CB1 – the new city quarter for Cambridge


23 July 2019

WeWork explained

Co-working has revolutionised the way we work in the space of a couple of years. Read more about its roots, and where the phenomenon is going next.

What is co-working space?

A co-working space is a collection of offices which, instead of housing a single company or organisation, are shared between multiple companies and freelancers. Desks or areas can be rented for very short periods, giving occupants the freedom to expand quickly and experiment. Sitting with people involved in diverse fields of work creates the potential for collaborations and hearing about new ways of working, which can spark innovation. Such is the popularity of these shared workplaces; they are increasingly seen as part of the ‘future of work’.

Why is it so popular?

Demand for co-working space is growing worldwide – with the number of people working in this type of space set to grow from 1.74 million in 2017 to 5.1 million in 2022 (Emergent Research). This is a result of various trends, particularly people wanting to work for themselves and work more flexibly, and more people launching start-ups in the bid to be the next Facebook or Google.

So why are large companies putting staff into co-working spaces too?

They have spotted that the mix of people using co-working spaces can spark creativity and innovation, and they want to bring that into their own businesses. It is also a more efficient way to use space – considering most corporate space is underutilised 60 per cent of the time. It’s little wonder then, that some 30 per cent of all office space across the board will be flexible, on-demand space by 2030 (Jones Lang LaSalle).

  • The number of co-working spaces worldwide is projected to soon pass the 20,000 mark and reach almost 26,000  by 2022, an increase of 42% since 2019.

What is WeWork?

WeWork is a company originally created to provide shared workspaces for freelancers, start-up companies and entrepreneurs. However, large enterprises are now increasingly putting teams into WeWork spaces to provide flexibility and manage their property costs. Headquartered in New York, WeWork was founded in 2010 and operates worldwide, providing a total of around 930,000 sq metres of workspace.

How is WeWork different from any other co-working space?

The great thing about WeWork is their spaces are really well designed and they are also set up to create productive communities. This is supported with a range of useful services for members, including super-fast internet, 24/7 building access and community managers – oh, and micro-roast coffee and fresh fruit!

How will this affect CB1?

A high-quality co-working space is a ‘must-have’ ingredient for any thriving Central Business District. So the arrival of WeWork at CB1 will help Cambridge maintain and enhance its competitive edge as a centre for innovation and research, attracting both established and potentially emerging world-leading companies.

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