The Future of the Co-Working

For generations, people went to university, got a job, and spent most of their adult life climbing the corporate ladder. Today, the reality is very different.

The Future of the Co-Working

In the digital age, technology has awarded us many opportunities to change the way we work, the way we communicate, and the way we live. This rapidly changing landscape has led to many individuals embracing remote working to achieve a better work/life balance and receive fulfilment in everything they pursue.

In fact, research suggests that as much as 74% of employees would quickly quit their current job to work in a company that offers remote working opportunities.

Remote working brought about an explosion of co-working spaces from New York to Dublin to Tokyo. If you’ve ever set foot in one, you’ll be familiar with the eclectic mix of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professional mobile workers who work out of these spaces.

As remote working opportunities grow and rapidly become the norm, how will work in the modern world evolve? What’s the future of co-working? Let’s take a look.

Corporate Co-Working Will Be Omnipresent

As corporations compete for top talent, remote working opportunities are expected to grow exponentially. This is expected to increase the demand for collaborative working spaces across cities and towns around the planet.

To accommodate the rapidly changing workforce, more large enterprises will also get into the co-working game. In fact, they already have!

This is evidenced by a growing number of tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Verizon looking to get down into the trenches with innovative startups (that could potentially become their next acquisition).

The multinational consumer goods conglomerate, Unilever is doing something similar. Last year, the company opened a co-working space within their corporate office called Level 3. While this space won’t act as an incubator, it will be a collaborative working space that can be accessed by external entrepreneurs.

This enterprise approach to incorporating co-working spaces within their business provides an opportunity for both corporate giants and startups. For example, it’ll be an excellent opportunity for a growing startup to get noticed by a major multinational and at the same time, it’s also a chance for an established corporation to keep their finger on the pulse (and be the first to snap up the next disruptive idea).

While co-working spaces provide some proven benefits, there are still some critics that argue that there’s an inherent downside to sharing a space with a potential competitor. This will be another reason that will drive the incorporation of collaborative working spaces and incubators within corporations.

The Emergence of Smart Co-Working Spaces

Experts forecast 5.1 million co-workers spread across 30,500 co-working spaces by the year 2022. This means that both remote working and the competition for co-working spaces will heat up over the next four years.

To better accommodate the modern worker and set themselves apart from the competition, the future of co-working will be in smart buildings. According to Deloitte, IT infrastructure with fast, reliable wifi was at the core of successful collaborative working environments. However, going forward, operators of these spaces will have to become far more tech-savvy to differentiate their spaces.

Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) is one way to do this as it will enable flexibility and possibilities for workspace optimization. So co-working in the future will be supported by smart sensors that collect data (on things like energy consumption, occupancy, temperature, etc.) to enhance productivity and the overall working experience:

IoT in co-working spaces can also help better manage building operating expenses and reduce carbon footprints.

However, adding IoT to the infrastructure will also increase the overall cybersecurity risk exposure. As a result, with multiple companies within the building generating their own sensitive data, cybersecurity and privacy will be at the forefront of co-working.

Regardless of how these spaces evolve, they will continue to rely heavily on providing a highly collaborative and flexible environment. Furthermore, co-working will also be at the forefront of adopting the latest communication, collaboration, and sharing technologies to stamp out common silos that hinder communication and productivity,

Co-working in the future will probably embrace both artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate tasks wherever it’s necessary to enhance remote working experiences while boosting productivity.

This (relatively) new model to working will also help young millennial workers integrate and thrive within a like-minded community. As collaborative spaces, it will continue to be at the heart of where people gather, work, learn, have fun, and make business connections.

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