How big is the global coworking market

More than just a shared office: what is coworking?

Coworking - part of the new world of work

The world of work is changing. In the big metropolises of the world, New Work - the digital and globally networked way of working - has long been part of the work culture. The “9 to 5 mentality” with fixed working hours seems to be slowly becoming obsolete. More and more people are looking for more flexibility in their everyday life. Up to 30% of the working population in Europe and the USA are already freelancers - and the trend is rising.

And so there is also great public interest in coworking and coworking spaces, which are symbolic of the new world of work. The number of searches on Google for the term "coworking" has risen rapidly in recent years. In this article we explain, among other things, what coworking is, what advantages it has, what it costs and what developments we can expect in the future.

What is coworking?

Coworking is an English term and means “working together”. Accordingly, our definition of coworking is as follows:

Coworking is a new form of work in which the self-employed, start-ups, creative people and an increasing number of larger companies work independently and at the same time under one roof - in a coworking space. Although everyone works on individual projects, exchange and mutual help are central.

Limiting coworking to just one way of working together would be unfair. It is also characterized by shorter rental contracts (often only of one month) and an all-inclusive or full-service character for tenants, with not only fully equipped workstations, but also amenities such as coffee or water flats to provide. In more and more coworking spaces, full-time community managers are on hand to offer advice and assistance. This allows your coworkers to concentrate 100% on their core business.

These two pillars ensure that more and more people are drawn to coworking spaces. According to a forecast by gcuc, 5,100,000 people will work in coworking spaces worldwide in 2022.

What distinguishes coworking and coworking spaces?

Coworking is characterized by the shared use of office space in coworking spaces by freelancers, freelancers, digital nomads, independent creatives as well as small start-ups and large companies.

In coworking, a group of very different people come together to work together in a collaborative environment. All parties share common values ​​such as community, cooperation, sustainability and accessibility as well as openness - the basic values ​​of coworking.

You basically work independently and on a wide variety of projects and products. At the same time, however, a community is created between the different members.

Living the coworking values ​​and sharing the open workspaces creates a special atmosphere in a coworking space that promotes continuous exchange between the members.

A coworking space does not only offer open areas in which there is no privacy. Lately there has been a trend towards hybrid models in which, in addition to large, shared work areas, there are also many private offices. This makes coworking particularly interesting for larger companies that want to exchange ideas, but also need their privacy. This can go as far as companies rent exclusive areas or entire floors. At the same time, however, they still have access to the communal areas.

Coworking also includes regular events, workshops and get-togethers organized by the members. The resulting creative synergies are ultimately only possible through the proximity and the composition in the space.

Communication, collaboration and support beyond your own projects is therefore one of the core elements of coworking. The German Coworking Federation sums this up with the slogan “Achieving more together”.

What we also want to emphasize again and again is the great flexibility that comes with coworking. In many spaces you can rent large areas only temporarily or with very short notice periods. 100 jobs for 3 months? No problem! 10 private offices with just one month's notice to always stay flexible? A complete floor for a transitional period? Almost all providers have maximally flexible solutions, even for larger inquiries!

What coworking is not for us

Joint offices that are only started for reasons of capacity utilization or efficient use of the space or that have no communal areas for continuous exchange among members do not come under the term coworking for us.

These special-purpose communities are characterized in particular by their low rent. However, the central element of cooperation and community of values ​​is missing. Coworking is about more than just renting offices or workplaces as cheaply as possible.

If a few terms seem strange to you: No problem! We have put together a coworking ABC with the most common terms. We have also created a coworking FAQ with frequently asked questions so that we can answer them quickly and easily.

The evolution of coworking

Even before the terms coworking or coworking space were thought up, there were pioneers of the coworking idea.

The c-base "Hackerspace" was opened in Berlin in the mid-1990s. In 1999 flexible workplaces are offered at 42 West 24 in New York. Three years later, the screw factory, a start-up community center, opens in Vienna.

Brad Neuberg is considered the inventor of coworking. In 2005 he started the San Francisco coworking space in the “Spiral Muse”, which was actually a healing center. Initially, desks were only set up on Mondays and Tuesdays and there were only five workplaces in total. The Hat Factory was later created. The term “coworking” was born.

The first dedicated coworking spaces also opened in Europe. This included the Citizen Space in Zurich. At the end of 2008 there were around 160 spaces worldwide.

In 2009, the betahaus in Berlin opened the first coworking space in Germany. The second (beta) house followed a year later with the opening in Hamburg.

With WeWork, a provider was founded in the USA in 2010 that will influence the coworking landscape over the next few years and shape it like no other provider.

