2016 was a year of changes and surprises, from unexpected political outcomes across the globe to new and exciting developments within our own shared workspace industry. For essensys, 2016 was a definitive year with milestones that have reconfirmed our past successes and paved the way for what is sure to be an exciting 2017. But we won’t get ahead of ourselves, here’s our reflection upon the shared workspace market in 2016.
The Market Continues to Expand
essensys began in the Shared Workspace industry over a decade ago via an opportunity to deliver core technology services to operators in a more direct and automated fashion. Our growth is largely due to leveraging the opportunity within a continuously growing market and to expand our platform capabilities and explore new markets.
Not only did this year mark our 10-year anniversary as a company but also our first full year in the USA. We’ve met new operators and industry leaders and strengthened existing relationships with long-time industry friends. Our experience alone has proven that there is tremendous opportunity in the US, UK and global flexible workspace market – and it is only on the rise.
A Maturing Market
For many operators, 2016 was undoubtedly the year of growth and growing up. With increased competition in the market, operators began defining their services offerings to adjust their portfolio to a specific sector and to accommodate an increased demand for a certain type of space. For example, we’ve seen traditional business centers adjust their offering to provide more flexible Coworking space.
Operators are becoming smarter about how they’re managing their space, product plans, and services offerings. We’ve seen greater maturity in space management processes and an increased demand in platforms, systems and tools that enable operators to not only run their space but to manage it intelligently.
Novel operators are doing more research before jumping into a shared workspace venture. From attending industry events such as GCUC and the GWA Conference to consulting with longtime industry vendors, they are more in tune to what is required to run a profitable business. Key metrics, business insight and reporting capabilities are a key focus of operators to ensure that they are meeting the minimum required performance numbers to sustain and grow their business.
Coworking Took Over the Globe
This year may just have been the year for Coworking to prove that it’s not just a passing trend within our growing industry. More than anything, it’s been a driving factor behind this growth. This has been evident with the increasing appearance of new operators in both urban and rural areas, new players such as Commercial Real Estate stakeholders and Investment firms, Coworking hobbyists looking to put their stake in the ground, and of course, the traditional business center operators seeking to capture market share opportunity.
Coworking spaces are in demand with the uptake of flexible and remote working by mid-sized companies, a new broader perspective by enterprises to lend a modern and collaborative environment to their staff, and of course, the on-the-rise digital native and freelancer who is now enabled to work from anywhere in the world. essensys made our USA debut in the Coworking world at GCUCALL in Los Angeles and subsequently circled the globe to participate in GCUC China. Our main takeaway: regardless of what language you speak or where you are on the globe, Coworking is on the rise.
Community Was All-The-Rave
Building and nurturing community was the hottest topic of 2016. Creative, collaborative, tech-geared, legal-focused communities… These are just a few of the member communities that operators have gone through great lengths to create within their workspaces. While the member community is often the heartbeat of an operator’s workspace, 2016 revealed a general consensus that there are other must-haves that keep a shared workspace up and running.
Positive member experiences and high customer retention have a direct impact on building and maintaining the member community. This year saw advanced and innovative ways to build and nurture community by underpinning the workspace with technology that allows operators to connect to their members, connect members to members, and deliver core services.
It’s a Wrap
As 2016 comes to a close and we reflect on the changes and trends we saw in the shared workspace industry, we are reminded that 2017 will bring a new batch of trends, voices and innovation. 2017, bring it on.