The world won’t be the same after COVID-19. One thing that has changed forever is the way we view office work; during the heat of the pandemic, over 44% of people in the US switched to remote working, compared to less than 20% of remote workers during the pre-Covid times. Employees have now reevaluated their take on the office environment and learned to appreciate comfort and flexibility while working.
Today, more and more individuals and companies seek more flexible or hybrid arrangements to replace traditional office settings. Just like that, workspace rental platforms have stepped into the game. These spaces have rental options for independent workers and full offices. By 2025, coworking has been projected to reach a $13.35 billion market size, which is equal to a 12% annual growth rate.
Currently, 23.5K coworking spaces operate in the world right now, with the biggest presence in the Asia Pacific and Europe. Yet, in countries’ rankings, the United States took the number one place in 2021 with the majority of such platforms per state. Global coworking spaces are expected to almost double in size by 2024.
Such a tendency shows the transformation of the job market and the successful implementation of the hybrid work model. Overall, over 5 million people are expected to work from rental offices in 2024. The era of the space-as-a-service is only beginning.
This article will cover what a coworking workplace actually stands for, the benefits of office rental spaces, and who the biggest players on the market are. Such information will later help you build a shared space platform of the future. Let’s start!
Before jumping straight to shared space platform development, let’s learn what a workspace rental platform is, how it operates, and why it’s such a success.
So, basically, all coworking platforms work as a listing website. Such platforms connect renters with hosts. Thus, they allow people to monitor various coworking spaces and book offices. Often, renters have a variety of time options like choosing rent per hour rate, monthly, or yearly periods.
People can also rent a desk, a room, an office, or even an entire floor when possible. Overall, workspace rent conditions come with great flexibility. However, this is not the only reason such office spaces are rising in popularity today. The benefits are many.
Workspace rental platforms are much more than just a convenient location you go to complete your work tasks. Otherwise, they would be no different from traditional office spaces. Instead, the modern take on workspaces include large common areas and perks that come with it.
Let’s see some of the other benefits a coworking space has over the more traditional office setting.
Most coworking spaces will have room for people to socialize, make coffee together, play ping-pong or foosball, and more. With such new working concepts, people don’t just look for an office rental space. They look for a pleasant environment, community, new social connections, and much more. A traditional office setting can’t always deliver on all these expectations.
Shared workspaces, on the other hand, are famous for their fancy and quirky design, large food courts, rather relaxed atmosphere, and numerous other benefits. Overall, one can be as serious and laser-focused in the space they rent. Yet, once they step foot in the common area, the mood change is drastic. Let’s take a closer look.
89% of people who rent a workspace comment on feeling happier since replacing traditional office spaces and joining coworking communities. Working in a rental comes with fewer stresses and office-related pressure. One can enjoy higher flexibility at work, which starts with flexible renting opportunities to the general atmosphere inside the coworking space.
Overall, such spaces are the middle ground between working at home and going to an office. Members have the best elements of both worlds blended together in a rental space.
Next, shared offices encourage socialization. Hence, people benefit from expanding their network, gaining new business and job opportunities, and cooperation at the office. Not only does such a welcoming atmosphere work wonders for one’s mental health but helps people grow as professionals. Around 80% of coworking members say that such a lifestyle helps keep them grounded.
Efficiency & economy
Workplace leaders also benefit from using shared office spaces instead of investing in their own. Thus, they get to enjoy reduced expenses on long-term rent, office maintenance and renovations, special equipment, servicing, etc. Plus, it allows company leaders to focus solely on work tasks, leaving the rest to a coworking platform.
Additionally, most coworking spaces often host various events to cater to members’ professional and individual needs. People have opportunities to attend in-office yoga classes, meditation rooms, or even gyms, and most spaces also organize workshops, lectures, and other educational events or programs. Such investments in renters pay off. These events build a stronger bond between a platform and the tenants.
In a 2015 survey, 69% of the rentees said they mastered new skills or improved already existing skills while working in a workspace. On average, people claim to feel more motivated and successful at what they are doing.
So, building a workspace rental platform is not only about profits or convenience. It’s also about transforming the concept of an office and improving the lives of those who use it.
