What Coworkers Want

Where are people working these days? 

The answer is certainly more complicated than just ‘at the office cubicle’ or ‘inside the home office.’ 

The “structured hybrid” concept is up 20% quarter-over-quarter, with over 30% of companies now asking employees to come into the office a minimum number of days a week, according to Q1 2023 The Flex Report which analyzed the work habits of over 100 million employees. 42% of companies require their employees to be in the office full-time.

But whether they are in “structured hybrid” roles or fully remote, a growing number of employees are ditching the home office and heading to a coworking spot. 

“Commuting is fine…but commuting an hour and a half in traffic? No way,” says Peter, a manager for a Fortune 1000 company located in Alpharetta.

“I have little kids, the home office thing just doesn’t work for me,” Peter (who wished to have his name changed for anonymity in the article) told Hypepotamus. He relocated from Manhattan to Atlanta during the pandemic, and even when his company did a call to come back into the office in 2022, he just kept working out of Switchyards’ West Midtown location two days away on average. 

“We simply gave up,” said Ashley (who wished to go just by her first name in the article), when asked why her 10-person agency gave up their office space in early 2023 and decided to pay for employees’ coworking memberships instead. “Most of these places are $100 or $200 a month. It’s a big cost savings.”


Coworking In A “Structured Hybrid” World 

The days of coworking spaces being flooded with digital nomads and solopreneurs are long gone. Today, a C-Suite member of a fast-growing startup is just as likely to work from a coworking space as someone from a top marketing agency or a Fortune 500 company.

But at end of the day, employees and employers alike are looking for flexibility and personalization in when and where they work. So coworking spaces themselves are changing to keep up with the demand. 

Lauren Walker, Chief Marketing Officer at North Carolina-based Coworks, said the definition of a coworking space is much wider today than it has been in the past. 

“We all went through COVID. We all got to understand what it was like to suddenly work from home, and then redefine what it meant to go into an office. The coworking spaces that made it through COVID became a ‘third space’ for people who didn’t want to work at their kitchen table, but also didn’t want to commute an hour,” Walker said.  

To accommodate new members, there are now coworking spaces with built-in childcare options, minority-focused member communities, flexible conference rooms, and even lab space for science-focused businesses.

“​The coworking umbrella has gotten so big, and [it] includes any business that has a membership model and a flexible space…the differentiators aren’t just cool furniture, WiFi, and coffee,” she told Hypepotamus. She pointed to the fact that some coworking spaces are adding meal services or wellness perks to keep up with member demands.  

And research suggests that coworking spaces can have tangible impacts on workplace performance – something that could be a welcomed note to employers wary of a remote or hybrid model. A Harvard Business Review research study suggests that coworking spaces are filling an important void in the ‘future of work’ debate, as employees working from a coworking spot provides an escape from daily interactions with coworkers while still getting a needed dose of social interaction. 


Coworking In The Southeast 

Outside of the big corporate players like Venture X, WeWork, Regus, and Industrious, the Southeast has seen several homegrown coworking options pop up. Places like Raleigh Founded, American Underground in Durham, The Hub in Birmingham, and Alkaloid Networks in Atlanta have become important parts of each city’s entrepreneurial and business ecosystem. 

Switchyards, a neighborhood “work club” concept that started in Downtown Atlanta, has now opened nine locations across the city and is expanding into Nashville this fall. Companies like Roam have also grown across Atlanta and Dallas, while Thrive Coworking is taking over the Northern Atlanta suburbs and cities like Charleston, Greenville, Holly Springs, Asheville, and Birmingham. 


Let’s Hear From You 

Do you have a favorite coworking spot in your city? Send us a note so we can keep an updated list of startup-loving coworking spots around the Southeast.