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Coworking is back

| Juergen Klingenberg

As more U.S. workers are headed back to offices, coworking spaces are filling up again.  Workers still want a place to connect with peers — or just somewhere to work that isn’t their own home. Heavyweights in the industry reported that occupancy levels reached 72% in August — matching pre-pandemic occupancy levels — while some other, flexible-workspace network, has added 2 million new members over the past year and has deals for 50 new locations in the U.S this year, including more rural and suburban areas.

Recent trends suggest coworking is back!

… has become increasingly favorable thanks to several macro factors:

  • The proliferation of covid vaccines has made the return to office feel safer
  • Many workers want to get back to the office, and their companies are looking to fulfill hybrid work environments while still offering flexibility
  • Startups facing an uncertain funding environment — the new normal these days — favor short-term leases

As a result…

… occupancy at National Coworking Spaces jumped to 67% in Q1 2022, up from 47% a year earlier, and not far from its 72% pre-pandemic level.

The company reported ~500k physical memberships last quarter, up ~25% YoY, and has seen increased demand for its All Access plan, a monthly membership that allows entry at hundreds of connected locations.

But it’s not just the large coworking entities: niche coworking providers are on the rise as well. One reason is that landlords are becoming more open to profit-sharing agreements rather than traditional leases, which allow coworking companies to reduce their monthly payments.

But coworking still has its challenges

A recent Pew Research study found that 59% of workers who can work remotely want to stay remote, meaning coworking spaces won’t be much of an attraction for them. Even so, some analysts predict there will be ~42k coworking spaces globally in 2024, up 116% from 2020. If that’s the case, "Coworking" may soon become a house hold name, and possibly the future of how our workforce functions.

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