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Sweden Joins in the Coworking Boom

The interior of the WeWork office in Dalian Lu,  Shanghai. A woman is sat on a large orange sofa, working on her laptop.

writer icon Kay Lagercrantz     Nick Tortajada   |   Business     🕐 16. Aug. 2018

In Sweden, coworking spaces are opening all over the country. Later this year, American market giant WeWork will open two coworking spaces in central Stockholm. The Scandinavian market is following a global trend, one where an increasing number of people are becoming members of coworking spaces.

A market increase
The number of coworking spaces in the world has seen a steady increase over the last 5 years. In 2017, there were approximately 1.27 million people working in coworking spaces worldwide. It is predicted that this will reach 1.69 million in 2018. 

Numbers such as these may be seen by some to be comparatively small, but the fast rate at which coworking spaces are growing is noteworthy.

Innovative Sweden
Stockholm is listed as the second highest producer of tech startups, after Silicon Valley in California. With such a high number of entrepreneurs, it is understandable that the demand for coworking spaces has increased. 

Starting out, most startups do not have a fixed address. People work from their kitchen table, or their garage, even from the local library. Moving into an office induces high costs. A coworking space is a way to reduce costs, as well as mix with other businesses.

Mutual benefit

Malin Torstensson, CEO of FitnessCollection, is a member of Epicenter, a coworking space in Stockholm. She is quoted on Epicenter's website, where she says that part of the appeal of a coworking space is "the mix of people and companies, smaller and larger". She goes on to say how "it's a great inspiration for us to be a little bit better each day".

Torstensson values the variety and diversity of the members, seeing opportunities that she might not have discovered if they were in their own private office space.

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Freelancers only?
For some time, the perception has been that coworking spaces exist only for freelancers and entrepreneurs and that joining a coworking space involves some element of independence or self-employment.

As coworking spaces are on the rise, we are starting to see a shift in the trend of who chooses to work in a shared office space. While IT, PR and sales still dominate in terms of industries, an increasing number of people from different working backgrounds are starting to use coworking spaces.

Home vs office
The idea of working from home has been popular for some time. A large number of companies, including Amazon and GitHub, offer employees the chance to work remotely. The status quo for most employees in this situation would be to choose to work from home.

However, studies have shown that people are not as efficient when they have that setup. People who choose a coworking space over working from home have in the past reported an increase in both productivity and income. 

Those who opt for the coworking environment are less lonely, more engaged, and more likely to turn to other coworking members for help or guidance. As shown by surveys carried out by the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) and Emergent Research, a staggering 89% of people report that they are happier since joining a coworking space. 

Continued expansion
There is great potential for coworking spaces, with a market that is ripe for expanding. The coworking phenomenon has already exploded over the past 10 years, but it is nowhere near its limit. The number of coworking spaces around the world is set to reach 30 432 by the year 2022, which is almost double what we see today.

There may even come a time when the traditional office is in the minority, with coworking spaces being the new normal.

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