Co-working spaces will continue to see remarkable growth in the near future
By Manas Mehrotra, Chairman, 315Work Avenue, a leading co-working space provider
The demand for co-working and serviced office space has seen a new scale of growth and is bound to witness a significant spike over the next few years. Recent developments augur well for the co-working sector in the New Year which has already gained widespread acceptance and success. The nature of work has undergone a sea change with co-working becoming the preferred mode over conventional office space for the new workforce. The younger working generation is moving towards reinventing their careers with every tick on the clock and coworking acts as a button to revamp their career path. It provides the space to engage and interact with other community members and brings wider scope for career growth and development.
A major goal of coworking spaces these days is higher productivity which is harnessed in different ways. The work culture has gone through a massive transformation in the recent past and so are the preferences of the millennial workforce. Today’s workforce is vibrant and flexible and coworking has given them the exact dose of their desire for workspaces that are ergonomic, beautifully designed, and far more inspiring than the archaic office structures. It is the cool factor that has made coworking space trendy at present in the workspace industry. Not just start-ups, several top-notch corporates are switching over to shared workspaces over traditional office layouts to bring the very best out of their employees.
Today, India is the second-largest market for flexible workspace in the Asia-Pacific region after China with over 1,000 co-working spaces. As per a recent report, Bengaluru continues to be the market leader with gross office space absorption of about 15 mn sq ft in 2019, an increase of 6 per cent from 2018. Interestingly, the flexible workspace players have ramped-up operations in Bangalore with almost a four-fold increase in leasing activity during 2019 compared to previous year. Overall, co-working companies leased 13 per cent or 8 mn sq ft in 2019 from 5 percent and 2.2 mn sq ft two years ago. With the millennial workforce evolving, over 13 million people are expected to work out of coworking centres by 2020 in India.
The new work culture has made corporates seek other ways of pulling in the appropriate talent, of which, coworking is one of the primary modes of doing so. This industry offers a heap of services and customization options and the most lucrative benefit is the reduced costs that helps the corporates to earn more and increase their savings. Also, with increasing traffic in metropolitan cities and longer commute time, co-working spaces offer easy mobility that becomes a critical factor in attracting and retaining top talent for organizations of all sizes. This makes the coworking model a gamechanger in today’s war for talent. And there is no denying that a great looking, highly functional workspace that promotes idea-sharing, better networking opportunities and increased flexibility helps in building a great work culture.
Owing to its flexible culture and adaptability to a highly differentiated professional class, the coworking space has been attracting people from varied backgrounds. Coworking has been a dominant trend in 2019 and will continue to be the most important workspace trend in 2020 due to its multiple benefits. It has successfully transformed workspace relationships by bringing in flexibility in the hierarchical systems that are a feature of traditional workspaces. It also enables an inter-sector and inter-industry interaction within the same workspace that represents a paradigm shift in the structure and nature of offices. This change is the most important one that has characterised the workspace industry in 2019 and will continue to do so in 2020. From IT to housekeeping to food and snack bar open for 24/7, co-working covers it all. From a financial perspective, the co-working is extremely cost-effective and a viable alternative to renting and leasing for any company. Co-working is soon going to be the most sought-after business in our country.
With the rise in demand, this industry has responded enthusiastically by offering a bouquet of services and features that make coworking a preferred option for not just start-ups or freelancers, but also for established corporates and MNCs. While there is still scope to meet this huge demand, basis the tremendous response we have received, we are optimistic that its potential for growth in the future is immense.
The co-working phenomenon is here to stay and grow. While the basics of affordability, design and flexibility will largely remain the same, every player will have to try to offer a little more than the others in order to stay competitive and attract more customers. Overall, co-working will emerge as the new mantra for enterprises by providing innovative and affordable solutions to the market. Agility and the ability to keep pace with the changing digital needs are what make a workspace comfortable for these digital geeks and are well-armed to deal with their technological requirements. The upcoming new year is expected to see several new trends in co-working spaces in particular and commercial realty, in general. With the adoption of technological innovation, co-working spaces are bound to undergo remarkable growth in the near future.