It’s time for end of the year round ups and predictions.
Once again Sensei Liz Elam, long-time leader of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) offers her “Megatrends” . As I have said before, actually she does know what she is talking about, so I always pay attention to these prognostications.
I was happy to see her push back against the tendency, even within GCUC itself, to misdefine coworking to be nothing more than the office rental industry. “Welcome to Coworking Megatrends 2022! Notice it’s not the flexible workplace trends? (wink, wink)”, she says.
As Liz and me have been saying for years now, coworking is all about community, not desks.
“Coworking is not simply a place to work. Coworking embraces a community and believes that together we are better and will thrive in shared space.”
So what trends does Elam call out?
For one thing, “Home should be your haven, not your workspace.” (I strongly agree.)
Like everyone, she is looking at the evolution of working, as organizations try to figure out hybrid working practices, with both in person and remote working. In this unfolding situation, coworking spaces have the possibility to be a third option between “in the office” and “at home”.
As noted in this blog, Elam sees a great expansion of coworking in “Suburbs and Rural” settings. Remote working enables geographical distribution of work groups, but workers still need office space some of the time. So coworking spaces should be located where ever workers live, including outside city centers. In fact, coworking makes even more sense located near residential areas than in the middle of business districts.
So what should a good coworking space offer? What to workers need and want?
“Culture is King”, says Elam. As noted in this blog, the strength of coworking is a community with a culture. Each coworking space should serve some workers, expressing an authentic work culture that workers want to enact.
Different coworking spaces can and should have different cultures—”Choice is the New Black”. (Actually, “choice” has always been the critical ingredient.)
Is coworking the be all and end all? Definitely not. Work will be happening in offices of different design, in home offices, unofficial settings, and various coworking spaces. Elam calls this, “Boundaryless Work”.
In this article and her other writing throughout the year, Sensei Elam continues to outline her own ideas for what workers want and how to do coworking right. We may have our own ideas about that. But you probably should pay attention to what ol’ Liz has to say. Cuz she definitely has her heat screwed on right.
- Liz Elam, Coworking Megatrends 2022, in GCUC Blog, December 7, 2021. https://gcuc.co/coworking-megatrends-2022/