GigaOm's Jessica Stillman echoes this view, writing in her article The conversion to coworking 2.0 continues:
"Coworking, it seems, is growing up and moving out of its original geographic and industry-specific enclaves, penetrating the consciousness of more mainstream institutions."
Continuing this theme, here's our top 10 signs coworking is growing up:
1. The Exponential Growth of Coworking Spaces: Each year for the last 5 years the global number of traditional, office-based coworking spaces has roughly doubled. This exponential growth will likely continue again this year.
2. Coworking Membership is Growing Even Faster: In addition to the rapid growth in coworking facilities, the coworker headcount in each space has, on average, increased by about 60% over the last couple of years. This means the number of coworkers globally is growing even faster than the number of coworking facilities.
3. Existing Spaces Are Expanding: According to Deskmag's 2nd Annual Coworking Survey, 36% of all coworking spaces plan to open at least one new location in the coming year and 37% plan to expand their existing space of move to a larger space. Only 27% do not plan to expand in 2012.
4. Venture Capitalists Have Discovered Coworking: VCs are: recommending that their portfolio companies use coworking spaces; investing in coworking spaces; investing in coworking related startups like Loosecubes and Liquid Space; and starting their own coworking spaces. Also, according to Xconomy there are over 60 U.S. venture accelerators, most of which offer coworking space in addition to capital and mentoring.
5. Startups are Flocking to Coworking Spaces: Not surprising given the interest of VC's, startup companies are increasingly based at coworking facilities. Many traditional coworking facilities like NextSpace and Parisoma cater to startups, as do the growing number of venture accelerators. Traditional small businesses are also moving to coworking spaces and over 40% of all U.S. coworking members work for or own a small business or startup.
6. Large Corporations Have Discovered Coworking: Zappos, Shell, Steelcase and Accenture are but a few examples of the growing number of large corporations participating in the coworking movement. Also, a lot of corporations are creating internal coworking spaces, with Plantronic's new HQ being a great example. Another interesting data point is roughly 9% of all U.S. coworkers work for a company with more than 100 employees.
7. The Business Center Industry is Embracing Coworking: The business center industry has historically been skeptical about the merits of coworking. But over the past year, this view has changed and many business centers are now offering coworking options. Regus, the world's largest business center company, even recently claimed they invented coworking.
8. Economic Development Agencies are Discovering Coworking: While still a new trend, economic development groups at the state and local level are beginning to support coworking initiatives. Examples include Gangplank, which works with several local governments in Arizona, and Iowa City, which actively supports coworking.
9. Coworking is Spreading Beyond Offices: There are close to 200 U.S Maker/Hacker spaces, which are industrial coworking facilities. There are also hundreds of shared commercial kitchens and other industrial spaces, like bioscience labs, that are adopting coworking space models. Artists, writers and other creatives are working in shared spaces. And hotels, libraries, and other public spots are increasingly offering coworking-like spaces.
10. Successful Coworking Business Models Have Emerged: Over the last several years we've seen examples of multiple profitable and sustainable coworking business models emerge. These include, but aren't limited to: (1) increasing scale by opening multiple locations; (2) increasing scale by opening very large spaces; (3) generating additional revenue by offering enclosed offices; (4) creating multiple revenue streams through education programs, conference room rentals and events; and (5) finding space sponsors.