Co-working is a trend that's on the rise. What's behind the demand for co-working spaces?

In the future we might look back at the current shift towards co-working and flexible workspace as being as profound a change as in any industrial revolution.

Content from Pierre Ferrandon, New Zealand Country Manager, IWG

The traditional 9-5 in an office (or 8-6 plus commute, the reality for many white-collar workers) is steadily being replaced, and real estate is changing with it. Flexible workspaces, in which companies commit to month-to-month rentals rather than 10-year leases, and freelancers and smaller businesses pay for a share of professional office space, are rising in number, to 18,900 spaces globally by the end of this year, with around 50,000m² of that in New Zealand.

IWG’s own survey – the largest poll ever done on attitudes to flexible working – asked 18,000 professionals in a range of industries in 96 countries how they work. It found that:

  • Every week, 70% of employees are working at least one day somewhere other than the office
  • More than half (53%) work remotely for half of the week or more
  • 11% of people work outside of their company’s main office location five times a week

The emergence of this mobile workforce has been driven by technological change, globalisation and changes in employee expectations – inarguably a form of industrial revolution – and the advantages to professional organisations of adopting a co-working or flexible workspace model include:

  • A reduction in cost and commitment. Traditional office spaces, often based on a long-term lease with right of renewal, are remarkably costly when calculated on a usage basis. These spaces are only used 52% of the time – standard working hours with a little buffer at each end – and meeting room utilisation is a mere 12%.
  • What if companies started paying only for the space they used when they used it, and didn’t lock themselves into long- term lease agreements that create additional balance sheet liabilities?
  • Having a workforce operating flexibly encourages new and better measurements of performance. If companies have the management tools to measure employees on output, they can gauge what they are delivering for the company regardless of where they’re working.
  • Flexibility increases the productive time available and cuts costs to workers. For people who just need a computer, a phone and an internet connection, co-working close to home is a no-brainer: it saves time and money and makes workers more engaged and driven to satisfy their employer.

Co-working is possible for companies of every size. At present, 30% of global co-working space is occupied by corporates that want access to a global network.
Other businesses want to exit their long-term lease and move into a pay-as-you-go workspace model, giving every employee funds for space and letting them decide how they want to spend it. The company saves money while getting the output they want from the employee; facilitates flexibility, collaboration and networking opportunities; and gets lease liabilities off the balance sheet - while the employee has decision-making power over where they work. Win-win. has 12 locations in New Zealand and is part of a global network of over 3,000 locations. Contact them on 0800 555 703