Who wouldn't agree that the glorious Internet has transformed civilization in a number of marvelous ways, including spurring the rise of the gig economy, in which folks work for themselves as freelancers and business owners?
Just to highlight a few, Airbnb created a new class of hospitality accommodations by letting folks rent out extra residential space. Uber broke open the taxi industry by giving everyone the chance to utilize their own cars at a whole new level. In fact, you don't even need to own a car to drive for Uber.
Sites like UpWork and Freelancer provide gigs to thousands of workers every day, too. In case this comes in handy for you, here are 7 best portals you can use for finding freelance jobs.
Another gig frontier, the market for co-working, is enjoying huge growth that threatens the industry leader WeWork Cos., which controls about half the market. Co-working simply boils down to the business of sharing office space among "members" who sign up to lease co-working spaces.
Co-working is a great way for freelancers and the self-employed to share facilities, equipment, knowledge and ideas. It appeals to people who don't want to remain in a home office all the time, either because of the need for facilities or to avoid isolation. It's also a good solution for people who travel regularly and need temporary office space in a number of cities.
According to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a real estate advisory, shared workspaces in Manhattan have experienced a whopping 767 percent growth in square footage since 2009. This represents 1.2 percent of total inventory. New York City has 180 co-working locations, up 86 percent since 2009. The Wall Street Journal reports that Steve King, a co-working researcher, put the national number of shared offices at about 3,000 in 2015, up from merely 250 in 2010.
Co-working is tied to the gig economy in two fundamental ways. The first is that its customers predominantly participate in the gig economy. The second is that it's easy for someone to lease some office space and turn it into a co-working company, reminiscent of Airbnb lodging space. Taken together, it's hardly surprising that this is giving rise to a new set of entrepreneurs who service the growing demand for such shared offices.
These entrepreneurs are creating competition for WeWork, which leases all of the office space it offers to co-workers.
For those who aren't aware, WeWork offers several types of services. Members share access to a digital app used by 50,000 other members and receive credits for booking spaces in selected locations. Members can bring their own laptops and access any available desk, or for a higher fee, can claim a dedicated desk and set up their computer equipment there. WeWork also offers fully furnished private offices for those who need to accommodate a team of co-workers.
Anyhow, the barriers to competition in the co-working industry are considerably low. For instance, entrepreneur landlord Shlomo Silber transformed some New York residential rental property in 2012 into co-working spaces. Now, Silber owns Coworkrs, a company that provides 170,000 square feet of co-working space across five locations.
Interestingly, large real estate investment firms have yet to dive into the co-working marketplace, and most of the competitors are small-time operations. Even so, we'll never know when the big guns will eventually dominate the co-working market, right?