The shared workspace concept called co-working has become a popular work-space option for many startups and independent workers. In this post, Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research and regular contributor to, looks at a new white paper, The Coworking Industry. The paper makes a convincing case that co-working is “crossing the chasm,” a term describing when a  new product or concept transitions from the stage when only early adopters (visionaries) purchase it, into a phase in which it is purchased by pragmatists (or, the early majority).

Co-working is beginning to enter the mainstream according to Drew Jones, author of  the whitepaper The Coworking Industry. The key reason: The real estate industry and corporate America are starting to adopt it.

“We are approaching a world of work where building owners and property managers will have to, like today’s co-working spaces, present granular, modular, membership-based office solutions directly to their corporate customers.”

Drew Jones

Three key reasons co-working is going mainstream

  • Radical reduction of real estate footprints (and costs) by corporations
  • Radical improvement in the quality of workspaces for the spaces that remain
  • Dramatic increases in choice and flexibility for knowledge workers

“At first, the growth of co-working was as much a social movement as it was a new way of working and using office space,” writes Jones. Today, coworking has become a business, a subset of the real estate industry, where the relevant metric is revenue per square foot.”

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Photo | Inhabitat via Flickr | Loosecubes’ Co-working Space in Brooklyn, NYC, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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