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Cushman: majority of CRE executives remain positive on coworking but digital security and privacy cited as top concern

Nearly two-thirds of respondents’ organizations (63%) are currently utilising coworking in some capacity across their portfolios. General perceptions of the sector are overwhelmingly positive with 57% having a “positive” or “very positive” perception, a third of respondent companies having “neutral” feelings about the sector and one-tenth of respondents citing a “negative” or “very negative” perception, according to the survey.

Cushman’s survey findings include:

  • Organisations currently utilising coworking are generally more positive in their perspective (66%), with only 6% having a negative perception. These trends are consistent across regions.
  • The primary perceived benefit of coworking is the flexibility it offers corporations with fluctuations in their portfolios. Approximately 70% of respondents in all three regions cite this as the main benefit.
  • Cost reduction is the second most commonly selected benefit and is most likely to be cited by respondents in the Americas.
  • Organisations with positive views of the coworking sector are considerably more likely to see positive impacts for their employees—attraction and retention, efficiency, and employee engagement.
  • There is a linear relationship between overall perceptions of coworking and the degree to which these downsides are cited as concerns. However, nearly half (48%) of respondents with a positive view of coworking still are concerned about the decrease in company culture and cohesion.
  • Two potential downsides cited by at least 40% of respondents relate to security and privacy: increased digital security concerns and decreased personal privacy. Digital security is a bigger perceived issue in EMEA, as is decreased company culture and cohesion.

Melanie Gladwell, Vice President, Americas Head of Flexible Working Solutions at Cushman & Wakefield, says:

“These concerns may be unfounded given that many global providers offer privacy protection via dedicated VPNs, server rack space and even FINRA compliance. All of these concerns need to be taken into account when occupiers consider flexible workplace solutions. In cases where the occupier controls the entire space, it is considerably easier to control for security and privacy while customizing the space to emphasise company culture.”

james.wallace@realassetmedia.com