Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly trendy. But this advantage of working close to home is now playing the role of competitor of public transport networks. Is coworking the death of the metro?
© credit: Wells Baum
According to an article published in the magazine The Economist, workers all over the world are shunning public transport. In New York, this year has seen a 2.8% decrease in the use of public transport (during the working week) compared to 2016–2017. In London, the number of trips on the Underground dropped by 19 million between March 2017 and March 2018, despite a rise in that city’s employment rate. The same is true in Berlin, where the number of public transport journeyshas risen only half as fast as the employment rate.
The finger of blame can be pointed at many causal factors, one of which is the ever-growing number of coworking spaces. The Global Coworking Survey reported that the number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to rise from 15,500 in 2017 to 18,900 this year. This estimate was confirmed by the Global Coworking Unconference Conference, which predicted that the coworking membership of these new workplaces would increase by over 50% between now and 2022, at which point coworkers could possibly number over 5 million!
Coworkers include employees
Growth on this scale cannot be attributed solely to freelancers and start-up entrepreneurs, the usual occupants of coworking offices, even though their numbers are clearly and constantly increasing. Large companies too are beginning to look at the idea of coworking. In its report “The Workplace Revolution” Regus, the rented flexible workspace provider, reports that, looking at the situation worldwide, 54% of salaried employees state that they work 2.5 days a week – often more – outside their company offices, and that only 36% of them work exclusively from home. The most commonly used facilities are business centres and coworking spaces, as they provide an environment that is easier for people to work in while still closer to their homes (27% of salaried workers consider the time spent commuting to their workplace a waste of time).
Proximity at every level
Although coworking spaces are increasingly promoting themselves as the best proximity solution for workers who are looking for a better work–life balance, they also facilitate another local advantage: finding new clients and partners. Again, according to the Global Coworking Survey, 74% of the coworking space members profit from these opportunities to widen their professional networks, usually leading to the creation of on average four new projects for collaboration. You can hardly expect commuting by bus or underground to overcome competition of this kind!
Whether friend or foe of public transport, come along to get a taste of the Factory Forty adventure!