Image Credit – Homethods
Coworking is a concept that has gone from a whimsical pursuit for idealistic startups to something acknowledged as effective and valuable by big businesses. And with more money and interest flowing into it than ever before, it’s sure to continue to develop in the coming years. All you need to do is wait to see how things pan out.
But what if you’re impatient, and you want to know what’s going to happen in 2019 specifically? Well, we can draw some inferences from what’s already happening — so let’s do just that, looking ahead to 7 coworking trends likely to prove influential this year.
Whether you’re getting a business off the ground or trying to take it to the next level (whatever that level might be), you need all the feedback you can get. Traditionally, this would happen through bringing in consultants — typically at great cost — or making a major effort to reach out to people in your industry for advice, but coworking space is changing the entire process.
When you spend a lot of time in a coworking space, it’s a waste to view the people around you as mere distractions to be ignored. Imagine that you were regularly visiting a gym and trying to get into incredible shape: you could get a lot done while listening to music and pretending that you were the only person there, but if you wanted to do some heavy lifting, you’d need a spotter.
Similarly, coworking grants you golden opportunities to engage with your fellow workers and reap the benefits. Need some tips on an area you’re weak in? Find someone who can point you in the right direction. Today, company structures are becoming much more relaxed when it comes to working hours and hierarchies, so someone can rearrange their schedule to team up with someone sharing their space for mutual benefit.
IoT efficiency improvement
In a coworking space, it can be tricky to allocate responsibility for on-premise resources. In principle, the company that owns the space is responsible, but the workers also bear responsibility for how they use that space. This can lead to a pass-the-buck situation when there are regular tasks to be done (turning lights off during the day, etc.).
But with the IoT (Internet of Things) rising in prominence, and smart devices capable of integrating with all types of system becoming increasingly popular, the range of options for making coworking spaces more efficient is rapidly getting broader. The net result? All parties involved having less work to do, and more time to spend on what really matters.
For example, take the matter of security. When a space is open 24/7, how you do handle entry without leaving the space vulnerable? With IoT enhancement, you can have an automated system requiring no human intervention, allowing people to enter and exit at their leisure while ensuring that only permitted people get in. This year, expect to see IoT tech become huge.
To maintain a great working atmosphere, it’s extremely useful to bring in new non-corporate faces and encourage other activities. After all, a great coworking space should feel welcome at all times and for all kinds of people. It’s also all but inevitable that even the most popular coworking space will have periods of relative inactivity — so why not use that time to bring in people and organizations from the community?
They could run workshops, or put on theatrical productions, or get everyone involved with charitable projects. A coworking space may be extremely freeing when it comes to hours and specific arrangements, but those running it will still want people to feel incentivized to return to that particular space time and time again, and working in community events is a great way to make people feel that they’re part of something meaningful.
Flexible interior design
How do you design a space for countless different people and businesses with just as many distinct stylistic preferences among them? It’s a major challenge. You’ll want it to be accessible for everyone, but also designed in such a way to get a lot of attention. This is why flexible interior design is such a good fit for a coworking space.
Flexible design in this context just means that, instead of committing to a particular design for a space, you build it in such a way that it can easily be reconfigured to suit those using it. That means avoiding nailed-down furniture, making everything modular, and creating passageways big enough to make it convenient to bring things in or take them out.
Sooner or later, expect to see IoT-enhanced spaces that can be configured before arrival to suit requirements — e.g. raising or lowering panels to fit different types of work. Will this happen in 2019? Not in the mainstream, no, but expect to read a lot more about interior designs in the coworking world that combine aesthetic appeal and practical productivity.
Local digital marketing
As more and more coworking spaces enter the market, it becomes more challenging for any given space to attract attention. This is why local digital marketing is now so vital. Unlike online-only businesses, coworking space companies have the advantage of physical space. This means that a company in one location can heavily target that specific location for SEO.
This generally consists of writing about that location, using it as a high-priority keyword alongside various other local terms, and getting registered through Google My Business. As the year rolls on, expect to see much greater marketing efforts from coworking companies looking to differentiate themselves in an increasingly-crowded field.
Niche digital equipment provision
For almost any digital-centric field you care to name, there’s inevitably a wide range of electronic tools on the market, all designed to make everyday operations easier and more productive. For instance, podcasters have specialized microphones, soundproofing sheets, and pop shields — and video producers have green-screen setups and sophisticated lighting rigs.
Because one of the remaining advantages of a company having its own dedicated office space is being able to install this type of specialized equipment, a coworking space providing dedicated rooms targeting specific needs is a great way to lure in reluctant companies and workers. That way, instead of having to spend a lot of money on buying and installing equipment, a business can simply rent a room (like a recording artist would rent a studio).
This follows the rise of SaaS, during which companies accepted that it would be cheaper and easier to use online tools (such as project management solutions and storefront-building services) than develop things internally. With demand for digital content steadily going up, there are more people than ever before planning to create rich video and audio content this year — and coworking spaces will do their best to take advantage of the demand.
In-house service arrangement
Now that coworking is a stable part of everyday working life (in many parts of the world, at least), and people can feel confident that the model is here to stay, coworking spaces are becoming much more attractive to people and business who provide services such as cooking, psychiatry, or massage therapy.
Done well, arranging to have such services provided through coworking spaces is beneficial for all parties involved. For example, a coworking company can hire a catering company to provide in-house food preparation upon request. The catering company makes money from the coworking company and the workers who pay for the food, the coworking company gets to offer a more attractive package, and the workers get easy access to high-quality meals.
This type of symbiotic relationship is going to get a lot more common in the near future. This year, keep an eye out for companies joining together in shared locations to save money and expand their customer bases.
2019 should be another great year for the growth of coworking. Keep an eye on these 7 trends to see how things progress, and look forward to further developments in 2020.
By Patrick Foster – Ecommerce Tips