In order to further understand the shared space industry, we will take a deeper dive into the most popular examples of workspace sharing websites. Currently, there are six dominant workspace rental platforms on the market:
- Industrious, and
Each shared office rental space has its unique features, goals, and advantages. Before you decide to dive into creating your own workspace rental platform, let’s explore the industry leaders and their website specifics to identify the popular trends and niche concepts.
WeWork launched over a decade ago. Since the beginning, it has purchased corporate real estate space in extreme terms all over the world. Its expansion was phenomenal. Though, in 2020, the company announced it will ease up on its strategy.
WeWork is focused primarily on individual workers, rather than B2B clients. Its primary goal has always been to create a like-minded community of people. Hence, the platform maintains the same identity and philosophical approach in each region and office. These rental spaces are also strong in off-work activities and dedicated common areas for resting, socializing, health bars, etc.
The WeWork website is also representative of the company’s philosophy. It gives the impression of a clean and light design, intuitive search features, multilingual support, and convenient demonstration of rentable office spaces.
Regus is one of the biggest WeWork competitors on the market right now. In fact, currently, Regus takes up about 11% of the market share. In comparison, WeWork is only at 1.7% now. It is also the only conservative in such a market.
The platform offers only solid rental arrangements and cares for more traditional office settings and purposes. Its main focus lies on well-known brands and long-term space leases. Thus, on the website, you can choose a workspace you need, focusing on the size of the space and location.
LiquidSpace is a popular workspace-sharing website, where people can find the right ‘hosts’ for their needs. Thus, it helps connect renters with the available options, according to one’s needs and requests. Its website comes with advanced search options and users’ personal testimonials.
It’s a popular platform among independent workers and large-scale corporations practicing a hybrid working method. The space relies on agreements instead of a common lease to make renting easier.
The platform strives to achieve greater mobility and working options while caring for a healthier planet. Here, any office location can register with LiquidSpace to rent out their available space.
ShareDesk is a workspace marketplace that helps find and book available office spaces in an instant. The software mainly targets the likes of mobile workers, freelancers, travelers, etc.
The app allows users to monitor the availability of office spaces and make bookings per hour, day, or month. Its search features also allow you to filter your findings by work requirements and personal location. Thus, users can count on finding the most appropriate shared space for rent according to their requests.
Industrious is another long-timer on the market. It has been operating since 2012. During this time, it has opened over 150 locations all over the United States and abroad. Currently, it’s a popular alternative to WeWork.
The platform accommodates those who have a hybrid working schedule (people who work from home and at rental offices) plus other individual workers on flexible rental terms.
Industrious has also recently purchased a listing platform, Breather, a Montreal-based company which serves as a tool for finding office space rentals. Thus, beyond offering workspace for rent in its own locations, Industrious can also arrange available accommodations for rent at other places. Their website can show every available space for rent in detail, from what amenities to expect to how many people a place can fit.
Croissant offers a flexible platform where users can find office spaces in real-time, in the closest proximity to them, and book it. Croissant has enlarged its presence in over thirty cities in every geographical region.
Croissant is mainly aimed at travelers and freelancers who have no need for long term rentals in one location. Instead, it offers an opportunity to become a Croissant member with access to over a thousand on-demand office space locations worldwide.
Within the app, the user has to just press check-in when they start working in the rental space, and check-out when leaving. A user buys hours within the app according to the membership status. In addition, the application will inform its users about any additional perks that are available at each coworking location.
There is nothing secret in how the workspace rental platform works. It is basically an Airbnb for office space. Hence, a platform’s main features should be similar to a simple booking app.
On average, an on-demand workspace platform should have such core features as
- description of office space provider,
- payment method,
- clients’ reviews and ratings,
- communication (e.g. notification system, in-side messenger, etc.), and
- dashboard for hosts.
These features ensure a smooth workflow and user experience. They must be highly intuitive and simple to use. Yet, they must deliver the results users come to expect here. However, core features for a workspace rental platform can vary depending on the purpose and function of each site.
Thus, having such features will be an advantage:
- top bar navigation menu,
- membership plans and payment,
- multiple payment methods,
- event planner,
- book a tour,
- members onboarding, and
- help center.
