Recently, Forbes made a point about how, not too long ago, the Apple iPhone completely disrupted Nokia’s long-standing dominance in the cell phone industry -- and then goes on to compare that to the way that WeWork and other new coworking models are changing literally everything about the ways in which we work. And they do mean literally everything -- the types of places in which offices are located, the way that offices are targeting workers and new talent, and even the very ways that offices are being designed.
Don’t believe us? Let’s take a closer look at 8 ways that coworking has changed everything, from expectations to physical space:
1. A physical brick and mortar building is no longer necessary to run an actual, “legitimate” business. Today, businesses and individual workers have so much more flexibility over when, how, and especially where they work than ever before -- and it’s not necessarily in a traditional office building.
2. Office spaces are now housing fewer and fewer workings; therefore, their need for physical space is shrinking. As a result, there is much less of a need and a demand for towering office buildings or traditional office campuses. Instead, today’s workers enjoy a variety of flexible coworking models -- and businesses also enjoy the lower overhead.
3. Similar to high-end hotels, offices are now catering to their workers’ expectations and desires for a physical working location. When workers must come into the office, they can often be greeted by appealing lifestyle amenities, such as an on-site daycare, laundry service, showers, or even rooms for napping or sleeping.
4. In addition to on-site lifestyle amenities, today’s employees have much more control and say over their working environment, work style, and even work schedule. It’s no secret that younger workers, part of the Millennial generation, prefer the freedom to experiment and innovate -- which is leading to new and innovative ways of designing workspaces based on what the employees are looking for.
5. Old retail centers and even shopping malls are receiving a new breath of life, thanks to ingenious transformations into new office campuses that are more reflective of what today’s employees want. In fact, they look more like entertainment centers than traditional office buildings, and feature amenities and common areas, such as gyms, cafes, and lounges that can be shared and enjoyed by all tenants.
6. By 2028, commercial real estate experts predict that nearly one-third of office space will be categorized as “flexible.” This prediction is based on a staggering 22% growth rate in the flex office sector for the past 7 years -- compared to only a 1% rate of growth for traditional office space over the same time period.
7. Beginning in 2018, more and more offices are going to start making new co-working schedules official by making it policy, further demonstrating the strong belief in the staying power of the new coworking models.
8. Not entirely different from how cell phones revolutionized when and where we could be reached, smartphones, WiFi hotspots, and more are now making it so that work itself can happen literally anytime and from anywhere -- leading to a complete disruption of the traditional commercial office space.