Not very long ago, ‘working’ was synonymous with going to a physical space, sitting in a fixed cubicle, maybe teaming up with fellow workers then heading home after a day’s work. This fixed 5-days-a-week, 9-to-5 routine would be repeated week after week, month after month.
Work culture today is different. Technology has enabled us to be more flexible with our time and location. People can sit in any part of the world and yet work together, at their time and convenience. The traditional 9-to-5 routine is not so routine anymore.
Besides, there are more entrepreneurs and start-ups, more consultants and freelancers, and definitely more fluid work systems. All of these factors put together have given rise to a spurt of co-working spaces, and India is no exception to this phenomenon.
These shared office spaces attract individuals looking for a place to work, or a group collaborating on a project, a start-up or an SME. They would rather use precious time and resources on their core offering than on investing time in finalising a suitable workplace and putting the necessary infrastructure together.
Shared spaces provide the perfect opportunity for forming symbiotic business relationships and networking. Here, it is possible to meet people from diverse backgrounds, discuss new ideas, and collaborate with free thinkers from different industries.
This same interaction shows individuals the vast world that exists beyond their sphere. This helps them understand and adjust to changing dimensions of the work world. The vibrancy and diversity that each individual brings into the co-working spaces creates an ecosystem of ideas and innovations.
Working within a set environment, with the same set of people, and following the same procedures can sometimes narrow one’s perspective . Being part of a shared environment allows individuals to collaborate, get exposure to new ideas, different ways of working without letting go of their independence.
A fair chunk of the people utilising these office spaces are freelancers who want the freedom and flexibility to operate from anywhere. Shared spaces offer them a professional work setup without the actual hassle of owning or renting it out. Meeting rooms for interacting with clients in a professional setting beats a coffee shop.
An inspiring work environment, ready infrastructure and the latest technological support are some reasons that make co-working spaces so attractive to many freelancers.
The same works for business travellers too. Not every business or company has an office where its clients are. At such times, having a professional business centre to bank on is critical. And the appeal of getting the same levels of service in different cities is undeniable.
Unrestrained internet connectivity and efficient tech support are the basic requirements for conducting a successful seminar or VC, which freelancers don’t have access to from home or coffee shops. That’s where shared spaces come in with their superior internet connections and tech-enabled VC options. Besides, of course providing the ambience to create the right first impression.
As multinational companies expand into newer markets, they can consider working out of shared office spaces. Such set-ups make more business sense as they can be customized. They also require low security deposits and minimal effort for administration and facilities management.
The entire world, literally and figuratively, is in the palm of one’s hands nowadays, thanks to smart phones and mobile apps. Co-working spaces have been smart to catch up with this trend and offer apps that enable freelancers and businesses to book shared office spaces and meeting rooms on the go and in real-time.
Given the many benefits co-working spaces offer to various sets of people, it is no surprise that the co-working ecosystem is growing exponentially with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. More and more Indian companies are aggressively expanding across the country. One of them for example is Insta Office, which now counts 13 locations in Gurgaon, New Dehli, Bengaluru and Gandhinagar. Another example is Gurgaon-based GoWork, which has only two campuses but boasts a whopping total lease capacity of 800,000 sq.ft and desks for around 12,000 people.
The landscape is now composed by over 100 companies in the country and is estimated that the overall number of spaces will more than double over the next two years, pushed both by independent owners and larger corporate projects.
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