Is experiential coworking the next big thing?

by Ansel Liu

In these competitive times, it’s fair to say that the majority of modern coworking spaces pride themselves on being more than just an office where you can rent a desk and a wifi connection. But beyond this, there are a number of spaces that are really raising the bar in terms of what they provide to members. In London for example, we’re seeing a real trend toward “experiential coworking” where spaces are offering more lifestyle-focused concepts inspired by the way we live now and the increasingly blurred lines between work, socialising, travel, learning and fitness.

It’s a lifestyle thing

One such space is Farmopolis, which offers coworking facilities in London’s first floating garden on Greenwich Peninsula by the Thames. Farmopolis offers members a diverse lifestyle experience, including a cafe, bar and cinema plus a year-round program of events, which provide everything from experiential supper clubs and dating nights to literary talks, screenings and creative workshops. The idea behind the venture is to pioneer “a new model for public green space” bringing together work, play, skills, farming, food and culture.

Coworking while you travel

Another exciting development we’re seeing as an emerging trend is the notion of coworking while you travel. A front-runner in this space is Coboat, a company that organizes coworking trips on board a fully equipped (and of course wifi-ready) catamaran, which regularly sails around the Mediterranean to destinations including Greece, Sicily, Spain, Morocco and the Canaries.

Loving co-living

Further blurring the lines between work, play and down-time is the new trend for co-living, which is taking off in London, New York and Berlin. The concept of co-living is to provide beautifully kitted-out spaces that combine bijou apartments with coworking facilities, communal kitchens and living areas. This style of living is perfect for career-driven people who travel and don’t want to be tied down by an expensive mortgage or long-term contract. One company that’s leading the way is The Collective, which describes itself as “not your average property company” and sees co-living as the future of life and work.

The way forward

With all these developments, it’s clear that not only the traditional office but the entire way in which we work is going through a period of change. The old nine-to-five style approach of keeping work and life completely separate is developing into something quite different, representing a cultural shift, which the coworking spaces of today embody. Shared spaces make it possible for you to easily catch a yoga class on your lunchbreak or attend an event after work to meet new people and learn new things. More broadly than this however, is the collective mindset of community, flexibility and new horizons that coworking encourages and how this will impact the way companies and people grow and change over the next few years.

Coworking for everyone

Watching these exciting developments inspired my team and I to develop Nomad, a website and app to make it easy for people to find and book their perfect coworking environment. In the process we found that there is a real demand for this service, as there are already over 1,000 coworking spaces in London alone, all with various offerings to suit different tastes and requirements.

As market competition increases, however, we’re likely to see even more innovations in the coworking sector in the future, but whatever form this takes, you can guarantee one thing – it’s going to be interesting.

Image credit: Composite image courtesy of photos from Skitterphoto and Negative Space.