Such extra features can help a sharing space platform stand out among the rest and provide better client services. The platform will also have to use the services of third parties, like Google Maps and payment systems to enhance the app experience.
Overall, an office rental space business model is just a slight modification of the traditional rental business. In a nutshell, you are creating an Airbnb for workspaces. Hence, it repeats many core features of this business model.
Each workspace-sharing platform has similar business approaches and serves the same purpose. That is to unite people under one roof and give them a comfortable space for working. Yet, there has been one company that brought the Platform as a Service business to a new high.
In its early days, WeWork created a revolution in the work approach and office settings. Now, over a decade later, even with all the WeWork alternatives out there, the platform continues to be the maverick of the workspace rental world. So it only makes sense to take a closer look at how to create a workspace marketplace similar to WeWork.
In particular, let’s see how this workspace sharing platform makes money. So, here is a more in depth look at WeWork monetization models.
- The first stage lies in purchasing real estate space and transforming it into a sharing space platform. Usually, the company focuses on office buildings that have enough potential to make on-demand workspaces for individuals and working teams.
- The second stage is breaking down those spaces into working and common areas. Thus, WeWork created a fully furnished and stocked office center.
- Third, the company offers to rent a coworking space for anyone willing to join their community.
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Overall, there are five main options when it comes to choosing a rental space with WeWork.
The most accessible and common option among all spaces like WeWork is rental desk space. This option comes with a desk space in a shared office at a single location. Such an option is available for individual users or small teams. Users of a dedicated desk option can also access other space amenities and conference rooms.
Standard private office
The company offers a standard, fully furnished and ready-to-use office suitable for up to 20 people. Such a rental comes with full access to conference rooms and premium amenities. The price for such an option will vary depending on the number of people for a working space.
Such an option also comes with two choices:
- Office suite
For a larger space (up to 100 people), tenants can get a monthly or annual subscription to an Office Suite. Here, users get the same access to meeting rooms and amenities. Plus, a company can negotiate add-ons and private bonuses.
- Full floor office
This option is exactly what it sounds like. Tenants get the entire floor to themselves with private amenities and other benefits like personification of the space (i.e decorating with brand’s colors, etc.). However, this membership plan comes only at an annual subscription.
Hot-desking is getting popular among all coworking platforms. This is a pay-as-you-go option for people who want to rent an office space without much planning or ties to a specific location.
No monthly payment required. Renters pay by the hour to get access to a meeting room or a hot desk in a shared space or conference room. Such an option helps reduce excess office space and gives more flexibility to the tenants.
WeWork all access
With the WeWork All Access, tenants can enjoy 24/7 access to any company’s location and use its commodities. Such an option helps build a loyal customer base while also providing limitless options for office spaces around the world.
WeWork also rents its space for all kinds of events with no membership required. Any customer can fill out the form and book a space in advance. These can be on-site or off-site events located indoors or outdoors.
Just like that, WeWork uses each opportunity to maximize its profits while offering a wide range of flexible options to its members and nonmembers. Most options come with fixed monthly prices. The final cost depends on the spaces’ locations.
The core idea of any coworking space is in providing high-quality off-work time in the rental space. Such an office model predominantly attracts freelancers, small startups, entrepreneurs, etc. These are the people who seek a temporary office space to meet their instant needs.
However, these people choose to rent a coworking space, not for work purposes only. They also seek convenience, mobility, affordable and easy deals, and a sense of community. Only a combination of those factors will earn your business a place among the top coworking platforms on the market.
How to get started?
The product discovery phase is the best first step you can take to lay a solid foundation for the development of your workspace rental platform. It includes a functional specification, UX/UI design, and a visual prototype that will give you a clear vision of the end product. On average, this phase takes 4-6 weeks.
The product discovery phase can help you:
- define a full scope of work and develop a roadmap for building a marketplace
- set a realistic budget for your MVP and plan your resources
- test the waters with your audience using a visual prototype
- craft a convincing investment pitch
- get to know your team
To build a platform for renting an office space, contact our specialists for a consultation. With the expertize of the Eastern Peak team, you will discover the best features of coworking platforms and build the community of office sharers of the future.