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The Growth of Suburban Coworking

Recent research reveals that, as the movement continues to gain more popularity, suburban coworking holds great potential in the marketplace. 

The Matrix Bulletin Coworking October 2019 report shows 63.6 million square feet of coworking space in urban submarkets, representing 2.7% of total office space. Suburban submarkets held 30.4 million square feet of coworking space or 1.0% of the total office stock.

However, despite the continued dominance of urban coworking spaces, the report states: “As the industry matures, we expect that coworking will rise in suburban office markets.”

The report reveals suburban markets have a great supply of small office spaces, compared to urban locations.

Of the top 50 markets identified in the report, Las Vegas has the largest proportion of suburban coworking spaces. The city has 2.1% of the total suburban office stock share, representing more than 450,000 square feet of space. 

West Palm Beach (2.0%), Orange County (1.9%), Miami (1.9%) and Los Angeles (1.8%) also rank in the top-five in terms of suburban coworking market share. At the other end of the urban scale, Tampa, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Denver all have a 0.7% of the market share.

Suburban Coworking: Benefits and Challenges

Suburban coworking spaces bring many benefits to both employers and employees. The Yardi report continues: “Suburban spaces tend to draw clients from the ranks of people who work from home and want an office to have somewhere to go and/or for socialization, as well as large corporations that need small satellite offices.” 

For individuals, suburban coworking reduces or eliminates their commutes as they can work closer to home. This allows workers to fit their day-to-day responsibilities around their job. So, they can, for example, drop off and pick up their children from school.

A recent report reveals millennials overwhelmingly move out of urban areas and to suburban environments when they have children. The study also suggests many millennials want to work in a coworking environment when they move out to the suburbs. This is because many millennials have never worked anywhere else.

This has a positive impact on employers and employees alike. By giving seasoned staff the option to reduce their commute, employers can retain the best talent. This can help companies maintain a diverse workforce. As a result, suburban coworking spaces also tend to reflect a wide variety of professionals.

However, suburban spaces often struggle to compete with their urban counterparts. The Yardi report continues: “Urban areas have advantages over suburbs in several regards: Downtowns have proximity to a greater number of workers and access to public transportation, and technology companies and workers tend to congregate in urban areas.” 

Impact on Local Communities

Suburban coworkers tend to be more invested in their local community, compared to urban coworkers, because they often live and work in the same locale.

As a result, it’s important for suburban coworking spaces to play an active and beneficial role in the local community. For example, non-profit events and workshops can help bring people together while introducing more people to the value of coworking.

For suburban coworking spaces, success is far more dependent on the community’s acceptance and engagement of the space. However, once this has been achieved, suburban spaces can be rewarded with a highly active and loyal community.

The Yardi report concludes: “It makes sense that coworking thrives in metros where vacant space is hard to find and expensive, and conversely is less in demand in areas where space is plentiful and cheaper. However, the industry is new and developing, so it would be a mistake to draw firm conclusions.”

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