Coworking started to make a splash in the corporate real estate industry in mid to late 2016. Last year (2017) that splash became a wave as big companies started to recognize the value and benefits of using coworking spaces. In an interview with Allwork.Space earlier this year, Steve King from Emergent Research stated that he believes corporate coworking — and niche coworking — are the future of the industry.
The benefits of coworking for large companies are vast: it reduces overhead costs, it helps with talent attraction and retention, it provides them with ample collaboration opportunities, it allows them to grow and contract as needed, and with new lease accounting standards coming into play, it offers a way to keep balance sheets on the positive side.
Coworking, in fact, “could represent salvation for such incumbent corporations as they struggle to remain competitive in an increasingly disruptive set of markets and industries.”
Operators, for their part, are quickly responding to this demand by offering the option of larger private office suites, as well as allowing members to brand their space within their coworking locations.
*We used Statista’s ranking of the 100 largest companies in the world by market value in 2018 to find the top 5 most valuable companies using coworking.
Apple moved some of its staff in Berlin into Mindspace late last year (2017). “The highly secretive iPhone maker has put a small team into a property on Friedrichstraße where Israeli coworking space provider Mindspace occupies a number of floors,” Business Insider reported.
Back in November of 2016, Microsoft signed a deal with WeWork to move 300 of its employees into two of WeWork’s locations in Manhattan. According to The Star, “The group represents 70 per cent of Microsoft’s marketing and sales teams in New York. The software giant is also moving its 37-person Atlanta-based advertising team into a coworking building. The 41-year-old company is hoping to ‘feed off the energy at every WeWork location you feel when you walk in.’”
This year, social media giant Facebook signed a deal with WeWork, which represented WeWork’s largest deal to date (April, 2018). Bizjournals reported that, “WeWork signed the largest lease of the year in Silicon Valley for 456,760 square feet at The Village at San Antonio in Mountain View. (…) The two office buildings, which are still under construction, were initially slated to be home to LinkedIn.”
In 2017, Amazon’s biggest competitor, Alibaba, moved staff from its admin, HR, and operations department to work from a CoWrks, a coworking space in Bengaluru. According to the Economic Times India, the e-commerce platform signed the deal “as it seeks to set up presence in the startup capital of India.” (Suggested reading: In An Industry First, Jll And Wework Team Up To Explore India’s Massive Coworking Potential and India: The Hottest Coworking Growth Market In The World?)
Although Samsung partnered with WeWork to create a unique innovative space that is a combination of a customer care center and a touchdown space in WeWork’s Brooklyn South Williamsburg location, in 2017 it also reportedly placed some of its staff in a Mindspace location, which is also home to Volkswagen and Barclays.
The opportunity for corporate coworking is huge. Not only are large companies using coworking spaces, they are also entering into management agreements with coworking operators in order to provide a better workplace experience. Some of these include IBM and WeWork, Industrious and EQ Offices, and Knotel and ABS Partners.