back to work

RTW vs remote: where coworking spaces fit


Coworking and flex office space owners: this report details how hybrid and flex models are the future of work.

But you already knew that.

You need to be able to tell the story to the people who don't quite get it yet. To the pundits, thought leaders, experts, and executives who think it's one or the other: either everyone returns to work or they stay remote.

As player in this growing industry, you are positioned to provide immense value to both companies and employees seeking flexibility and collaboration. S we assembled the latest statistics to help you understand the full landscape and leverage these insights to promote the benefits of coworking and "third spaces" to clients.

What did employees gain from remote work?

Nearly two years into a global pandemic and much of the global workforce has learned a great deal about where, when, and how we work. We learned that many appreciate the flexibility of remote work, but also realized the downsides of being fully remote. This is where coworking spaces come in – offering a hybrid solution that gives employees flexibility while still providing community and collaboration.

Flexibility – 83% of employees say flexibility in when and where they work is important (Future Forum Pulse study, Jan 2022) 

No commute – The average commute time in the US is 54.8 minutes roundtrip each day (US Census Bureau)

More accommodations – 7 in 10 employees think their company has become more inclusive of flexible work needs (Future Forum Pulse study, Jan 2022)

What were the drawbacks of remote work?

A lack of separation – 61% of employees struggle to unplug after work at home (Harvard Business Review, 2021) 

Worse collaboration - 88% of leaders feel there are drawbacks to remote work when it comes to collaboration (Future Forum Pulse study, Jan 2022)

Spotty broadband – 42 million Americans lack broadband internet access (White House, 2021)

So how do coworking spaces embrace the wins and fix the losses?

Convenience – There are over 25,000 coworking spaces globally, making flex work achievable (Coworking Resources, 2022)

Community – 61% of coworking space members say they interact more with others while at a coworking space versus working from home (Coworker Member Survey, 2021) 

Reliable tech – Coworking spaces invest in enterprise-grade wifi and videoconference tech

Separation – Coworking spaces provide a "third space" that separates work and home environments 

Collaboration - 64% of coworking space members say coworking spaces improve their collaboration (Coworker Member Survey, 2021)

How does a third space solve the problem for companies and employees?

There are many ways companies can leverage coworking spaces:

  • Employers can provide access to a network of spaces, like Levitate does through Raleigh Founded
  • Companies can create their own internal hot desk model, like BBVA
  • Coworking hubs can connect satellite locations back to a main office 
  • Coworking serves communities by supporting local businesses

One excellent case study for coworking spaces as supplemental space sfor teams, is HubSpot.

In a review of their own hybrid work strategy, Katie Burke, HubSpot's Chief People Officer, shared an inside look at some of their hybrid data to answer the question many companies are asking right now: is hybrid work working?

The short answer is "yes." But the company's own data shows that clusters of employees are located around the country.

"Our data shows our data shows that 56% of us these HubSpotters are located more than 100 miles away from the HubSpot office. But that's not all these clusters of HubSpot are show," Burke said in a YouTube video.

"You'll also see concentrated areas where there's a crew of HubSpotters that tend to gravitate. So you'll see that in Seattle and Denver and Chicago and Atlanta and DC, we have pockets of HubSpotters there who get together regularly as part of our Connect 4 strategy. You see before the pandemic, oftentimes if people were to get together and exactly where to go out to visit employees, it was to visit an office and there was a traditional playbook for that. But at HubSpot, one of the things that we realized is that giving people the opportunity to connect doesn't have to happen in our hallways, in fact, sometimes it's best if it doesn't."

Help companies blend in-person and remote

Research by Boston Consulting Group found that a hybrid approach focused on team agreements and quarterly in-person events results in 95% employee satisfaction and 99% compliance. This is higher than fully remote or fully in-office models. Even largely remote companies like Automattic bring people together periodically to foster belonging. 

The pandemic showed that neither fully remote or fully in-office is ideal.  67% of companies are already using flex spaces in their real estate planning (JLL Research, 2021). 

For the U.S. General Services Administration, federal coworking spaces provided a timely solution when the National Park Service was between office leases. Using a coworking space avoided costly lease extensions, reduced their real estate footprint, and shifted from leased to owned space, resulting in major cost savings.

Coworking spaces are now vital in supporting the diverse needs of the workforce. In fact, women’s workforce participation has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, showing remote and flexible models have not impaired careers, but often benefit them. 

Help shape the conversation around RTW and remote

The data shows that hybrid and flex models are the ideal solution that provides needed flexibility while maintaining critical in-person collaboration. As a coworking and flex office space provider, you now have immense opportunities to grow your business and provide immense value to companies, employees, and communities. Lean into showcasing the benefits outlined here, and position your spaces as the future of work.

Similar posts

Ready to see how it works?