Guide to Co-Working Office Sharing Space – Small business information, insight and resources | Mon, 21 May 2018 19:05:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Additional Research Reveals Increasing Benefits of Coworking Space | 2018 Thu, 25 Jan 2018 20:15:24 +0000

Recently Steve King, a partner in Emergent Research and a regular contributor to, wrote an article for Harvard Business Review, Coworking Is Not About Workspace — It’s About Feeling Less Lonely. It covers the research Emergent has conducted relating to the social and professional sides of coworking space membership. From Steve, here is a roundup of some of Emergent’s key survey findings that relate to coworking space.

Research related to the interpersonal or social aspects of co-working

87% | Percentage of coworking space members who say they’ve met other members of their co-working space for social reasons
54% | Socialize with other members after work and/or on weekends
79% | Say coworking has expanded their social networks
83% | Say they are less lonely since joining a coworking space
89% | Say they are happier since joining a coworking space

But coworking space membership is not just about being more social. Emergent’s research also shows significant business and professional benefits accrue to coworking members:

82% | Say coworking has expanded their professional networks
80% | Say they have turned to other coworking members for help or guidance
64% | Say their coworking networking was an important source of work and business referrals
84% | Say that working in a coworking space improved their work engagement and motivation

The bottom line from our research – and the research of others – is that there are very clear social benefits from belonging to a coworking space. This is especially true for those who work on their own. And given the concerns related a growing “loneliness epidemic” and its impact on those working remotely or alone, these are important findings.

Read the entire Harvard Business Review article here.


By 2020, There Will Be 26,000 Coworking Locations with 3.8 Million Members | 2016 Thu, 11 Aug 2016 19:33:02 +0000

If you’ve kept up with the coverage of the shared-office or shared-workspace concept called coworking, you know it is booming. Emergent Research has recently updated their on-going research into the growth of coworking. Once again, we thank Emergent’s Steve King, a regular contributor to, for bringing us up to date with Emergent’s forecast of the future of coworking.

Coworking is growing and hybridizing so fast, we’re having a hard time keeping up with it. Emergent Research recently released our 2016 coworking forecast and we are projecting continued rapid growth over the next four years, although at a slower rate than the industry’s current dizzying pace.

Future global growth in the number of coworking spaces

(Note: Coworking facilities describe themselves with different names (places, facilities, locations, etc.). We’re using the term “Spaces” in this article.)

11,000 | Number of coworking spaces (locations) available now (2016)
26,000 | Number of estimated coworking spaces available in 2020.
23.8% | Compounded annual growth rate in coworking spaces, 2016-2010


Future global growth in the number of coworking space members

976,000 | Global coworking members in 2016
3.8 million | Global coworking members in 2020.
41% | Compounded annual growth rate in coworking space members, 2016-2020

Why is the rate of growth of members higher than the growth rate of facilities?

Because coworking spaces are getting bigger, both in size and number of members

  • New coworking spaces tend to be much larger than older spaces
  • Existing spaces are expanding by adding more space and members
  • Coworking operators are focusing on better designs that serve more members per square foot of space
  • Emergent is forecasting a 77% increase in the average number of members per space over the next 4 years

Why will the rate of growth of new spaces slow?

The number of spaces is forecast to grow 18% in 2020, down from a 41% growth rate in 2016. This, in part, reflects larger sizes of coworking spaces. But it also reflects a maturing market and the challenges associated with rapid growth as an industry grows larger. Member growth also slows over the forecast period but is still growing at a very brisk 26% pace in 2020.

Bottomline | Coworking still has a lot of room for growth

In terms of share of the market, coworking will still be small to tiny in 2020 depending on your market definition. The real estate firm JLL says coworking spaces represent only “0.7 percent of the total U.S. office market” and less than that outside of the U.S. (Our forecast would bump that up to about 2% in 2020.)

Here’s another way to think about the growth potential of coworking spaces.

23,000 | Number of Starbucks locations globally | 2016
34,000 | Number of McDonald’s locations globally | 2016

We think it’s reasonable to believe coworking could be bigger than Starbucks. Interestingly enough, by 2020 some Starbucks stores might be considered coworking spaces.

Photo: Grupo luma via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Co-working Office Space is Going Mainstream, Here’s Why Tue, 24 May 2016 16:50:19 +0000

The shared workspace concept called co-working has become a popular work-space option for many startups and independent workers. In this post, Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research and regular contributor to, looks at a new white paper, The Coworking Industry. The paper makes a convincing case that co-working is “crossing the chasm,” a term describing when a  new product or concept transitions from the stage when only early adopters (visionaries) purchase it, into a phase in which it is purchased by pragmatists (or, the early majority).

Co-working is beginning to enter the mainstream according to Drew Jones, author of  the whitepaper The Coworking Industry. The key reason: The real estate industry and corporate America are starting to adopt it.

