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Are You Competing With Co-Working Spaces?

Co-working intrigues all of us with the cool culture, collaborative atmosphere and seemingly mandatory colorful dress socks. But many in commercial real estate wonder if they compete with co-working spaces for tenants. Thought leaders—and a couple of co-working concept owners—shared their insight at our Workplace of the Future event last week.


Tech Wildcatters CEO Gabriella Draney Zielke says all the cross-pollinating in accelerators like Tech Wildcatters, incubators and co-working spaces benefits everyone. When businesses grow fast and smart, investors, employees, clients and stakeholders come out on top.

After all, if you're growing a successful business, you will eventually phase out of co-working, incubation or acceleration concepts. Common Desk founder and CEO Nick Clark says he's thrilled when businesses outgrow Common Desk, especially when they come back to attend events and remain part of the community.

Here are The Grove Dallas founder and COO Ken Janke, Dallas Fort Work founder Oren SalomonESD VP Jason McCargo, Gabriella, Jones Commercial Interiors president and panel moderator Andy Jones and Nick at our event.


Ken (here with Atrium's Nick Larsen and Crystal Stone) thinks about what successful businesses do for a community. When co-working and similar concepts facilitate healthy growth for a new business, those businesses in turn bring vibrancy to their cities, help grow the real estate market and build a strong sense of community.

After all, Oren says the purpose of co-working isn't the same as a typical office space. Those who co-work are not looking for a desk to make phone calls and send emails; they want innovation and collaboration. Co-working helps build that strong community that co-workers eventually use within their own business.

Co-working brings a specific type, and once those businesses move on to their own office, they bring a desire for sustainable design. Jason has seen a huge push toward LEED, WELL Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge. And those businesses that come from co-working spaces or incubators need little convincing


A growing business could use multiple working environments throughout its life span. It could accelerate at Gabriella's (here with Capital One's Kristen Przano) Tech Wildcatters, co-work at Common Desk, Dallas Fort Work or The Grove, then eventually move into its own dedicated space once it's become an established (and therefore more reliable tenant) business.

As for competition, co-working spaces don't hinder the bottom lines of owners and operators. The two can work symbiotically to foster healthier businesses