A rendering of The Forum offices, complete with white board walls and in-desk charging


A Brief History of Coworking

With shifting economies and changing occupations, people around the world are turning to entrepreneurial pursuits and are embracing alternative forms of employment. As a result, one of the latest buzzwords making the rounds in the small business and corporate world is “coworking”. Everyone wants to know what it means and why big companies such as WeWork and Regus are spending billions on designing, retrofitting buildings, and marketing these new kinds of flexible workspaces to freelancers, entrepreneurs, and businesses.

It began in 2005 in San Francisco when one company decided to share some of their office space with another so they could co-locate, share things like Internet and utilities, and reduce costs by combining forces. Over the following years, more companies in the area saw the benefits and emulated this model, each with their own twist. Eventually, the term “coworking” caught on as more companies adopted the approach and each location evolved into a collaborative workspace with a business community of like-minded peers. The way people worked also changed. In the beginning, it was just about offices co-locating, but eventually different options like single desks opened up for freelancers, sole traders, and entrepreneurs.


13 Years of Exponential Growth

From 2007 to date, the number of coworking spaces around the world has grown from 14 to upwards of 17,000. That figure is projected to almost double to 30,432 spaces by 2022. This staggering rate of growth is being surpassed by actual coworking space membership adoption. In 2015, there were approximately 522,600 coworking members worldwide. As of 2018, this has more than quadrupled to approximately 3.8 million, and is projected to reach 5.1 million members by 2022.

This exponential growth rate has been fueled by an increasing awareness of coworking and its benefits, as well as an increasing number of entrants to the market. Many of these big players have seen challenges around meeting demand. Take WeWork, for example, who came to London in late 2014 with their first location. They now have 39 locations in the capital – which also happens to be the world’s most expensive corporate office space market – and are showing no signs of slowing down with new locations under development.


Why Heaton Moor?

The stats above show all the signs of a healthy, developing marketplace which is continuously innovating around customer-requirements. A common theme of most coworking spaces though, is that they’re often in city centres. The placement of these spaces where most commercial activity takes place was a natural first phase of the coworking revolution, but it conflicts which some other trends which have also been on the rise. These include; increasing numbers of people working from home, increasing numbers of freelance-based workers, and a growing awareness of the environmental impact of transport. Also, heightened public transport costs as well as more unreliable schedules due to strikes have caused many to question the value of paying for such services which cost Manchester commuters between £4.50-£20 per day, and an average of 90 minutes getting to and from the city.

So why does coworking make sense for Heaton Moor? In short, because people are already showing that they want to work closer to home. Emerging data is showing many city centre commuters arranging remote-work agreements with their employers, canceling their city-based memberships, and relocating their work life to the suburbs for convenience, cost savings, and a better environmental footprint. Heaton Moor already has a lot of commuters who go to Manchester daily via the 42 and 192 bus routes, as well as via Heaton Chapel train station. It also has one of the highest densities of freelance workers in the northwest who often require flexible, on-demand workspace which is precisely what we’ll be providing.

If you’re considering moving your work life to the suburbs, or already have an office close to Heaton Moor, we would love to give you a VIP tour of The Forum when we’re closer to opening. We’ll be going above and beyond traditional office spaces in what we offer, and we’d love you to be a part of it. Leave your information below to get notified.

Data sources: Emergent Research