Coworking goes mainstream. (It’s not just for start-ups anymore.)

Who’s using coworking spaces in 2022? It’s exactly who you might think. Freelancers. Tech workers. Digital nomads. But it’s also exactly who you might not think, like the employees of large, enterprise companies with ample real estate footprints of their own. 

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These days, basically everyone is interested in giving coworking a go. The combination of comfort, convenience, and community has proven too powerful to resist.


Coworking is the new black. It’s not only the hip kids who are trying it on for size, either. While flex workspaces have always been popular with freelancers and entrepreneurs – and, make no mistake, those two demographics continue to be the largest users – coworking is steadily gaining in popularity with other groups. Not least, workplace leaders at large, enterprise organizations are taking a keen interest, as they look to deploy hybrid strategies that support new workplace demands for their employees. 


Think of it as the proverbial Goldilocks effect. More and more, employees given the option to work from where it works for them are choosing neither the corporate office nor the home office, but, rather, the workspaces in between – coworking spaces and third places that offer that “just right” mix of a stylish work environment with modern amenities, access to a like-minded community of peers, and proximity to home. 


Coworking’s rise and resilience 


COVID-19 clearly had something to do with the growing popularity of coworking and coworking spaces. The disruption and correlative impact on employee preferences is real. These days, “wellness” is routinely cited in return-to-work surveys as the number one concern related to going back to the office. 


But coworking’s popularity was trending upwards before coronavirus arrived on the scene. In the decade prior to the pandemic, coworking had become increasingly popular among startup tech companies and workers without a home office, such as salespeople. According to the 2019 U.S. Workplace Survey by Gensler Research Institute, 14% of corporate employees were using coworking spaces regularly before the pandemic. One in seven of their respondents — who represented full-time employees of companies larger than 100 people — used coworking spaces for at least some portion of a normal work week. However, most of these workers were young, male, manager-level employees, and disproportionately represented people from the technology sector.


However, now that employees across the globe have had a taste for hybrid working, demand for coworking space has shot up. Coworking has also been the quickest to bounce back from the slowdown of the past two years. While physical office occupancy remains below pre-pandemic levels, occupancy rates at coworking facilities have begun to surge. The economy is growing again, and businesses are reimagining their workplace strategies to give their employees the flexibility they want. The 2022 Gallup study showed 7 in 10 workers would prefer to be fully remote or hybrid and in turn more and more of these individuals, including those outside of tech, are taking advantage of coworking spaces.


As the saying goes, may you live in interesting times. Before our very eyes, we’re witnessing the rise of a new kind of worker, one who puts health and wellness first, who wants an office close to home, without the commute, and who prefers splitting their workweek between multiple workspaces.


A big shift for large organizations


According to a survey by property brokerage JLL, conducted in mid 2021, 41% of office tenants said they expect to use more flexible space as a result of the pandemic. This is up from 29% reported in a similar survey in mid-2020. 

  • Demand for flexible office space doubled from Q1 to Q4 2021, according to data from Upsuite Corp.
  • 30% of office space to be flexible in some form by 2030, predicts JLL.
  • 69% of large companies identified flexible office space as the most in-demand amenity of the future, says CBRE’s recent survey.

Why are so many large corporations suddenly turning to coworking spaces? The answer is simple. Coworking works for hybrid and hybrid works for business.

  • Talent concerns may be the biggest driver. Whether you’re a large corporation or a scrappy start-up, finding people willing to uproot their lives and relocate is getting more difficult. At the same time, it’s becoming easier to find office space in markets where the best people are located. Problem solved. 

  • Coworking spaces make it possible for large companies to be nimbler, to be in more places than once. Whether it’s product launch in a specific region or increasing their presence in a market with a growing customer base, coworking spaces allow these companies to have a “boots on the ground” presence without having to incur any additional real estate expense.

  • Many large companies already have large real estate footprints. Many are finding their portfolios incompatible with their sustainability objectives. Coworking spaces offer one efficient way for them to downsize. 

  • Let’s not forget about the balance sheet. With large public/private corporations required to list leases of more than one year as a liability, flexible office space allows them to to get the space they need, when they need it, without negatively impacting their bottom lines. Coworking facilities enable businesses or people to rent anything from a desk to an office to a meeting room for as long as needed. 

Fuelling the demand: employee preference


Working from home and working from the office both have their pluses and minuses. Stated simply, coworking offers the best of both worlds. Selling points vary from one demographic to the next. For work-from-home employees, coworking’s appeal might be about getting out of the house for a period of time or needing meeting room space to accommodate a group activity. Remotely based team leaders may need to gather colleagues en masse for a planning session, but don’t want to force everyone to commute into the office.


For the office-bound set, it might simply be about a midweek change of scenery, the energy jolt that can come from a compelling work atmosphere. It might be an hour here, a full day there. The appeal might be convenience, the desire to be around other people, or even the space itself, the fun of being in a workspace with an attractive design and build-out. Then there’s ease of use; with more and more coworking providers opening spaces to capitalize on demand, employees are finding it easier and easier to find the workspace they need, often with just a few clicks.


Need more convincing?


How about a few more numbers?

  • There are nearly 2 million people across the globe and approximately 933,000 people in the U.S. who use coworking spaces. The U.S. ranks #1 (6,200), followed by India (2,197) and the U.K. (1,044). Source: Ergonomic Trends / Zippia 
  • There were roughly 19,000 coworking spaces around the globe in 2019. That number was expected to balloon to nearly 50,000 coworking spaces by the end of 2022. Source: SmallBizGenius
  • Let’s talk market size. In the U.S. alone, by 2025, the coworking market is expected to balloon to $13.03 billion. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 12%. Source: GCUC 
  • An estimated 5 million people will work from coworking spaces by 2024, nearly double 2021’s 2 million coworkers. Source: Coworking Resources



In 2007 when Barack Obama had just been elected president, Apple released its very first iPhone, and there were 14 coworking spaces in the United States. Fifteen years later, the future of work is no longer up in the air. The hybrid model is no short-term fix. Hybrid work is the name of the game, there are nearly 6,200 coworking spaces in the U.S. alone, nearly 2 million people using coworking spaces across the world, and making it easier for employees to book on-demand space where and when they need it has become the order of the day for workplace leaders across the globe. 


Larger companies aren’t merely following the trend. In many cases, they’re leading the charge. Workplace leaders at large enterprise organizations have discovered the benefits that coworking and flexible office space provide. More importantly, they’ve realized their employees aren’t willing to work any other way. Employees are calling the shots, and that might be the biggest workplace change of all. 


With the global trend toward hybrid work showing no signs of abating, with more employees seeking access to unique spaces to meet their specific workplace needs, there’s never been a better time to make coworking part of your organization’s workplace blueprint for the future.


LiquidSpace offers the largest and most diverse marketplace for on-demand coworking space. Its peerless network makes it easy for individuals and teams to choose and book the spaces they need to do their best work.

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