Coworking may be the latest rage in commercial real estate, especially now that COVID-19 has shaken up the office sector – but it is also about a lot more than that. Even before the pandemic, it was becoming clear that shared resources are the new normal in today’s economic environment which has made cab-hailing services like Uber and Ola so popular.
The smart philosophy today, especially for smaller firms and entrepreneurs, is that you don’t really have to own your office space as long as you can get your work done.
While digital nomadism and work-from-home options are becoming popular for those who can opt for such a way of life and work, a lot of work still requires teams and dependable technology-backed resources.
Renting office space is not as expensive as buying it, but the overheads of fitting it out and running it still fall on the company that uses the space. Moreover, smaller firms such as start-ups can often not afford to rent office space in the more central or well-connected areas.
As a result, coworking has become the ideal choice on many fronts. However, opting for coworking office spaces is not just about saving money or convenience – it also heralds the advent of a more democratic, level playing field that primarily focuses on providing quality services in an unhindered and highly supportive environment.
Large corporates will continue to choose ‘fixed’ office spaces for the sake of better branding, the freedom to adapt their workplaces to their specific requirements, and the ability to scale up. However, coworking is also here to stay because it is a clear sign of the future.
It is all about getting work done even with limited resources, almost zero time investment in launch logistics, in a highly cooperative work environment.
Coworking office spaces are the ideal setting for digitally savvy millennials who do not necessarily believe in owning what they use. A massive share of millennials is quite vocal about their belief that shared resources are a better way of doing things. It is because of this mindset that many of them will never buy a home or even own a car.
It is the beginning of a new world order based on the time-tested maxims of maximum utilization of existing resources and reduced wastage.
It comes as no surprise that coworking spaces today tend to be congregation venues for some of the smartest people and result-driven start-ups in India. Today, ‘plug-and-play’ coworking spaces can be found in some of the best work locations of our cities, and in fact, many developers are reinventing their traditional office spaces to align with the huge demand for coworking.
Traditional office spaces remain the bulwark of Corporate India. Having a self-owned office real estate in a high-value location still reflects well on the company balance sheet, a fact which keeps works well on several other fronts than just from a workplace perspective. At the end of the day, an asset is still an asset.
However, it is also evident that coworking is now being partially adopted even by established corporates that need to have small teams in specific cities and locations where they do not necessarily want to ‘open up shop’ but rather service-specific clients.
In short, coworking is not just a trend but a sign of the times to come. Such spaces will proliferate in India over the coming decade, and we will see a whole new mentality about work emerge. Sharing has always been about caring, and coworking is about caring not just about work but also how it is done.
By: Akash Pharande, Managing Director – Pharande Spaces