Welcome to Coworking Megatrends 2022! Notice it’s not the flexible workplace trends? (wink, wink)
Coworking is not simply a place to work. Coworking embraces a community and believes that together we are better and will thrive in shared space.
We encourage you go back and read our 2021 Megatrends to see where we were at then.
As COVID has surged, subsided and surged again we’re seeing exactly what we predicted in the spring of 2020 when it all hit: explosive growth, real estate jumping in with both feet fully clothed, hair on fire, and suburban and rural coworking thriving.
A massive wave is coming your way. Grab your surfboard and ride.
Here are the coworking trends we see coming in 2022.
Choice is the New Black
Employees want to work where they want, and when they want. They want to believe in the company they work for—it’s part of their identity too. Younger generations are getting married later or choosing to stay single. They want to work for an employer that invests in causes they hold close to their heart. The workplace hasn’t changed, the worker has. We need to adjust.
When everyone has coffee, phone rooms, meeting rooms and a great booking system how do you stand out? Everyone is “flexible,” so now what? You have to know who you are and how what you offer differentiates you in a crowded market. Low barriers to entry are still a big consideration. How long does it take to sign up? How easy is it to book a meeting room? These are crucial questions potential members have.
All-in On Amenities
Babysitting, podcast rooms, rooftop vertical gardens, meditation rooms, private dining rooms, hologram services … What are the amenities that can set you apart from the herd? I would advocate for wellness focused amenities and investment in healthy buildings. These will be key in the future.
Real Estate Reckoning
The old way is dead. You can’t just buy a building, carve it up and expect a 15 year lease. You will have to be flexible and provide amenity space. Coworking is a must. There isn’t a building owner in the world that isn’t looking at coworking. They are opening spaces all over the globe and some of them will figure it out. The smart ones will partner with established coworking brands or hire consultants to help them with this new world.
Hotels & Coliving & Nomads, Oh My.
It’s a natural fit. The pandemic taught us that we can, in fact, work anywhere. Hotel wise, Ace was the first but will not be the last. Accor, Hoxton and more are getting into the market in a big way. Industrious is even putting work rooms into hotels. Coliving is thriving (internationally) and nomads are on the rise as travel restrictions are lifted. You’ll see coworking in places you never thought possible or plausible.
Suburbs and Rural
We’ve been calling this out for over eight years. If you have a suburban space and you don’t have a waitlist, something is wrong. People want to work closer to home and separate their work life and home life. We’re also seeing the rise of retreat space. Home should be your haven, not your workspace. A lovely home office is a privilege.
Culture is King
Corporations will struggle with their identity as their workers have changed the game and aren’t easily engaged. It was already hard to build culture, but try doing it when you can’t gather your workers in one place. Smart coworking spaces will pick up the slack and focus on providing a culture and community for corporate, and work from home, refugees.
Where is the growth coming from? Corporations that haven’t yet got their act together. The GSA contract, won by Deskpass, Liquidspace, Elevate, The Yard and WeWork will send over 2 million government workers into coworking. Smart operators spent the pandemic looking for their next space, developing scaling strategies and creating hiring plans. They also got clear on who they are and what they offer.
Acquisitions & Investments
As real estate companies continue to struggle to execute on coworking and flex, they will continue to invest and buy coworking brands (CBRE & Industrious, Cushman & WeWork.) Real estate companies will also buy aggregators rather than build their own. Smaller regional brands will be snatched up and we will also see consolidation—possibly across the world.
They’re not mythical, they’re real. If COVID taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. We can’t predict the future, but you can plan for it. We may not be out of the woods yet. Don’t waste this crisis. Learn from it.
The Future is Boundaryless Work
Hybrid, hub and spoke, flexible, coworking… All of these are about boundaryless work.
Your customers want:
- To move between spaces and places
- Good air and ease of use
- Building that don’t make them sick
- Seating options
- Natural light
- Childcare or babysitting
- Plentiful meeting space
- Great beverage options
- Space for focused work
- Phone booths when they need one
- An active and buzzing space
- Places to connect
- To meet new people, make friends and thrive
Your customers also want you to care about what is important to them. They want you to provide a healthy space for them. They want you to strive for sustainability, diversity and inclusivity on their behalf. They want to be inspired at work and they want you to know their name.
The game has changed, The power is with the people. This is the human revolution I first spoke of in 2016. THIS is the giant shift. This is when you figure out who you are and make big changes or you will be left behind.
It’s a tall order.
Get busy, the waves are already cresting.
To listen to the megatrend rundown by author, Liz- click here. Its a short 10 minute listen.