If you want to learn more about the history of coworking, you can find all the information about coworking history here. Of course, we don't just look to the past. The future of coworking is particularly important to us. That's why we regularly think about coworking trends.

Coworking & coworking spaces in Germany

The number of coworking spaces in Germany has risen sharply in recent years. We assume that there are far more than 600 locations that are spread across Germany.

Most of them are located in the metropolises, whereby the coworking trend is becoming more and more popular and even supported by politics in smaller cities and even rural regions.

Coworking spaces in Berlin

The coworking revolution in Germany began here with the St. Oberholz and Betahaus. Today Berlin is undoubtedly the Mecca of the German coworking scene. There are currently around 100 coworking spaces in the capital - and new ones are added almost every week.

Most providers have settled in the center and opened their locations predominantly in the lively districts of Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg. Among these there are also some with special specifications. There are spaces with childcare, coworking cafés and numerous fintech hubs in the capital.

In terms of price, Berlin is at the lower end of the scale compared to other major German cities. A flex desk costs an average of 220 euros per month. For a fix desk you have to pay 289 euros a month.

Coworking spaces in Hamburg

In the second largest city in Germany, coworking is now firmly anchored in the working world. There are now just over 30 coworking spaces in Hamburg.

Many shared offices have been set up in the center and in the Hafencity in particular. There are also many opportunities to join a coworking community on the creative hill. In addition, the Coworking Airport is a special offer for frequent flyers who want to work shortly before departure.

Unlike the rental prices, the prices for coworking in the Hanseatic city are in the middle range. A flex desk is available for an average of 225 euros a month, a fix desk is available for 303 euros.

Coworking spaces in Cologne

Of the major providers, only WeWork and Design Offices have dared to go to the Rhineland so far. In addition, there is a colorful scene of small coworking spaces in Cologne, which are spread across the city. There are 25 in total.

Many shared offices have settled west of the Rhine in particular. There are also two Design Offices locations there. There is also a very high-quality coworking space in Wertheim, which also includes two apartments with a view over Cologne.

The prices for coworking in Cologne are slightly higher than in Berlin and Hamburg. A flexible workplace costs an average of 243 euros. If you want a permanent job, you have to pay 301 euros a month.

Coworking spaces in Frankfurt

In Mainhattan we already list over 25 coworking spaces and regularly open new offers. Many locations in Frankfurt are naturally looking for proximity to the banks and are accordingly centrally located.

Mindspace recently opened its first office in Frankfurt am Main. And WeWork is also represented in the Main metropolis with two locations.

The price structure is interesting. In our comparison, Flex Desks are among the cheapest at all at 198 euros per month. It looks completely different with the fix desks. Such a job costs an average of 389 euros a month in Frankfurt and is therefore one of the most expensive in Germany.

Coworking spaces in Munich

Munich is a bit like the second coworking capital in Germany. All major coworking providers such as WeWork, MindSpace or Design Offices have several locations in the Bavarian capital.

Most of the spaces are located in the center of Munich - be it at the Stachus or around the Viktualienmarkt. But there are also many locations north of the S-Bahn line at Arnulfpark.

Munich is by far the most expensive coworking city in Germany. While the prices for flex desks at 243 euros per month are roughly the same as in Cologne, the prices for fix desks are well above average. An impressive 424 euros per month are due for a permanent job.

Here again all coworking prices in the big German cities for fix and flex desks in comparison:

Coworking spaces in the rest of Germany

There are also many shared offices and coworking spaces in the rest of Germany. Whether in Stuttgart, Düsseldorf or Leipzig. Coworking is becoming more and more popular in German metropolises and more and more spaces are being created in major German cities. In addition, more and more offices are also opening in cities such as Nuremberg (and Erlangen), Dortmund, Bremen or Essen and Hanover. The coworking phenomenon is by no means limited to cities with 500,000 or more inhabitants. Spaces are also springing up in Münster, Erfurt and Karlsruhe, for example. Mainz and Bonn have also developed well in recent years. Coworking is no longer a trend that we only find in metropolises. "Village offices" will continue to expand over the next few years and equip even the smallest of towns with attractive coworking opportunities.

Coworking spaces in Austria and Switzerland

Of course there are also joint offices in Austria and Switzerland. We have therefore created an overview of all coworking spaces in Vienna for you. There are over 30 shared offices in Austria's capital. The same applies to Zurich, even if the scene is a little smaller. Here you can find a summary of the coworking spaces in Zurich.

Coworking spaces worldwide

Coworking is now a worldwide phenomenon and new coworking spaces are being opened on all continents.

