most coworkers anticipated a corresponding spike in their workloads (66%) at the expense of leisure time (22%). Yet just about every tenth coworker took for granted that they would gain more leisure time alongside higher earnings this year. Cheers to that!


Related article: 

2016 Coworking Forecast


The survey was supported by:

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Austin, Coworking Europe Brussels, Ouishare Paris, Aiesec Stockholm, Ayeka Kiryat Malakhi, Betahaus Berlin, Box Jelly Honolunu, Cadeira Amarela Viseu, Casa Netural Matera, Cowork2014 Wolfsburg, Coworking Croatia Zagreb, Engine Room Cairns, Garage Bilk Düsseldorf, Glints Singapore, JFDI Asia Singapore, Hubud Bali, Kaptár Budapest, La Poudrière Nancy, Movebla São Paulo, Mutinerie Paris, Social Talent Work Center Barcelona, SpaceCubed Perth, Startupia Coworking Naucalpan, The Loft Coworking Brussels, The Foundery Toronto, Zona Coworking Madrid & 

Altamont Coworking Tracy, Avila Coworking Lisbon, Base9 Coworking Salzburg, BeachBusinessHub Toronto, BetaCollective Surrey, BetaCowork Brussels, Club Workspace London, Cobot Berlin, CoHub Eastbourne, Colab Orlando, CoolWorking Bordeaux, Connect113 Alexandria, Comma Jakarta, Coopérative ECTO Montréal, ClockWork Warsaw, Copass Paris, Coworking0711 Stuttgart, CoworkJax Jacksonville, CoworkingFor Milan, CoworkingHandbook Brussels, CoworkingProject Milan, Coworking Wales Cardiff, CoworkSuites Lewisville, Deskroom Prague, DesksNearMe San Francisco, Desktime Chicago, HuntArchitects Birmingham, ImpactHub Oakland, IndyCube Cardiff, Kiwi Coworking Barcelona, Kollective South Atlanta, La Capsule Reims, La Cordée Lyon, Locus Workspace Prague, LoftWall Dallas, MBO Partners Washington, NextSpace Los Angeles, Pto de Contato São Paulo, Shift Coworking Denver, Springboard Coworking Sioux City,  Rezerv.it San Francisco, RightSpace2Meet Coral Gables, SaltHouse Brisbane, The Hive 44 St. Louis, The Office Kigali, The Network Hub Vancouver, Treehouse Kitchener, Twelve Coworking Kortrijk, Urbanfish Bern, Wexelwirken Kusterdingen, Wild Folk Coworking Lewis

Thanks to all coworking spaces which helped us to conduct this survey.

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