Coworking software is a non-negotiable for owners and operators looking to start a thriving business. When implemented correctly, it can help you streamline and optimize your operations, improve your user experience, and save you thousands of dollars in time and management costs.
Today, there are dozens of software solutions available for operators to choose from. And as the needs of operators evolve, so does the technology that serves them.
In this article, we’ll explore new and emerging trends in the world of coworking and flexible workspace software solutions to keep an eye out for in 2022 and beyond.
Keep these trends in mind when selecting a software solution that will fit your needs now and in the future.
What’s new in coworking software?
The market for space management solutions is becoming increasingly competitive with more and more players entering the market each year.
Here are the top trends that we are starting to see more of in the market, and we believe will continue to gain popularity in time.
1. Fully integrated ecosystems
The practice of managing a coworking or flex space has moved through three distinct phases.
- Phase 1 involved managing a space using a collection of manual processes. Think of excel spreadsheets, paper and pen booking systems, and making purchases in-person.
- Phase 2 introduced a series of software tools and platforms to the operations process. Now bookings, check-ins and more could be accomplished digitally, significantly reducing the need for manual work.
- Phase 3 brings all of these software platforms together and enables them to share information through easy integrations. This is where we are now.
The modern coworking operator may use coworking software, door access control system, payment gateway, accounting software, and more.
When operating alone, they are helpful at best, and an absolute headache at worst. But when integrated with one another, they have the power to completely transform an operator’s business. A member can unlock a door with their phone, check into the space by logging onto the Wi-Fi, and pay for items or services with a single click.
When every touchpoint seamlessly integrates with the next, members experience limited friction and you become empowered to run your space autonomously.
Look for: Integration friendly platforms that allow for easy share of information.
2. Flexible & customizable solutions
Niche coworking spaces are one of the more interesting trends to emerge in the world of coworking. Now, there are coworking spaces for ecommerce professionals, creatives, women, LGBT+ community members, parents, and more.
Many of these niche spaces offer services that go beyond the typical coworking offerings. Thus, there is a strong need for flexible and customizable software solutions that fit a variety of business models.
Here is what this could mean for coworking software:
- Anything within the platform can be changed to fit the needs of a business, from colors to membership plans;
- A developer platform is offered that allows building custom tools and functionality on top of the existing platform;
- The platform is designed in a way that allows for things to be booked beyond just desks and rooms (think equipment, gyms, spas vs just desks and meeting rooms);
We’re seeing software trend towards being industry agnostic and built in a way that can fit a variety of different communities and needs. We expect this to continue as niche shared workspaces grow with the rise of flexible work.
Look for: Modular platforms that can easily adapt to the needs of your business.
3. Mobile-first tools
The world has been progressively shifting towards mobile over the last decade, with nearly 70% of all website traffic coming from mobile devices in 2020.
Consumers now expect that anything they interact with, including a coworking space, will have an easy-to-use mobile experience. Platforms can no longer be tethered to a physical space – they need to be able to move with your members.
The coworking software mobile application is a prime example of adopting a mobile-first approach. With a mobile app, members can access everything they need in a coworking space on their phone, including:
- Making a booking
- Paying an invoice
- Opening a door
- Connecting with another member
The reason why having a mobile app is so powerful is because it is a direct reflection of the direction the world is moving in. Ten years from now, paying for a coworking space on a computer will be obsolete; it will all be done on a mobile device.
Spaces that refuse to adopt a mobile-first technology platform are destined to lose out.
Look for: A coworking software complete with a white-labeled app.
4. A better user experience
Our tolerance for clunky technology has decreased dramatically.
Users are demanding more from the applications they use at work, as the applications they use in their personal life (Uber, DoorDash, TikTok) continue to go above and beyond in providing a seamless user experience.
It is no longer enough for technology to do the bare minimum. Instead, these systems need to go above and beyond in providing a wonderful experience for users. This means:
- Intuitive user interface that is easy-to-use
- Fast systems that are free of bugs
- Beautifully designed software with attention to detail
- Small elements to surprise and delight
With a strong user experience, everything has been thought of and accounted for. The design of the product enables an easy experience for users and admin alike. Technology can’t just get something done, it has to get something done well.
We expect coworking software will continue to become better designed and easier to use. We’ve already seen huge strides in developing more modern versions of clunky, older software, as user experience becomes top-of-mind for solution providers.
Look for: A seamless system, easy-to-use interface, and something that makes you smile.
5. Platforms that scale
When selecting a technology platform, you’re often focused on how it can solve the problems you’re currently facing. But what about the problems you are likely to face in the next few months? Or a few years?
While at one point, the idea of “growing out of” a software system or platform was typical, now it’s about growing with a system. Thus, you should consider selecting a platform that can scale with your business.
This could mean:
- The system is adaptable enough to grow with your needs and potentially with your physical footprint;
- If the business model changes, the platform can change with it;
- The platform has tools that support scaling organizations, like multi-location management and flexible pricing;
No longer do you need to worry about growing out of your technology platforms. Rather, you should consider how your technology partner will enable you to grow with their services today and beyond.
Look for: Adaptable software with scale-up and scale-down pricing as needed.
6. Smart, personalized systems
Over 75% of people use some form of AI weekly, whether in the form of a business tool or social media algorithm. As AI and machine learning become more accessible, people demand that their technology understand them better.
In the world of coworking technology, this may look like:
- Desk and meeting room recommendations based on previous uses;
- Sorting of bookable resources based on parameters like popularity, availability, price and more;
- Recommendations on what to do next based on actions you just took;
We’re seeing coworking technology become smarter, more personalized, and more adaptable to the needs of the user, both the admin and the end user. While coworking members appreciate platforms that understand their needs better, admin benefits from software that tells them more about their members.
We expect this trend to continue to grow as AI becomes more advanced over time.
Look for: Software with smart capabilities and personalized member recommendations.
Coworking software is rapidly evolving with the industry
The coworking industry has come a long way since its inception decades ago. Since the pandemic, the industry is bigger than ever, with it expected to continue to grow exponentially.
This means more people looking for software solutions, and more software options on the market to consider. When looking for your next platform or tool, consider these emerging trends and how they will impact your decision now and in the future.