As WeWork Struggles, Coworking Thrives
WeWork seems to be making a lot of noise these days. The international workspace giant includes over 528 shared offices in 111 different cities with over 500,000 members. Though their growth was swift their losses have been staggering. In 2018 WeWork reported $1.8 billion in revenue while its losses totaled over $1.9 billion. The New York-based company attempted to IPO at a $47 billion valuation only to pull their IPO and see their value tumble to around $8 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. To add to the growing dismay, the CEO was asked to leave, apparently being paid over a billion dollars to go away while a few thousand employees are being let go. Things don’t look good.
But let’s take a step back when people say that WeWork is in the “coworking” business, what does that mean? Is the coworking industry coming to an end?
Coworking spaces are shared workspaces across the globe that offer fully furnished suites of office-like amenities such as personal desks, private meeting rooms, event space, kitchens, coffee and more. A primary advantage of this type of workspace is the ability to rent only what you need rather than a large office and a long lease. Members are typically entrepreneurs, start-ups and corporate teams who require more flexibility in their space. The uniqueness of coworking is the rate at which professional networks and referrals happen right within the work environment. This is due to the various industries working under the same roof, and near each other. Coworking is more than just a workspace; it is opportunity.
Equating the health of the coworking industry to WeWork’s eccentric style alone would be a mistake. In cities all over the nation, coworking spaces are opening every 17 days. Globally, spaces will double to 49,500 by 2022 from 26,000 in 2017. If you define coworking by just the number of independent operations opening this year, WeWork does not define the industry. The concept is thriving in the independent sector more than ever.
Though we all watch in awe as WeWork struggles to regroup, we are also aware of the massive opportunity for the coworking concept to thrive beyond one corporation’s mishaps. We also recognize the strength that is in the independent coworking owners across the globe. Coworking is not just an alternative to office leasing, it’s not just an easier way to rent workspace nor is it just a quick way to lease out unrentable commercial space. It is the future of workspace for the growing community of workers who require networking, connections and personal interaction to thrive in the business world. Coworking equates to opportunity and the industry will grow stronger than ever before.