By Maureen Werther
According to the 2018 Global Co-working Survey, a total of 1.7 million people will work in more than 19,000 co-working spaces by the end of 2018. Twenty-nine percent of those 19,000 spaces opened in the last year alone. Those statistics can only be good news for the growing number of local office spaces available to entrepreneurs and corporations who want to utilize shared spaces for their staff.
The other trend being seen by analysts is a shift to more expanded work areas, with the average co-working space expanding their areas by about 70 percent. In addition, operators of existing co-work spaces are opening new locations to accommodate their growing clientele base and cement loyalty with their members.
According to Global Co-working Survey, “The expansion plans are based on overall optimistic estimations that haven’t changed compared to the previous year. Four out of five co-working spaces expect member numbers to grow, and almost as many expect higher profits. Overall, more operators of co-working spaces are optimistic about the future.”
Other trends being tracked in the burgeoning industry are a focus on “niche” spaces that will attract like-minded entrepreneurs and give them more opportunities to expand their enterprises through a collaborative working environment. As the co-work space industry expands to accommodate more mainstream workers and corporations, the “loyalty factor” is also on the increase.
These trends are being played out locally. In Saratoga Springs, Saratoga CoWorks opened its first location at 153 Regent St. in 2014. Four years later, they have opened a second location at 462 Broadway, with plans in the making to open a third location in the mixed-use building being constructed in what is being called SoBro, on South Broadway at the site of the former Saratoga Diner.
For Dorothy Rogers-Bullis and Dan Bullis, owners of drb Business Interiors and Saratoga CoWorks, opening a co-working space was a logical outgrowth of their flourishing commercial furniture business.
The space at 153 Regent St. offers a combination of semi-private office spaces, a large conference room and an open meeting area where members can meet with clients or host business and networking events, as well as a kitchen space with microwave and refrigerator.
The newest location at 462 Broadway, on the second floor above BurgerFi, has seven larger private office spaces, all with doors, a kitchen space, conference room, a co-working area and phone booths. All locations are fully equipped with high speed internet, fax and phone connections, and other technological amenities.
“Co-working spaces are a great opportunity for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs to increase their visibility and connect with other professionals,” Rogers-Bullis said.
She said the goal has always been to provide a grade A professional space that is also affordable for independent entrepreneurs.
As more people move to Saratoga Springs and work independently out of their homes, the need for more shared space will continue to grow.
She said that plans are underway to break ground at the SoBro location sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018.