The rise of coworking spaces

In the past decade, the popularity of coworking spaces has skyrocketed among professionals worldwide—with the U.S. having the second-largest market demand (the first is China). Contrary to the oft-held misconception that shared spaces are only appropriate for freelancers and entrepreneurs, many types of businesses benefit from coworking—from small start-ups establishing their base business to large corporations providing flexible work options for an extensive workforce. A $15 billion dollar market with a projected growth rate of 18% by 2020, coworking spaces are both an intriguing industry phenomenon and a profitable investment.

Coworking spaces, defined

Coworking spaces break free from traditional office models. Coworkers (from unrelated organizations or companies) pay a membership fee to share an amenity-rich office, often providing both open and closed work areas and private meeting rooms, event spaces, phone booths, kitchens, and lounge areas. Other “traditional” services are also provided, such as internet access, cyber-security monitoring, printing and postal services, and coffee.

Benefits of coworking spaces

  • Networking opportunities: Coworkers have the opportunity to network and collaborate with professionals outside their firm or industry.
  • Professional development: Coworking spaces frequently offer professional development opportunities for all industries and disciplines.
  • Lower costs: Buying or renting a comparably sized space usually exceeds the cost of a coworking space membership. Also, coworking spaces are already furnished and ready to use.
  • Attract top-notch talent: Today’s workforce is demanding more flexible work location options. Having the flexibility to work from a coworking space (which often translates into having a shorter commute and, as such, an increase in work/life balance) is highly sought-after by prospective employees.
  • Client convenience: Conference and meeting room amenities allow for coworkers to meet with clients at the coworking space, which can reduce clients’ traveling time for meetings.
  • More productive: Employees are more productive in a distraction-free setting.

Basic RGB

Brickyard, a DBI-designed coworking space

Brickyard, a DBI-designed coworking space in Ashburn, Virginia, illustrates the benefits of the shared office environment. This 3,000-SF hub serves as a “third place” environment between home and office; the blending of these two spheres is reflected in thoughtfully curated design elements (vinyl wood-looking flooring and carpet patterns resembling a Turkish rug reinforce a “home away from home” vibe, while the open studio, closed offices, and conference rooms create an ideal work environment in which to be productive). Brickyard’s Ashburn space is the company’s flagship location—and the prototype on which forthcoming centers will be based.