A new era of coworking: What are the benefits for businesses?


Coworking is rapidly shifting from a trend to a “revolution”, growing from 75 spaces globally in 2007 to 7800 spaces in 2015, according to a JLL paper called A new era of coworking. As companies in Australia and around the world adopt coworking practices, there a number of benefits that this rising workplace strategy presents for businesses.

A new era of coworking identifies these benefits as well as the four core models of coworking that are emerging. It says that flexible or ‘liquid’ space solutions are becoming important aspects of wider Corporate Real Estate (CRE) and portfolio strategy, and that the number of people using coworking spaces globally is predicted to reach one million by 2018. The paper says the demand has been driven by the growth of creative and technology industries in addition to the changing nature of work.

Benefits of coworking

A tailored coworking solution can reap benefits for businesses ranging from increased innovation, resulting from working with entrepreneurs, start-ups and emerging technology platforms; to meeting the demand for business agility by providing flexible occupancy terms and fluid space, without the need to implement organisation-wide change. Coworking can also help companies attract talent among employees who seek mobility and flexibility.


Cost reduction is another key benefit of coworking, with the paper noting it could promote a more efficient utilisation of space and help companies reduce costs without compromising on the quality of their workspaces. Coworking hubs can even act as a revenue generation opportunity.


JLL Director of Workplace Strategy, Dinesh Acharya, said, “An increasing number of companies across the world are realising the value that a coworking environment can provide with respect to flexibility, collaboration and inspiration. Companies can realise additional benefits by paying for space ‘just in time’ to increase flexibility and reduce CRE costs, and by expanding social networks and reinforcing community to drive increased staff engagement. Coworking is becoming increasingly accepted and sought-after by a diverse pool of businesses and is no longer a practice deemed exclusive or only applicable for start-ups.”


However, the paper cautions the risks that coworking may expose an organisation to, such as cyber security, privacy and possible issues associated with organisational culture, if it is implemented without careful consideration, or if staff don’t buy into the reasons why coworking is being implemented.

Mr Acharya added, “It is important for organisations to assess the suitability of a coworking environment for their business model and monitor the risks this type of environment could pose, as part of a strategic corporate real estate and portfolio strategy.However, with an estimate of one million people to be coworking globally by 2018, this is a testament to how far the practice has evolved since its beginnings. We expect its prominence and success in the Australian market to continue growing in the near and medium-term future.” 

The four core models of coworking

The paper notes that four core models of coworking are emerging which can be applied by organisations seeking to take advantage of the benefits of coworking. These are internal collaboration (internal coworking space for employees only), coworking memberships (external coworking memberships for employees), external coworking space (collaboration space for employees shared with external organisations/individuals in an external coworking environment) and internal coworking space (internal coworking space open to external organisations/individuals).

JLL Co-Working Image


Read the full report Coworking_Report_Aug


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