According to industry body NASSCOM, India has the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world, and about 10,500 new start-ups are expected to enter in the business by 2020.
By Akshita Gupta
With industry trends transitioning from regular nine-to-fives to start-ups and lately the rise of the digital nomads, flexibility of time and space has revolutionised the way we work. Capitalising on this, the coworking industry has emerged as one of the fastest growing trends in the work environment space. India is among the largest markets for shared workspaces in the Asia-Pacific region. According to a JLL report, the share of coworking in total office leasing spiked from 8% in 2018 to 12% in the first quarter of 2019.
Flexible spaces initially enjoyed popularity with start-ups and freelance professionals, but today even big corporates are moving to shared spaces. Coworking not just creates an enabling environment for people to channelise creativity and boost productivity, but also to network with professionals from diverse industries.
With 75% of start-up founders below 35 years of age in India, millennials are spearheading the coworking space. Millennials, it has been seen, focus on conserving natural resources. With multiple companies and entrepreneurs sharing the workspace, there is optimum utilisation of energy resources, thus leading to cost savings of up to 20-25%. With offices located in areas close to public transport hubs, many coworking companies enable an easier commute to the workplace, thereby lowering carbon emissions. Similarly, an increasing number of shared spaces are adopting green practices, such as using smart lights and solar-powered electricity. Besides revving up the workspaces with air-purifying plants, some carbon-conscious workspaces are even introducing drought-resistant plants to save water.
Nurturing creativity, productivity
In a survey by CBRE’s Research and A&T Occupier Group, 50% of the respondents reported increase in productivity and collaboration after using shared workspaces.
Further, with coworking firms providing facility management, corporates are able to maximise productivity, cut down operational costs. AI-enabled workspaces, with features like smart desks that allow workers to control lights and heating, and smart printing to create prototypes are only some of the technological flourishes that will define coworking in the future.
The future is now
According to industry body NASSCOM, India has the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world, and about 10,500 new start-ups are expected to enter in the business by 2020. In fact, CBRE projections state that the space take-up from flexible space operators will rise to 7-9 million sq-ft by 2020 from 5.4 million sq-ft in 2018. The coworking segment is clearly expected to witness an exponential growth. With the sharing economy model going strong across industries, coworking is sure looking at becoming the new normal in the work environment space.
The author is co-founder & CMO, ABL Workspaces. Views are personal