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Shared Offices Redefining Where People Work

shared offices

The shared office movement has been gaining momentum for years, and is now skyrocketing. The popularity of shared offices is redefining where and when people work.  There was only one co-working space in 2005 compared to more than 3,000 worldwide in 2013.

A recent article in Development magazine, “The Future of Shared Office Spaces,” notes “coworking centers and executive suites that offer shared workspace have become one of the hottest trends among tech startups, freelancers and creative types seeking community and collaboration with like-minded entrepreneurs – or simply workplaces that don’t require multiyear commitment.”

Large corporations in the United States are also renting space in shared offices, allowing employees to interact with startup founders and techies. A Bloomberg Business article “Co-Working Spaces are Going Corporate” notes that large companies like KPMG, General Electric, Lennar and Merck have employees working in shared office spaces.

Shared Offices Mirror Workplace Trends

The rise in popularity of coworking offices mirrors the rising trend in the United States of an independent workforce.  There are now more than 30 million workers in this category, with 17.8 million working full time, according to data from MBO Partners.  The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics also reports that 14.76 million people were self-employed in 2015, a 200,000 increase from the prior year. The growth of independent workers is outpacing hiring overall in the U.S. labor workforce.  Millennial workers between ages 18 and 34 are the driving force behind the freelance economy, and prefer offices with an open floor plan, and shared workspace.

Why are these Workspaces so Popular?

A recent article in Harvard Business Review (HBR), “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces,” gives several reasons for this popular trend.  HBR noted that people belong to coworking centers for three reasons: They see their work as more meaningful, they have more control over their work lives, and they enjoy being a part of a community.

Office Space changing the Office Building of the Future

A recent study by CoreNet Global, which tracks how office space companies allocate office space to employees says dedicated office spaces are on the decline as more collaborative office spaces are being created in office buildings. CoreNet Global reports that today the average is about 176 square feet per worker compared to 224 square feet in 2010. This generational shift in use of physical space may have implications on how real estate owners, developers and designers acquire, retrofit and outfit office buildings in the future.

Source: “The Future of Shared Office Space,” Development Magazine, Winter 2016

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