Press & News

No Community, No Co-working

Original Article by Saidat Giwa-Osagie published on

Co-working is here to stay. Beyond the sleek minimalist office aesthetics and controversial Wall Street valuations, real estate vendors cannot ignore community within co-working spaces if they want to see their co-working establishments flourish. The co-working scene has ballooned into a lucrative global industry, with an estimated 35,000 co-working spaces worldwide. It’s no longer viewed as a fad. Commercial real estate providers are in a prime position to expand in this space. However, a new perspective is required. One that combines a community-driven focus.

For real estate operators with co-working ambitions, it’s important to recognise community as the heart of a co-working space. In the 2017 Global Co-working Survey, the top three reasons for members joining a co-working space was the social and enjoyable atmosphere, social interaction and community. Coming together through shared location and interest is nothing new, but in co-working spaces, opportunities to connect and network with other members are advertised as a benefit of joining. Co-working members have more transient workplace arrangements than a traditional corporate tenant. As more co-working spaces spring up, it will create member’s market because they will have a plethora of choices and community will likely be the deciding factor.

“Copying what’s tangible is absolutely easy,” says Marc Navarro, a co-working consultant based in Barcelona, Spain. “If a space is copying yours, and we’re only 100 metres away, what’s the only difference we have?” A workspace interior can be replicated, but community cannot.

This new co-working landscape requires real estate owners to take a customer driven approach that puts community first, in order to succeed. The current paradigm of co-working spaces is to find a location first, then facilitate community around it which is one reason why community is not usually a top priority for real estate owners. It’s the opposite of how co-working communities first evolved…

Click here to read the rest of the original article by Saidat Giwa-Osagie as appearing on on November 24, 2019.