Coworking spaces are shared work environments for independent professionals, remote workers, and other small businesses. The coworking movement began in the early 2000s out of a desire for more social and collaborative work settings.
Early coworking spaces were grassroots efforts focused on building community. As the model proved successful, more formal coworking spaces emerged to meet demand. WeWork opened its first location in New York City in 2010 and paved the way for rapid growth and mainstream adoption of coworking.
Today Modern workspaces continue to gain popularity worldwide as an alternative to traditional offices and working from home. There are over 20,000 coworking spaces across the globe, providing flexible, affordable workspace and a sense of community to millions of members.
The coworking industry has seen rapid growth in recent years, driven largely by rising demand from freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs seeking flexible, collaborative workspaces outside of traditional long-term office leases.
The number of coworking spaces worldwide has grown from just a handful in 2005 to over 19,000 spaces and 1.7 million members as of 2019, according to Coworking Resources. Revenue for the global coworking industry reached $8.2 billion in 2019, up over 30% from the previous year.
• The growth of the gig economy and freelance workforce - Independent workers now make up over 35% of the U.S. workforce according to a 2019 Upwork study. Coworking provides flexible space and amenities tailored to freelancers and remote workers.
• Preference for flexible leases - Short-term coworking leases allow businesses to quickly scale up or down. This flexibility is attractive compared to traditional 5+ year office leases.
• Desire for the community - Modern coworking spaces cultivate community, host events, and foster social connections between members. This appeals to solopreneurs and remote workers feeling isolated.
• Enterprise adoption - Large companies are incorporating coworking into their real estate strategy, using it to house project teams, remote workers, or hybrid workforces. 30% of coworking members are now enterprise employees.
Coworking's growth is expected to continue as more businesses shift to flexible, distributed work arrangements. Analysts predict there could be over 30,000 coworking spaces worldwide by 2024, serving nearly 6 million members.
Coworking has seen tremendous growth and evolution over the past decade, fundamentally changing how people work. What started as a grassroots movement has transformed into a booming global industry.
The flexibility and sense of community offered by coworking spaces have become increasingly valued by workers and companies alike. The ability to simply show up and get to work in an inspiring, collaborative environment appeals to diverse professionals from solopreneurs to enterprise teams.
As the future of work trends toward more remote and distributed teams, coworking provides an essential platform. Workers crave the structure, social connections, and amenities coworking spaces offer.