Coworking in Colorado: A Few Trends in 2017
Coworking is here to stay and the industry is not yet done growing
The modern workforce is shifting further away from traditional office settings — complete with stodgy, gray cubicles and colleagues standing around water coolers in a designated break room. Rather the workforce of the 21st century is moving toward modern coworking spaces defining the future of work. A Forbes article recently highlighted coworking as “one of the largest startup segments, hiding in plain sight,” and compared the industry to other booming trends such as fintech, virtual reality and drones.
Highlighting the industry’s growth further, a report by Deskmag found the average number of members per space roughly doubled during the past two years. Additionally, a U.S.-specific Deskmag report discovered the average size of a coworking space in the U.S. has doubled in the last two years and that 60 percent of coworking operators plan to expand their space this year. As this concept gains a foothold and more collaborative spaces pop up around the globe, the industry has become ubiquitous throughout the last few years, and it’s apparent in the millennial friendly Mile High City.
Let’s take a look at a few local coworking trends to watch:
COWORKING'S CORPORATE EFFECT
As coworking gains momentum, opportunity has emerged — and corporations are taking notice. A JLL report published in 2016 indicates that larger companies are rethinking and redesigning their workplaces to be more open and creative. Large companies and corporations are actively testing new layouts for portions of their teams and to encourage employee engagement.
Nationally, some companies are going a step further, partnering with coworking operators to provide innovative programming as well as office space, desks and other amenities. Verizon and Staples are two such corporations, partnering with collaborative workspaces to explore this trend and take advantage of the flexibility it offers. In some cases, entire teams are moving into coworking spaces to collaborate with startups and others. In other cases, coworking operators are brought into a corporation to manage unused or underutilized space in office buildings, unlocking its potential.
WHAT DOES THIS TREND MEAN FOR COLORADO?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado is growing at the seventh-fastest rate in the country and this growth contributes to an expanding employment base. Newly, people entering the workforce are choosing location first and jobs second. As our state’s population grows, global companies are looking to add their presence to Colorado and as a result, a number of Fortune 500 companies have set their sights and planted roots along the Front Range. Rather than lease office space in a competitive market, these large companies are turning to coworking to establish a presence within the state’s borders.
Because employees value the atmosphere and amenities that some companies bring to the table, more established organizations are recognizing that in order to obtain and retain top talent, they must start providing the culture and atmosphere that employees desire. Coworking spaces often provide the cheapest, most flexible and easiest solution.
INCREASED LOCAL COMPETITION
Cities like Denver now have a number of coworking options available and members are able to be more selective when choosing spaces. Today, there is more competition than ever across the Front Range.
This increased competition challenges local coworking spaces to stay on top of trends and increase their member offerings and benefits.
Thrive Workplace aims to cater to the startup ecosystem both in Denver and statewide, thus partnering with six other local organizations to create “The Venture Zone,” a membership-based program that brings local entrepreneurs, startups and mentors together into one central workspace. The environment provides this community with tools and resources to function successfully at every stage of innovation and ideation.
Additionally, as Denver’s population continues to increase,more customers desire a local coworking option that reduces their commute time. A coworking space’s ability to understand its market, provide the ideal member experience, and the best technologies ultimately drives value for its members; it is what sets successful coworking spaces apart from their competition.
One common thread throughout the coworking industry is flexibility, but the market can quickly become oversaturated as well. As a result, coworking spaces need to grow into their supply and increase demand even further. In order to do so, a new, monthly subscription service is launching in Denver.
Essentially a variable coworking pass, Deskpass, offers its members the ability to drop in and work at more than a dozen independent spaces throughout the Denver metro area and Fort Collins. Already operating in Los Angeles and Chicago, Denver is the third market for the app-based service and membership allows access to coworking spaces in all three cities. Thrive Ballpark and Thrive Cherry Creek are among the available options in Denver participating in the new program.
Coworking is here to stay and the industry is not yet done growing. Denver is one of the highest per-capita shared office markets in the world. As coworking continues to grow and change, we believe Colorado’s Front Range will continue to take a leadership role in the ever-changing American workspace.