May 9, 2018
Tim McKinnon

From taxi rides to apartments to workplaces, the “sharing economy” has been a major driver of societal change. Thanks, in part, to advancements in peer-to-peer technology, the sharing economy has allowed users to share key services in their day-to-day lives in place of owning or paying a high premium for them.

“Airbnb is the largest hotel chain, and they don’t own a single hotel,” said Tavis Szeto, senior director of business development at ChargePoint, an electric car-charging firm, in an interview with Blueprint, presented by CBRE. “Uber is the largest taxi company in the world, and they don’t own a single car,” he added.

The sharing economy is expected to reach $335 billion by 2025, per the Brookings Institute. By 2016, an estimated 72 percent of American adults had already used some type of shared and on-demand service, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

SHARING IN THE WORKPLACE

The sharing economy has also made its impact on the workplace. Independent workers have been attracted by the cost efficiency and amenities that a shared workplace provides. In 2017, nearly 1.1 million people worked at the 13,800 coworking spaces around the world, according to the 2017 Global Coworking Survey by Deskmag.

Coworking operators like Grind, Convene and WeWork have drawn in millions in investments while expanding steadily across the United States and abroad.

The appeal of coworking rests in what it offers to users, like creatively designed environments that provide a variety of amenities and programming that create experience-rich environments, among other factors, per the 2016 CBRE Research report The Rise of the Shared Workplace in the Sharing Economy. Fifty-nine percent cited a social and enjoyable atmosphere, 51 percent cited the proximity of a coworking space by their home and 27 percent cited a clean workplace, per the 2017 Global Coworking Survey.

BEYOND THE INDIVIDUAL

While coworking was originally focused on individuals and small startups, large occupiers have recently begun to make shared workplaces a component of their overall real estate strategy. The CBRE 2015/2016 Americas Occupier Survey, which provides a consensus view on the strategies and priorities of 226 Americas-based corporate real estate (CRE) organizations, found that more than 40 percent of respondents are using or are considering shared workplaces as a means to inject agility into their overall real estate strategies.

At the same time, “many landlords now acknowledge that shared workplaces have the power to contribute to the ‘guest experience’ in ways that will help retain their corporate tenants for the long-term, pull people out of informal workspaces such as cafes and living rooms, and in turn differentiate and give life to their assets,” per a CBRE Research 2016 report, U.S. Shared Workplaces Part 3.

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