New survey finds that only 7% of remote workers use coworking as their primary workspace

Buffer and AngelList surveyed some 3,500 remote workers and compiled and released the “2020 State Of Remote Work”.

One noteable takeaway from the slides was the topic of primary (and secondary) workspaces. Here’s the snippet, with bold added for emphasis:

When you hear “remote work,” where do you picture people working?

If you thought “in their homes,” you’d be spot on! While it seems like remote workers default to working at home (80 percent told us that’s their primary work location), a wide variety of them mix it up and work from other locations part of the time.

Only three percent of respondents primarily work from coffee shops, but 27 percent head to coffee shops as their secondary work location. Coworking spaces are another choice, although they aren’t quite as popular — it’s the primary work location for seven percent and the second choice for 12 percent.

Whilst I know that getting humans into spaces is the critical to the sustainability of any coworking space, I wonder if there’s anything more we can do to make coworking more comfortable and/or attractive to remote workers everywhere.

Is there anything you’ve tried? How did it work? Any tips, tricks, concerns?

(Oh and I did ask Joel from Buffer for his suggestions as the founder of fully-remote business too)

I feel like I’ve now talked with hundreds of coworking space operators, and I think there’s a huge opportunity here. But, there are many spaces that have a set of goals that are misaligned with the opportunity, and it’s not a knock against them.

Spaces that are more focused on cultivating an awesome community and earning recurring revenue via memberships don’t necessarily want to (or can’t) serve the huge number of people that are either traveling or looking simply for a more flexible workspace. There are a gargantuan number of people who candidly aren’t as interested in community for community’s sake. And that’s OK.

I think this is why you see the larger, multi-location coworking companies less focused on cultivating a community. Their customers are different. That’s it.

At the end of the day, it’s a different set of (reasonable) goals. There’s nothing wrong with seeking to serve the huge distributed workforce looking for a simple alternative to working from home (or traveling, which faces a similar dilemma IMO). And of course there’s nothing wrong with being focused on cultivating a really great community.

Currently the vast majority of coworking spaces are community oriented spaces. The mismatch between the goals of these spaces and the enormous distributed workforce needing flexible spaces to work is why you see such enthusiastic investment in the world of coworking (the company that shall not be named comes to mind!)

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I work in a Co-Working space…after visiting / checking out 8, I settled on one with great amenities - the prime one being underground parking - head to a covered elevator, straight up to floor 3. …never mind the weather

Neil

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Thanks for sharing Neil. Can I ask what amenities were most important to you (other than underground parking)?

-Natural light
-people-… emptiness is awful

-really cool space

-natural materials

-Bright lighting

  • privacy/ sound isolation for focusing as well as open work areas

…underground parking was actually #1 though

A rooftop patio was as an awesome plus at 1…but rate was beyond affordable (provided by LL, not part of co work at all, but accessible)