Coworking spaces have been on the rise for some time now. Although they were relatively little-known in the 90s, shared office spaces first started appearing as far back as 1995. Not many people know this, but it was actually the Germans that pioneered this trend. The first coworking space was founded in Berlin and was playfully dubbed a “hackerspace” by its users.
These types of spaces have come a long way since then. With passing years, people and companies are starting to think more and more broadly about the possibilities for expanding these spaces. Let’s take a look at what some of the newest trends are.
Spaces open up, then start to close again
At the beginning of the coworking craze, people thought it would be great to have wide open spaces that had a pan-collaborative feng shui about them. The idea was to remove all barriers and have participant employees able to float freely to share ideas with anyone and everyone, regardless of what company they represented. Hot desks could be shared as employees flipped between shifts.
However, some people found that the extreme openness was a bit too much. There is a reason that traditional office spaces had closed rooms or cubicles, after all. Many types of work are difficult and require concentration. In addition, many companies have high-level security needs that may be compromised if spaces are too open.
Therefore, the trend this year is to include a certain number of closed off spaces that are both sound-proofed, and technologically equipped with security tools that can help keep sensitive data private and keep employees safe.
Greater flexibility and customization
If you’re looking for a shared office space in Dallas, TX, for example, you might have a busy schedule that is full of diverse needs. Coworking owners are aware of this growing need for flexibility, and therefore spaces are being designed with movable parts for different-sized teams, and also with variable leases as some companies prefer to commit to shorter periods of time.
Customization is also a big thing. While some companies like long tables with multiple workstations, other groups prefer to mix it up a bit. Google first pioneered the idea of funky lounge chairs for workers as a way to encourage independent thinking and creativity. Since then, many companies have taken on this idea, and have been trying to think more and more broadly about unusual types of spaces that might foster creative thought.
More facilities and greater recreation options
Another thing that coworking spaces are furiously working to outdo one another on is diversity of facilities. Not long ago, people thought it’s crazy to have a ping-pong table in the office. How could people possibly concentrate with such a distraction close at hand?
But savvy employers realized that this concept was onto something. You don’t want work to feel like a lot of drudgery because your employees won’t be motivated to go further and push boundaries. Recreational spots should be included and encouraged because they help to keep employees fresh and enthusiastic.
Now, coworking spaces are competing to outdo one another in terms of the facilities they offer. Gyms, rec rooms, and even pools are common in many of the more upscale spaces. Coworking facilities often have fancy kitchens and separate cafe areas. Employees can participate in yoga classes at different times of day to help them relax and rejuvenate.
In addition, collaborative office spaces are becoming smarter. Energy-efficient lighting is now becoming standardized. Many types of equipment and lighting work according to sensors so that they only come on when people enter a room. In this way, companies can save a lot of money on energy bills.
Booking spaces has become much easier and more efficient, as well. People can now book conference rooms, meeting spaces, or even hot desks online through a shared booking system. This helps to eliminate confusion and streamline the schedules of everyone involved.
With spaces being shared, companies have had to start thinking outside the box about how to store data. More and more, people are choosing to store data on clouds, which both precludes the need for clumsy hard drives, and also helps to maintain security in the event of a computer failure. People can access files from anywhere in the world in real time and collaborate with one another on projects.
Coworking is transforming living
In some cases, people are actually turning coworking spaces into coliving spaces. As some countries are becoming more friendly to digital nomads, they are starting to offer visas to workers who participate in coworking schemes.
Coliving spaces take the trend even further, offering housing to residents from diverse parts of the world who share the common interest of living and working remotely. Some people purchase apartment units for partial-year use and then rent the units out when they are out of town. This model is quickly gaining popularity and catching on with more and more governments globally.
What will be next?
It is yet to be seen what the next level will be in coworking and coliving. What is sure is that this trend is catching on, and more companies are choosing to ditch the traditional office model as it is seen to be outdated and lacking in the creativity necessary to truly motivate people. Whatever the future holds for the workplace, it is sure to be even more exciting.