If there’s one thing to describe coworking spaces nowadays, it’s that most of them are trying to be different. Forget just an office with wifi and a few meeting rooms, today’s coworking spaces feature many amenities, classes and facilities that seem more in line with spas and restaurants.
Some may wonder: why can’t an office space just be an office space? Yet in today’s market, it makes perfect sense to think outside the box.
In a study by Coworking Resources, the 15-year-old industry is projected to see 21,306 coworking spaces globally by the end of 2019—boasting an approximate 43-percent increase between 2018 and 2022.
Naturally, with more supply, there’s greater competition. This explains why more than 900 spaces shut down in the past three years—signaling that attracting and retaining new users is more important than ever, according to Madison Maidment, COO of Coworker.
Coworking spaces have to go above and beyond to stay competitive and thrive—developing niches spaces for certain businesses (legal, fashion and beauty, blockchain, film production), offering unique experiences such as coliving or childcare, plus getting creative by opening spaces in underutilized real estate like hotel business centers or within stores.
So what are some ingredients for success in 2019?
Beyond convenience (think a turnkey solution or multiple locations within a city), secure wifi, free coffee and meeting rooms; coworking spaces must deck out unusual features, amenities, architecture and experiences to distinguish themselves. The objective isn’t just to “attract new members but also enable them to curate strong communities.”
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If you’re a creative type looking for an alternative workspace, the Village Underground is the place to go. As a unique landmark in Lisbon, the structure—made from shipping containers and double-decker buses recycled into office spaces, a recording studio plus a restaurant and a conference room—is a hub for creativity and culture. Initially created in London and launched in Portugal in 2014, the VU has seen a wide range of events—from music festivals and underground electronic music parties to skateboarding, street art and corporate events plus activities.
The unique coworking space doubles as a popular party venue.
The idea of working by the beach may sound like a dream, but at OneCoWork(OCW) Marina—possibly the world’s only coworking space that sits directly on the water—it’s a reality. Centrally located at only a few minutes from “Barceloneta” beach, the nautical Marina Port Vell features many things you can and can’t expect from a coworking space: amazing city and sea views, gym and small private event spaces, regular business and tech events from world-renowned industry leaders and academics are hosted here and at their neighboring coworking spaces. With the belief that coworking spaces will become “hubs for education, innovation and knowledge sharing,” OCW plans to open 40 locations (primarily in Europe) in the next four years.
COURTESY OF ONECOWORK
Let’s have more meetings (if this is the meeting space).
Let’s face it: sometimes you need a little break in between to get work done. At Naplab— Bangkok’s premier quiet coworking space that doubles as a co-napping spot—owner and co-founder Atit Samerkai recognizes downtime for being just as important as work. Beyond the usual business amenities—wifi, private offices, meeting rooms catering up to 120 people and individual workspace—there’s a two-floor level indoor escape leading you to the napping zone, where you can find 15 nap caves (first-come-first-served) available for as long as you want. Other relaxing features include a coffee bar, ping pong table, boxing bag, and 24-hour housekeeping service. Open 24/7, this space is excellent for hackathons and other events.
All memberships at Naplab include unlimited napping and open workspace. Since the end of 2018, the popular coworking space opened a second location in Bangkok.
Unlike many coworking spaces, Brooklyn Boulders is more about gathering a community of climbing enthusiasts than targeting specific industry professionals. The idea clearly works, as the company—which started in Gowanus (Brooklyn of course)—has expanded to five locations in ten years. The largest outpost is at Somerville, MA—a 42,000 square-foot facility decked out with plenty of walls for Bouldering, Auto-Belay, Top-Roping, and Lead Climbing; all the fitness and cardio machines you’d expect in a luxury gym; climbing and group exercise classes; retail, pop-up and event spaces; saunas, plus free wifi and workspace. By popular demand, the company opened an Adventure Training Center called BKBX in Boston on March 1—dedicated to adventure fitness and recovery. A second location will open later this year in Williamsburg (Brooklyn), which will include 3,000 square feet of coworking space and team-building opportunities.