Back Channel's The “Work from Home” Dream Doesn’t Work provides an excellent overview of the trends and shifts driving the coworking movement. Simply put, the article explains why coworking is working.
Written by futurist and urban planning expert Greg Lindsay (who's also an expert on coworking), the article's descriptions of the key trends are:
The first trend is how the shared office and the network have replaced the solo entrepreneur in her garage as the incubators for new companies and ideas. Workers in these spaces consistently report making more connections, learning skills faster, and feeling more inspired and in control than their cubicle-dwelling counterparts inside large companies.
The second, more powerful trend is the steadily climbing number of freelance, independent, contingent, and temporary workers ...
The third trend is corporations are quietly hollowing out. A third of the average company’s workforce was contingent or contractual in 2014, according to the supply management firm Ardent Partners, which expects this percentage to rise to 45 percent this year.
According to the article, coworking "literally sits at the convergence of these trends. Rather than going to work at a “job” with your “colleagues” in an “office,” your workplace becomes the local embodiment of what the McKinsey Global Institute has dubbed “talent platforms” — the online exchanges connecting people to projects, talent, and resources."
The article also points to technology as driver of coworking:
One reason startups and soloists are leaving their garages, basements, and office spaces is the increasing strength and ease of digital workflow tools, which make it possible for one to work from anywhere — thus inspiring them to rethink where they should work.
Overall this one of the best explanations of why coworking and shared workspaces are thriving. It also covers much of the same ground as the Why Coworking video from our friends at GCUC.