Coworking facilities - shared, collaborative workspaces - are rapidly gaining traction as a work location option. This is illustrated by several clear signals.
Web traffic and activity related to coworking continues to surge. The chart below shows the number of Google search hits for the term "coworking". Yes, you don't want to read too much into Google search data, but we've found it to be a good indicator of trend directions.
The second signal is the increase and growing diversity of mainstream media coverage of coworking. Recent articles include The Investor's Business Daily covering coworking from a real estate point of view, the Wall Street Journal covering coworking as a place for tech startups and the Washington Post talking about coworking facilities as incubators for small businesses.
Also interesting is the recent article on coworking in the New York Times Fashion & Style section, which seems to be covering business almost as much as fashion these days.
Of course the biggest signal is the growth in the number of U.S. coworking facilities and the growing diversity of types of coworking facilities.
We currently estimate there are around 380 office-based U.S. coworking facilities, up from around 260 a year ago.
We've also added the words "office-based" to our description because of the rapidly growing numbers of other kinds of coworking facilities (shared kitchens, labs, industrial spaces, Maker spaces, etc.).
Even within "office-based" coworking we're seeing growing diversity as incubators, accelerators, traditional executive suites, libraries, hotels, private companies and others offer hybrid forms of coworking.
All of this is leading us to believe coworking is at an inflection point and the next 2-3 years will see accelerating growth in the number of people coworking.