An outlook into the future promises further rosy times for the industry. More coworking spaces open every year, in 2015 there were 7,800 spaces worldwide, just under 18,000 in 2018 and over 30,000 by the end of 2022.

The USA is the strongest market for coworking providers. In 2007 there were only 14 locations. The breakthrough came in 2015 and the number rose rapidly. In 2017 there were 4043 coworking spaces in the USA. By 2022 there should be 6,219.

But more and more coworking spaces are also being opened in European and Asian metropolises such as London or Shanghai. WeWork also announced major investments in China in the summer of 2018.

Outside the large metropolitan areas, more and more coworking spaces are emerging, which are used in particular by digital nomads. In exotic locations such as Bali, Chiang Mai in Thailand or Johannesburg in South Africa, young, world-traveling free spirits temporarily work and live together.

International and national coworking providers

While many small, independent coworking spaces were initially established, a number of large coworking providers have also emerged over the past ten years. WeWork and Mindspace deserve particular mention here, as they have a lasting impact on the global coworking scene.


The New York company was only founded in 2010. Nevertheless, it is already one of the largest coworking providers in the world. WeWork has over 650 locations worldwide.

In Germany they are represented in Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich. An offshoot in Cologne has also been announced. The spaces are usually several thousand square meters in size and yet very comfortably furnished. WeWork is a hybrid provider that combines open space coworking with the option of renting private offices.


Mindspace is a coworking startup from Israel. The company was founded in 2014 and has shared offices in Europe and the USA. Germany is a core market. Like WeWork, Mindspace is represented in major German metropolises.

The equipment is very modern and the design inside is reminiscent of an oversized living room. Mindspace also offers many events for the community: almost every day there is a program in the coworking spaces.

There are also many other providers who offer coworking in several cities. These are, for example, rent24 and FriendsFactory, WorkRepublic, Satellite Offices or SPACES.

Some smaller German companies such as betahaus are represented in Hamburg and Berlin, for example. Betahaus is currently moving into a 3000 square meter new coworking space in the capital.

This shows that the smaller chains also believe in growth and are constantly increasing the number of their locations.

The advantages of coworking

Compared to traditional offices, coworking spaces have a lot of advantages. Depending on whether you are a freelancer, work from your home office or are interested as a company, coworking has different positive effects.

Quick start as everything is included

Basically everything you need to work is included in the cost of a job. This includes, for example, the Internet / WLAN, a workplace with a table and chair, cleaning the surfaces and operating costs.

Often drinks are also included, at least water and coffee. Printers and scanners are also available in most of the spaces.

In addition, you save time, money and nerves, as there is no need to search for office space. In theory, you can start working in a coworking space of your choice today.


Not only can you start today, you can also cancel as soon as possible. Often there is only one month's notice. In a traditional office, on the other hand, you are bound for years.

You can also grow quickly in a coworking space if you are successful. Flexible areas in a coworking space are also a good option for temporarily limited projects.

Community inspiration and innovation

A central advantage of coworking is the knowledge pool. The community is often very colorful and its knowledge is correspondingly diverse. This is particularly interesting for large companies that lack innovative strength.

Whether methodology or technology, you can draw a lot of inspiration from exchanging ideas with the other coworkers. In addition, coworking spaces allow access to a job market that might otherwise remain closed.

For freelancers, the network offers even more advantages: On the one hand, there is social connection instead of loneliness in the home office and, on the other hand, jobs are often arranged within the coworking space.

Price / cost

Coworking is also financially worthwhile for freelancers and startups in particular. Up to a certain number of employees, working in a space is cheaper than in your own office.

At some point, however, switching to the traditional office pays off - at least from a purely financial point of view. However, the advantages of flexibility and the network are then eliminated.

An important point should be mentioned, which is particularly relevant for companies: There is privacy in coworking spaces! More and more private offices are being offered there. This is of course not an advantage - but also not a disadvantage.

Hybrid providers such as WeWork, Mindspace or Design Offices combine the advantages of the community and open space with the advantages of private, lockable office space.

Closing Thoughts

A new generation of employees and employers is emerging and both groups have different demands and requirements for the workplace of the future.

Companies want to act more flexibly in order to be able to react better to changes in the market. Long rental contracts and rigid, non-adaptable office space do not seem to fit into this "new job". The fixed office space is becoming less important.

Employee 4.0, on the other hand, strives for flexibility in terms of time and would like to be able to work more location-dependent. Proof of this is the steadily increasing number of freelancers and self-employed who do not have a permanent employer.

So there is a lot to suggest that coworking is more than just a trend and can develop into an established office concept. This is proven by numerous studies and prognoses.