“We are approaching a world of work where building owners and property managers will have to, like today’s co-working spaces, present granular, modular, membership-based office solutions directly to their corporate customers.”

Drew Jones

Three key reasons co-working is going mainstream

  • Radical reduction of real estate footprints (and costs) by corporations
  • Radical improvement in the quality of workspaces for the spaces that remain
  • Dramatic increases in choice and flexibility for knowledge workers

“At first, the growth of co-working was as much a social movement as it was a new way of working and using office space,” writes Jones. Today, coworking has become a business, a subset of the real estate industry, where the relevant metric is revenue per square foot.”

via |

Photo | Inhabitat via Flickr | Loosecubes’ Co-working Space in Brooklyn, NYC, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Why Offices Are Still Important in a Digital Age Mon, 18 Apr 2016 21:13:53 +0000 Writing recently in the Harvard Business Review, Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claude asked (and attempted to answer) the question we are often asked (and sometimes ask, ourselves): If Work Is Digital, Why Do We Still Go to the Office?  In the past, we’ve featured an interview with a former business owner about his experience working at one of the most radical “no office” businesses around, Automattic, the software company behind WordPress. We’re also a fan of co-working spaces and their benefit beyond merely providing a desk to work.

Our go-to expert on issues like this is Steve King of Emergent Research and a regular contributor. In this post, Steve provides insight into a phenomenon Emergent has been tracking for several years: the paradox of place — While the internet and connective technologies have made working remotely easier than ever, people and companies are increasingly clustering together in fewer, more valuable locations

Place and location have become both more and less important

Place is less important | Today’s rapidly improving connective technologies allow people to communicate with anyone, anywhere. This is why telecommuting is growing (although not as fast as many predicted) and work foCrces have become more distributed and mobile work much more common.

Place is more important |  People and companies realize physical co-location leads to more interaction and innovation. Communities of innovation feed off one-another. Success in one field breeds success and infrastructure companies develop. Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Nashville — some places evoke an industry, not just a geographic location. If you work in certain industries,  these places are going to be important to you, no matter where you may be, physically

In their HBR article, Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claude explore the paradox of place from the point of view of the office. Key quote on why we still cluster in offices:

What early digital commentators missed is that even if we can work from anywhere, that does not mean we want to. We strive for places that allow us to share knowledge, to generate ideas, and to pool talents and perspectives. Human aggregation, friction, and the interaction of our minds are vital aspects of work, especially in the creative industries.

This is also why coworking spaces are so successful and growing so rapidly. They are places where people aggregate, share knowledge and pool talents. They’re social places also, which is so important, it increases the likelihood members will be happier and more successful.

Humans are by nature social creatures. Because of this, we will continue to cluster. This means place will continue to be important even while technology makes it less important.

The paradox of place is not going away anytime soon and because of this, small businesses will still have offices, and for even the single-employee small business, the coworking industry will continue to grow.


Success of Coworking Spaces Wakes Up Office Suite Giant, Regus Fri, 13 Nov 2015 17:36:03 +0000

We’ve been covering the development of coworking spaces that cater to small companies and independent workers who need office space during a start-up phase. Or, as we’ve learned, some small business and indie workers just prefer it over traditional office space. Our expert contributor on this  topic, Steve King (, a partner in the firm Emergent Research, examines how the largest traditional-model “office suite” company, Regus, is trying to respond to the new model of coworking space.

When it comes to the office-leasing segment of the commercial real estate business called “executive suites,” the 800-lb. gorilla is Regus. The publicly-traded company operates 3,000 business centers in 120 countries. Its office centers focus on privacy, security and their view of what a professional corporate office should look and feel like. The same is true for most other executive suites.

The Regus brand is similar to that of an upscale hotel chain catering to globe-trotting executives. From their size and scale, it’s obvious that there’s a large market for their approach.

However, Regus is a savvy company and has been watching and following the development of coworking spaces for years. But like most of the commercial real estate industry, they have only recently figured out coworking is a trend and not a fad.

6a00d8345675df69e201b8d171ddd8970cRecognizing that the Regus brand does not fit well with the fast-growing coworking space marketplace, Regus has launched and acquired two brands that it is now using to compete in the new segment. Officing Today recently explored the Regus strategy with the brands ThinkKora and Spaces.

Key quote:

“Regus is well aware of the fact that young, cool, hip and creative people may not associate their aspirations with a corporate Regus environment.”

I agree. The Regus brand is not a good fit with the type of people flocking to coworking spaces, their physical spaces and the way they are configured don’t work for this segment.

Our research clearly shows that people in coworking spaces are looking for more than just a place to work. They’re also looking for enhanced social experience, networking, community support and opportunities to learn new skills.

Regus understands they can’t deliver this type of experience in their current spaces. So they are opening new spaces under these new brands.

