by the Editors of Commercial Property Executive

April 27, 2017—Dubai— Co-working spaces are the thing right now. But is this just a passing trend, or are we facing a permanent shift in the office real estate business?   This is a question posed by the Editors of Commercial Property Executive and the same we believe is also posed by all types of shareholders across the commercial property sector – whether you are a landlord, a tenant or an investor.

Most research and media articles on co-working spaces take an optimistic tone and predict even more growth for the flexible, amenity-rich, tech-friendly, hipster-ish workspaces.   Studies have shown great benefits on co-working as it leads to greater productivity amongst employees and lowered costs on rentals.

There are, of course, some downsides to a shared office space according to the article. There is the lack of privacy, and constant noise and movement. Those looking for permanent peace and quiet should not consider co-working spaces as a long-term option. Also, industry peers working side to side might lead to conflict or competition.

At WorkSpace Commerce, we want to address these downsides mentioned.  The amount of privacy and noise can be effectively controlled by a smart, carefully thought-out spatial layout where fully enclosed spaces are offered in conjunction with the more popular hot desks or work stations usually presented in the open layout format.   In every facility we have, we are always conscious not to overload and over cram like the internet cafes of the old, for the purpose of maximizing revenue.  Member retention is a challenge to every co-working space provider because there are more “software” vs. “hardware” elements that members increasingly prioritize more and that operators may overlook chasing for optimal bottom lines.   On establishing long-term membership contracts or lease partnerships with bigger companies, we are also careful to limit industry peers or same-sector players within a particular facility.  This presents a certain exclusivity in our services to them, which they fully appreciate as we are seen as selective not mass, customer-centric not revenue-focused.

Research predicts impressive growth for the co-working sector in the next couple of years. An Emergent Research study shows that co-working membership should grow about 40 percent per year to pass 1 million members worldwide by 2018. The growth is supported by the fact that Millennials will represent 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025, according to the Governance Studies at Brookings report “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America.”

Co-working spaces have found a place in the commercial real estate industry and they are here to stay. Whether they replace the existing set-up remains to be seen, but it is undisputed they offer some of the better options that we haven’t seen before.    To find out how co-working can benefit your business, reach out to us at info@workspacecommerce.co.uk.