Rising popularity of coworking space gets boost from pandemic.

Sure, people had heard of coworking and thought it was a pretty cool idea. Just you know for other people, for other companies.

Then offices shut down for a pandemic and legions went home where, for many, the novelty of being home wore off quickly. Some needed to get away from the distractions at home. For others, home was perhaps too quiet.

Whatever the reason, new people started finding their way to coworking spaces. Leaders at Greenville's Endeavor coworking and meeting space were already thinking they needed to adjust their original menu of membership options to accommodate a wider array of needs. Then COVID-19 arrived and created more interest for more reasons.

Endeavor has created a new annual membership option that allows businesses to build their own, customizable plan from a menu of benefits. The change was largely informed by client needs since March of 2021.

In a sense, the coworking sector has been training for years for a pandemic that they did not anticipate. Coworking space and shared office entrepreneurs saw long ago that there was more than one way to "do office."

Shannon Wilbanks, managing partner of Endeavor and Erwin Creates, said their typical client before COVID-19 was a creative professional or entrepreneur.

"But now, given the way the business landscape is changing, we're seeing more and more types of professionals and business recognizing the value and flexibility offered by a collaborative workspace like Endeavor," said Wilbanks, who worked with cofounder Joe Erwin when the two were part of Erwin Penland. "And from a business teams standpoint, we've met businesses who needed new solutions for meeting and work spaces because of the changes COVID has had on their business. That's just led us to this invigorating opportunity to meet more people and companies who are creatively figuring their way through the pandemic, and it's been a joy to watch and even help them rise to the challenge."

Increased use of shared office space is a trend predicted before the pandemic began, and some industry experts say 18 months of a grand experiment in working at home and a rise in hybrid offices has increased interest in coworking space as an option.

According to CoworkingSpaces, an industry publication, the number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to reach almost 20,000 this year and surpass 40,000 by 2024. The Global Coworking Growth Study estimated before the pandemic that approximately 5 million people will be working...

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