Key quote from ThinkKora’s homepage:

Join a growing entrepreneurial community, connecting with Kora and Regus members and partners from the world’s of business and learning … Find the inspiration, knowledge, skills, services and people you need through our learning and network events and our local Kora directors and connectors.

That’s definitely coworking-like branding.

Regus is responding to the growth of companies like WeWork.

There’s little doubt rapid coworking space and membership growth—especially by the growth of WeWork—is driving this shift by Regus.

I think this move by Regus is a good idea.

But existing players often struggle responding to disruptive new entrants using new business models and business methods. It will be interesting to see if Regus can successfully execute on this plan.

This move by Regus is more proof that coworking has reached an inflection point and will continue its rapid growth.

(Photo: Mike Schinkel via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Why Small Town Co-working is a Great Idea and How to Get Started Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:16:22 +0000

Recently, Emergent Research’s Steve King (and contributor) shared the findings of his firm’s research related to the indirect benefits (beyond work space and office services) of the small business shared-office concept called “co-working.” The shared office (translation: low-overhead) model is not only catching on in cities, it can make sense in smaller towns, as well. In this article, Becky McCray, rural and small town small business expert and publisher of Small Biz Survival (and another of our favorite contributors), explains why co-working is gaining popularity in small towns also.

If you are trying to encourage the creation of new small businesses in your town, coworking is a smart place to focus. While the obvious benefit is having a way to start a business with flexibility and low overhead, there are many hidden benefits in coworking that researchers are beginning to discover. And those benefits can be realized in small towns just like they are in bigger towns and cities.

“Coworking spaces aren’t just for work. They are places where members network, learn and socialize together.”

Emergent Research

In Emergent’s research, co-working members reported that being in a co-working space provides many hidden benefits, like:

  • Learning new skills
  • Attending events at the co-working space
  • Feeling happier and less lonely in their work

Those all are outcomes we’d all love to see from any effort to increase the entrepreneurial activity in a town or city of any size.

As Emergent’s research showed, co-working works best when it’s a community—and that’s something small towns are experts on.

Can co-working work in a small town?

Yes. Rural and small town coworking was a big topic at the Global Co-working Conference Unconference held recently where one of the sessions focused on small towns: “No longer contained to cities, coworking spaces are popping up in cities and towns of all sizes. These spaces have unique challenges and are well-served to learn from each other. From tiny towns in Texas, to isolated mountain towns and even islands, coworking is becoming a part of communities of all makeups and sizes.”

One example of such a co-working space is Veel Hoeden in the beautiful small town of Pella, Iowa (population 10,344).

What are the required elements for a co-working space?

  • Open working areas with desks or tables and chairs
  • Power outlets
  • Strong wifi
  • Common or premium space and services like conference rooms

Co-working space business models

A co-working space can be a commercial venture started by one or more individuals or it can be a service created and run by local agencies and non-profits. Even churches and libraries have started experimenting with the concept.

Typically, co-working spaces use a monthly (or longer) subscription or rental model (participants are often called members). Some offer drop-in or short-term memberships. Still others offer classes, training, workshops and equipment rental.

A small town Main Street real estate opportunity

Towns are finding co-working office opportunities in unused space at local incubators, economic development centers, or in educational facilities. Maybe you have a business that just has way more office space than they need. And then, there’s that empty office space along Main Street with potential.

Community is the key

Here’s some encouragement with a bit of confession. I successfully persuaded my friends at my hometown’s Business Development Center to offer an under-utilized space for co-working. They had the space, outstanding wifi, desks, chairs and all the extras. What we didn’t have was a ready-made community to connect to it. So it doesn’t get as much use as we would like. We have to build the community before it will work.

How to get started

Connect with local people who work from home, coffee shops, the library or any other alternative space. Begin holding work-together days, like Fridays from 10-2 or something. You don’t need a special space for the meet-ups. The library, coffee shop, or even one big home office will work for now.

The next thing you’ll discover is a need that can be met by a small town co-working space.

(A version of this article appeared on Small Biz Survival)

Photo: Mojo Coworking, Asheville, NC

Survey | Co-working Spaces Provide More Than Just a Place to Work Thu, 14 May 2015 11:49:26 +0000 (Note: contributor Steve King ( is a partner in the firm, Emergent Research. Last week, Emergent released the preliminary findings of research it has recently conducted of participants (members) of a type of shared working environment called “co-working space.” The study was done in cooperation with the Global Co-working Unconference Conference and the Washington D.C., co-working space, Office Nomads.)

While co-working spaces are definitely workspaces, they are also much more.
They are places where members work, network, learn and socialize together.
Co-working spaces are human spaces.

Our research objective for the project was to better understand the role work-related networking plays in co-working spaces. And the results show that work-related networking is strongly enhanced by membership in a co-working space.

