WeWork is a coworking giant, but smaller, local coworking spaces are catching up, according to a new survey from Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews platform.
News broke in September that WeWork, once valued as high as $47 billion, mismanaged funds. CEO Adam Neumann was ousted, and the company faced bankruptcy until SoftBank bailed it out for $1.7 billion.
WeWork is still king, though: 39% of coworking employees work in a WeWork space. But local coworking spaces are almost as popular, at 36%.
Will local coworking spaces dethrone WeWork?
Coworking owners say yes, based on coworking's overall growth — the number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to reach 26,000 in 2022, up from 18,000 in 2019 and 8,000 in 2015.
"I think the smaller, local coworking spaces will overtake WeWork," said Andrew Schuh, marketing specialist at Focus Property Group, which owns Enterprise Coworking in Denver. "You can't stop that kind of momentum [that coworking spaces have]."
Local coworking companies tend to be more involved in their community, which also may help explain their appeal.
"Being local and involved in local events and forming partnerships with local businesses has really helped us," Schuh said. "We have a local touch that WeWork doesn't have."
Employees tend to treat their coworking space as a supplement to other workspaces. Just 22% of people who work in a coworking space rely on it as their sole workspace.
Coworking employees also work in traditional offices (65%), remote locations (54%), and on-site locations such as labs or factories (37%).
Denver marketing firm SchroderHaus, for example, has three employees who work at Enterprise Coworking full-time. Seven others work remotely but have the option to come to the coworking space.
"We do love that Enterprise has enough space and flexibility to accommodate any member of our team, who come to the office for meetings or to work for the day," Founder Elexis Schroder said.
Workers and businesses are satisfied overall with coworking: Most stay in their coworking space for more than 1 year.
Three-fourth of coworking employees (75%) have been at their current coworking space for at least 1 year, including 18% for 5 years or more.
SchroderHaus has been in its coworking space since 2016 with no plans to leave.
"What I love most about being in a coworking space is the ability to provide my team with so many amenities and comforts without having to make the capital investment, which I simply could not do as a small business," Schroder said.
Clutch's 2019 Coworking Survey included 501 people who have worked in a coworking space in the past 12 months.
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