A Look at Alternative Coworking Spaces

Coworking space continues to be popular with both employers and employees. But offices aren't the only sector that can benefit from this trend.

You might want to hold off on that briefcase purchase, and hold on to that juicy anecdote about the weather, because it seems as if fewer and fewer people are coming into the office nowadays.

It’s true! According to a study by Statista, in 2017 there were 15,500 coworking spaces globally, which amounts to approximately 1.27 million people working from these spaces. And companies such as WeWork have become even more popular

Yardi Associate Director of Research Paul Fiorilla found that “coworking leases in 20 major markets (across the country) found 1,166 coworking sites with 26.9 million square feet of space. That represents 1.2 percent of office space in those markets.”

To paraphrase Will Ferrell’s character in the seminal classic Zoolander, “Coworking spaces…so hot right now.” 

And why not? It’s good for employees who work remotely but enjoy some social interaction. It’s good for employers, because it keeps overhead in the office down. It’s great for communal office kitchens, because less fish is microwaved. (Seriously. Cut. That. Out.) Everyone wins!

Space: The Final Frontier

What’s interesting is that formal coworking spaces don’t just include traditional spaces anymore. The New York Times recently reported on a California restaurant that closes its kitchen in the afternoon and opens its door to workers.

Sounds like a great idea, especially if they aren’t making that much money during the lunch rush anyway. If they get bodies in the door, they’re turning a profit and keeping their food costs down. (Though I doubt anyone would complain if they offered wine service during the day. To help with…productivity. Sure.)

But why stop with restaurants? Retail is struggling a bit now, particularly malls. This could be a great way to fill the empty stores popping up. Allow people to work in those spaces. And then they can go get an Auntie Anne’s pretzel after a rough teleconference. That sounds pretty amazing, actually. I hereby volunteer to be a test subject.

There’s no indication that coworking spaces will lose out in popularity. So it might be useful to think of some alternative spaces to lure workers.

What do you think? If you have a restaurant, would you consider converting it to a coworking space? What other asset classes of CRE could benefit from this trend? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @CPExecutive or @JFiur.