Coworking is growing by leaps and bounds, as thousands more people are expected to join the movement around the world in the coming year, according to a recent report. The 2018 Global Coworking Survey was produced by Deskmag with support from coworking management tool providers WUN Systems, Essensys and Nexudus Spaces, along with the German Coworking Federation, and 28 coworking organizations in 15 countries on five continents. The data was drawn from an online survey of close to 2,000 participants.

The estimated number of coworkers around the world has grown steadily over the past several years, crossing one million people in 2016. The study estimated that 1.27 million people around the world participated in coworking in 2017, and that number was expected to rise to 1.69 million by the end of 2018, continuing a pattern of steady growth that has been observed since 2015.

As the number of coworkers around the world has increased, the number of workspaces has grown considerably. The study's authors estimate that by the end of 2018, there will be approximately 18,900 shared workspaces around the world, compared to 8,900 in 2015 and 820 in 2011.

Here are some other key figures from the report:

  • More than half of the survey participants said they expected their coworking space to expand in the coming year, either by opening one or more extra locations (37 percent of participants), adding more desks (27 percent), or moving to a larger space (8 percent).

  • Around 76 percent are expected to remain in their current coworking space for at least a year. More than two-thirds of coworking spaces that are profitable, and just over half of those that are breaking even or unprofitable, have plans to expand.

  • The survey found that although the average number of people sharing a coworking space is 159, half of all coworking spaces have 45 participants or fewer.

  • Just over one in four coworkers is part of a space with 19 members or fewer; just under one in four is part of a space with 150 members or more.

  • Participants were generally satisfied with the number of coworking spaces available in their city, although 25 percent of coworkers living in cities of more than one million people were concerned that there were too many spaces. Conversely, 26 percent of coworkers in cities of between 100,000 and 500,000 people felt there were not enough spaces available.

The survey also addressed widespread problems in the industry. Half of coworkers surveyed said attracting new members to their spaces was a challenge — 31 percent cited rising rental prices, 31 percent cited an increased general workload, and 28 percent were worried about increased competition, a concern that was first raised in this year's survey.   

Participants in the DeskMag survey addressed what they expected to be the biggest trends in coworking in the coming year — "more (and bigger) coworking spaces" was the most frequent response. Large numbers of participants also predicted increased consolidation in the industry, more growth in niche or specialized coworking environments, more corporate employees in coworking spaces, and increased focus on sustainable community building and participation in community events.  

Header image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Ruby Irene Pratka


Ruby Irene Pratka

Ruby Irene Pratka is a freelance wordsmith based in Montreal... for now. She speaks English, French, Russian, and some Haitian Creole. Her work has taken her around her adoptive province