But despite our research being focused on the work aspects of co-working, the social and learning sides of co-working came out loud and clear. To be honest, this surprised us a bit.

General Benefits of Working in a Co-working Space

  • 84 percent said they were more engaged and motivated when co-working
  • 67 percent said co-working improved their professional success
  • 69 percent said they feel more successful since joining a co-working space

Networking-Related Benefits

  • 82 percent said co-working has expanded their professional networks
  • 80 percent said they turn to other co-working members for help or guidance
  • 64 percent of the respondents said their co-working networking was a very important (26 percent) or important source of work (38 percent)

Learning-Related Benefits

  • 69 percent reported they learned new skills
  • 68 percent reported they improved their existing skill set
  • 67 percent reported they attend events at their co-working space occasionally (45 percent) or often (21 percent); only
  • 4 percent said they never attend events

Social-Related Benefits

  • 87 percent report they meet other members for social reasons, with 54 percent saying they socialize with other members after work and/or on weekends
  • 79 percent said co-working has expanded their social networks

Personal-Related Benefits

  • 89 percent reported they are happier
  • 83 percent reported they are less lonely
  • 78 percent reported that co-working helps keep them sane


(Photo: Citizen Space, San Francisco, by Josh Hallet, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Retail Space Sharing Businesses Can Go Together Like Coffee and Pastry Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:00:05 +0000 When you hear the term, “sharing economy,” you may think of the business model of Uber and AirBNB. However, a recent item from Independent We Stand got us thinking about all the other ways small businesses can participate in economic sharing.

Octane Coffee and the Little Tart Bakeshop in Atlanta have both cut costs in the same way recent college graduates cut costs when they move to the big city and get a low-paying job: They’ve moved in together when expanding to a new location. Retail space sharing has allowed both companies to each have an independent business in a new location at a lower cost. (Oh, and they have a much better resume than any recent college grad.)

So add these to your list of sharing and creative-space trends such as food trucks, co-working, Uber-for-X, pop-up shops, etc.; another way to think about small business sharing (one that dates back to the very first merchant bazaar, no doubt): Co-Retailing or Co-Eatery, whatever you want to call shared retail space.

How co-retailing works

  • A landlord must approve the arrangement.
  • A business owner can sublet part of his/her current space, with the landlord’s approval, or a group of hopeful business owners can seek out and lease a single space together.
  • In some cases, the businesses share everything, from a door to the utility bills; while in other cases, the businesses are able to maintain more independence with separate entrances and individual utility meters.
  • Another form of co-retailing are the types of permanent antique and flea-market-style marketplaces.

The benefits of co-retailing, beyond the savings

  • The ability to share customers (if the shops are complimentary). However, this may not work if the shops are like one co-space arrangement we recall from years ago: A pet groomer and hearing aid store.
  • A chance to expand a business while minimizing risk.

The downsides of co-retailing, despite the savings

  • Retail space-sharing can create many of the same challenges your first post-college roommate did: like cleaning and maintenance responsibilities.
  • Compatibility of business owners can wreck both businesses.

How to Get Started

As one might expect, there’s an Uber-for-X in the retail-sharing marketplace: Storefront. Storefront lets business owners post their sublet opportunities and connects them with other business owners looking to share space. It also provides short-term space opportunities for new and pop-up businesses

Bottom Line

Retail space sharing helps small business owners pool their resources and support each other for shared success. And it works for your customers and your local community, as well.

(via: Independent We Stand)

Stepping Up from Starbucks: Co-working in Shared Workspaces Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:50:38 +0000 American Public Media’s Marketplace looks at the growing trend of co-working, a workspace-sharing approach that is popping up across the country. (It seems a natural for those of us who share apartments and commute to work using bike-sharing programs.)

More people are ditching the office as we know it, and it’s not just freelancers and cash-poor start-ups that can’t afford the rent. Within the next three years it’s estimated that almost 40 percent of the global workforce will work remotely. That’s fueling the growth of companies that offer a whole new kind of office space, on demand.

James Cohane is one of more than 40 million Americans who work outside an office. “I’m consulting with a start-up that’s actually based down in New York,” Cohane says. He recently moved to Boston and, at first, he tried working from home. “There’s a lot of distractions there plus it’s kinda depressing, and I’m infinitely more productive here than I am at home,” he explains.

For Cohane, “here” is a desk at Oficio (pictured), one of a handful of new co-working sites in Boston. The space looks like an art gallery with its high ceilings, white walls, and bright natural light from a huge wall of windows.

Oficio clients range from freelance photographers to a guy who sells private jets. The co-working concept dates back to the late ’90s, but that was before everyone had cell phones, laptop sand tablets. Now wifi is everywhere, too, and hundreds of co-working locations have opened around the country.

Read or listen to full story: (


(Photo: Oficio)