The coworking industry has taken the business world by storm and has asserted itself with a revolutionary fervor on the traditional workplace. Freelancers, creative individuals and small business owners have more and more affordable access to well-equipped offices in business centers. At coworking hubs they can not only be their most productive selves, but can also establish important connections with like-minded entrepreneurs which can lead to future professional collaborations.
Although the coworking industry hasn’t been around for too long, it has proven to be a complete game-changer thanks to the amount of flexibility it offers. Contrary to popular belief, its target audience isn’t made up entirely of self-employed individuals. As a matter of fact, large companies are also jumping on the coworking bandwagon, giving their employees the freedom to work from anywhere, at least a few days per week, instead of forcing them to come into the company’s offices every day.
Regus was one of the first companies to recognize the need for such a service. Mark Dixon, the English entrepreneur who opened the first Regus office in the capital city of Belgium, got tired of the lack of professional business spaces from where he could work during his travels. After opening the first office nearly three decades ago, Regus has grown into a world-wide franchise, currently having nearly 3,000 offices in 900 different cities and 120 countries.
With the goal of continuously keeping up with the newest trends in the industry, Regus did a thorough examination of recent coworking trends and put together a comprehensive report to showcase the results. Here are some of the most important takeaways:
The rise of the flexible workplace
The traditional office as we know it was changed forever when studies showed that a flexible workplace actually improves creativity, concentration levels and overall productivity. Though many might be hesitant to admit it, a little change in scenery can go a long way when it comes to tackling the day’s (oftentimes monotonous) tasks.
Thanks to the rapid evolution of technology, it’s now easier than ever to stay connected with co-workers, associates and employers. This never-before-seen advancement in the technological world has basically set the agenda for flexible workplaces to emerge, gain momentum and spread all across the globe.
Remote working – a global movement that’s here to stay
Since nearly one-third of workers think that their morning commute is basically a waste of time, what better way to improve this situation than by heading to the nearest coworking hub, or better yet, staying at home. According to the report, 54% of respondents from around the world now work at least 2.5 days a week remotely at their regular job. The majority of them (32%) work from different areas of the same city, followed closely by those working from a different city in the same country (25%).
Technology – a key player in the coworking industry
As we’ve mentioned before, all this would have never happened if it wasn’t for the constant and speedy progression of technology. Continuously being able to stay connected, to reach out to co-workers and to share files is a huge advancement and has further helped the success of coworking hubs and flexible workplaces.
Instant messaging is the most widespread technology used to keep in touch, with Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger leading the pack. File sharing services are equally important, ensuring 24/7 access to data, with Google Drive and Dropbox proving to be the most popular options.
Naturally, having modern tools such as an efficient smartphone, laptop or tablet is a must for anyone looking to work remotely. Access to broadband internet or fast WiFi is another prerequisite, with 84% of respondents proclaiming it to be the most impactful factor in their flexible workplace.
The downside of working from home
As great as flexible workplaces may be, as it turns out, working from home has its limitations. According to respondents, one of the key issues with working from home is the continuous disturbances caused by family members, pets and even household noises. This might make it hard to concentrate, whilst a slow and unreliable Wi-Fi can also really kick your productivity to the curb.
On the other hand, respondents proclaimed that their work-life balance and their relationships with loved ones undeniably benefited from working from home. Cutting out commuting time and working closer to home can also improve productivity and, as 16% say, even one’s health.
Future trends in the coworking industry
All in all, research has shown that remote working is quite a widespread tendency. Employers love it because they can cut costs by hiring remote workers. On the other side of the spectrum, employees also prefer the additional flexibility that comes with it.
With the ever-changing nature of technology, it’s quite difficult to correctly foresee what the future of coworking hubs, flexible workplaces and remote workers will be. One thing’s for sure, though: the coworking trend is not going to be stopping any time soon!