As the business landscape in the UK continues to evolve, office search agency, Sketch Labs reveals a 100% increase in searches for ‘coworking space’ in the last five years. This data underscores the rise in remote and hybrid working models and indicates that employees are more than ever, seeking flexible environments to create a balance in their professional and personal lives.
The data, compiled by Sketch Labs discovered that from 2018 to 2023, UK searches for ‘coworking space’ have doubled, reflecting a noticeable shift in how individuals and businesses alike are reimagining the concept of workspaces. Further statistics reveal that by 2024, the number of people using coworking spaces will reach 5 million worldwide – a twofold increase from 2021. In 2018, there were approximately 18,700 coworking spaces worldwide; this number is expected to surge by 125% in the next year, indicating a rapid growth in the industry.
However, this surge over recent years has brought concerns to light, particularly for startups and freelancers. Historically, coworking spaces predominantly attracted these demographics due to their affordability and the wide array of amenities provided. Yet, with the expanding appeal of coworking spaces, larger corporations have taken notice of the advantages, resulting in increased demand and potentially creating overhead challenges for smaller businesses.
Mark Knops, Founder and CEO of Sketch Lab shares“Pairing smaller offices with coworking passes benefits larger corporations through cost savings and flexibility, but poses challenges for service providers. Often it can result in overcrowding during peak hours, and they must be aware of this to ensure all clients have access to the spaces they’ve paid for. Managing overcrowding, complex contracts, operational efficiency, and communication, as well as taking a proactive and client-focused approach becomes essential when navigating this hybrid model.”
Benefits for Companies Opting for Coworking Passes:
- Cost Savings: Renting a smaller office reduces real estate expenses by paying for the needed space. Coworking passes offer a cost-effective solution for remote or occasional office work.
- Flexibility: Employees can choose when to work in the office, enhancing job satisfaction and work-life balance.
- Resource Efficiency: Smaller offices and coworking passes optimize resource allocation, fostering productivity and cost-efficiency.
- Community and Networking: Coworking spaces provide access to diverse professionals, leading to valuable networking opportunities and knowledge sharing.
- Hybrid Work Models: Aligns with the trend of hybrid work, accommodating diverse employee work preferences.
- Talent Attraction and Retention: Attracts top talent and improves retention by offering flexibility and choice in work arrangements.
Cons for the Office Provider:
- Overcrowding and Availability: Overcrowding during peak hours can impact client experience, requiring vigilant space monitoring.
- Contract Management: Managing complex contracts for a hybrid setup, including office space rental and coworking passes.
- Operational Complexity: Handling billing, space management, and tech infrastructure in a hybrid setup.
- Communication and Coordination: Effective communication and coordination between clients are crucial to resolve issues promptly.
Top 10 independent coworking spaces in the UK
- Floe, Newcastle
- Raw Space, Bristol
- Alpha Works, Birmingham
- Collabor8te, Glasgow
- Huckletreet Ancoats, Manchester
- Cubo, Sheffield
- AvenueHQ, Leeds
- The Melting Pot, Edinburgh
- Tramshed Tech, Cardiff
- The Ministry, London
Whilst coworking chains such as WeWork, TOG, and IWG often take precedence due to their high number of locations, there are lots of smaller and independent coworking spaces that offer top-rated features for affordable prices. Sketch Labs conducted an extensive assessment of independent coworking spaces in key cities across the nation, considering metrics such as average Google reviews and the monthly pricing of hot desks. For its affordability and consistent top-rated reviews, Floe in Newcastle ranked best. Other coworking spaces in the country included AvenueHQ in Leeds and The Melting Pot in Edinburgh, both of which offered the most cost-effective membership.