What if your work environment was a lot more flexible and you could have a far more fluid work system? Work culture in India and across the world has certainly transformed over the years. With technology at the tip of our hands, we are able to perform our jobs at any time and any place. The entire concept of the ‘fixed cubicle’-working 5 days a week on a 9 to 5 routine schedule has completely changed.
Coworking is a style of work where it involves sharing a common workplace with others, often an office and independent activity. Quite contrary from the normal office these coworking venues have people from different organisations working there. In fact you could say, it is a common hub of a social gathering where a group of people who work independently, share certain values working in the same space alongside each other.
This is most commonly seen amongst freelancers who work from home, by allowing them to escape the distractions of home. It is also quite popular amongst independent scientists, independent contractors, work at home professionals, small to medium enterprises (SMEs). One of the greatest benefits is that they are free to use, lower rental prices (which really saves a lot on operational costs), although some places may have certain membership dues!
One may even get a bit confused, as it is partly a restaurant or café and partly a coworking place. It looks like a place where you may even catch up with your friends for a lunch but on every table you can see people busting with activity – all in their own world!!
When did this whole concept start?
In 2005, Brad Neuberg is credited with starting the entire ‘coworking’ concept’ in San Francisco, California. The idea was started to combine the independence of freelancing with the structure and community of an office space. One of the major reasons driving the demand for coworking is the growing number of independent workers!
The coworking movement reached India almost five years ago and since then, it has only grown. Its cost-effective vibe has attracted numerous people and there’s so much more that attracts them. One of the oldest coworking spaces in India -91 springboard began in 2012 and focused as a startup entity to fund as well as connect to emerging businesses with mentors and investors.
By and by, over the years it has evolved to become a far more heterogeneous working space. 91 springboard houses up to 4,000 companies at its centers, including Livespace, The Laundry Basket and large companies such as Bedouin Systems, Glocal HR Solutions and Lucideus Technologies.
International Workplace Group is the global leader for flexible workplaces and operates two brands in India -Regus and Spaces.According to a Cushman & Wakefield survey Bengaluru has the highest number of coworking spaces, occupying 32% of the market share.
Besides this, the growing opportunities have also led to the mushrooming of coworking space providers in Mumbai. Some of the key players are Wework, International Workplace Groupthat operates with Regus, CoWrks and Spaces and Awfis.
In India, there is a very delicate line between the typical startup coworking spaces and old school business type centers which have more of the traditional office vibe to it -closed cabin and somber spaces. At the same time, as the work force is below the age of 35 and they do want far more flexible working spaces.
It is one of the fastest growing segments in the world and we can see many players and startups joining the segment. Coworking really helps companies to save on their operational costs, housekeeping, broadband connectivity, fitments and IT infrastructure.
When coworking is just beginning to grow in India, one girl has already embraced the change of professional landscape to work. At a delicate age of 20 she has become the CEO and founder of Kontor Space, a co-working space that provides an ecosystem, which nurtures growth and provides incubation for startups.
Karan Virwani, the CWeO of WeWork India, defines coworking as, “having shared workspaces for a group of individuals working independently. Unlike a traditional workplace, individuals working here are not employed by the same organisation.”
At WeWork, we have amenities like free lunch, foosball tables, on-site massages, and we encourage inputs that are deeper, more profound, and also more systemic and integrated.
Its an easy place to build an offline and online community where you can interact with people. Here people get to know their colleagues, the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed and at times their businesses may even complement one another. It’s a great way to bounce around ideas and brainstorm together.
Coworking hotspots have become ideal places to work as they offer unparalleled accessibility and a very strong lifestyle-led workspace, which is ideal for a creative way to work for young entrepreneurs and established businessmen.