Coworking Demand Surges as Work Dynamics Transform

In the dynamic UK business environment, Sketch Labs has reported a remarkable twofold increase in the demand for 'coworking space' over the past five years. This trend highlights a significant shift towards remote and hybrid working models, with employees increasingly seeking flexible environments to harmonise their work and personal life.

Sketch Labs' analysis indicates that from 2018 to 2023, the UK's interest in 'coworking space' has doubled, suggesting a redefinition of traditional workspaces by individuals and enterprises. Projections show that the global coworking space user base is set to hit five million by 2024, which would be a 100% increase from 2021. In comparison, the worldwide count of coworking spaces stood at approximately 18,700 in 2018, with expectations of a 125% increase by the following year, underscoring the sector's swift expansion.

Nevertheless, this growth has raised concerns, particularly for startups and freelancers who have historically favoured coworking spaces for their affordability and amenities. The burgeoning popularity among larger firms has led to higher demand, potentially imposing financial pressures on smaller entities.

Mark Knops, the Founder and CEO of Sketch Lab, commented: "Combining smaller offices with coworking passes offers larger corporations cost savings and adaptability, yet it presents challenges for service providers. Peak hour overcrowding is one such issue, and providers must ensure equitable space access to all clients. Addressing this requires efficient management of overcrowding, complex agreements, operations, and communication, alongside a client-centric and proactive stance."

Companies that adopt coworking passes stand to benefit from:

  • Reduced real estate costs through renting smaller offices and using coworking passes for cost-effective remote or occasional office work.
  • Enhanced employee flexibility, job satisfaction, and work-life balance.
  • Greater resource efficiency, productivity, and cost-effectiveness through the use of smaller offices and coworking passes.
  • Access to a diverse professional community, yielding networking and knowledge exchange opportunities.
  • Compatibility with hybrid work trends and accommodation of varied employee work styles.
  • Improved talent attraction and retention by providing flexible work arrangement choices.

Conversely, office providers face challenges such as:

  • Managing client experiences and space availability, especially during busy periods.
  • Handling complex contracts within a hybrid office-coworking pass model.
  • Navigating the operational intricacies of billing, space, and technology infrastructure in a mixed-use environment.
  • Ensuring prompt issue resolution through effective communication and coordination with clients.

Despite the prevalence of coworking chains like WeWork, TOG, and IWG, numerous smaller, independent coworking spaces provide excellent features at competitive prices. Sketch Labs' comprehensive evaluation of these spaces, based on Google reviews and hot desk prices, found Floe in Newcastle to be the leading choice for its affordability and stellar reviews. Other notable spaces include AvenueHQ in Leeds and The Melting Pot in Edinburgh, both offering cost-efficient memberships.