The word co-working never existed previously till some years back or if it did, it never meant what it means today for a simple reason that the concept of shared spaces is pretty new and modern. In an environment where a decent working space together with all the requisite amenities was a faraway dream, getting something like a co-working space is like a dream come true. The inaccessibility of a proper decent enough work place was proving to be a big impediment on the way to a flourishing business enterprise. This added to the initial set of hiccups for a fledgling business that had a big potential, but could not see the light of the day due to the initial hardships that they had to face. To name a few raw premises, interior works, lease agreement, electricity and water connection, various other type of municipal approvals, internet and phone connections, office automation equipment, air conditioning, decent staff parking, meeting area, conference hall, cafeteria, sit-out etc. among many others. Would you not prefer, a place that is equipped with all of these amenities as well as located in the choicest of business districts and well connected to the rest of the world? It is just as easy as ‘plug and play’, bring your laptop and you are completely sorted to take good care of your business. It is just as easy as it sounds. Looks too good to be true? Believe me, it is that easy.
Co-working spaces, a novel idea, is the future of work places. These have redefined and revolutionised the face of work places as well as the work culture the world over. The idea was a kind of a disruption in the traditional office space market. It provides an easy and conducive work environment that appeals to the senses as well as solves all the business needs of a small and nascent business. It takes care of all that a business needs in a much more efficient way together with entertainment needs for its users. Gone are the days when cramped or cluttered office space was all that one got in the name of an office space. The millennials want an office space that is a true reflection of their own personality and identity, one that projects a statement of comfort, entertainment, ease and above all a feeling of camaraderie. A modern co-working space is buzzing with activity that keeps the tempo of all the co-workers high. They sometimes pitch in their expert and detached suggestions that spell wonders for their business. Not only this, co-working space provides a fertile ground that is desirable as well as essential for a business to grow. You can get immediate access to modern spaces by paying just ‘nothing-at-all’ in comparison to if you set up the business in a traditional manner. A seat in a co-working space might cost just a fraction of the traditional set up. So, it is a win-win situation for the entrepreneur, he saves money, hassles and gets a modern working environment. Most businesses fail because they invest heavily in unproductive assets and in fighting off ungainly tasks, leaving little else which could be deployed productively, resources, efforts and energy. I remember a friend of mine who went through the same route years back when the idea was still in its very early stage. I happened to meet him there and could not help wonder in awe, the ambience and high-octane activity it was abuzz with.
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You must consider a few of the parameters before choosing a co-working space for your business needs. A remote and a non-descript location that lacks distinctive or interesting features or characteristics, does not portend good omen for any new business. Some of these spaces, though cheap options, might not be as enviable with not-so-swanky or plush décor, badly conceived & managed, having noisy exterior etc. nevertheless serve the purpose for some who are price sensitive.
What has propelled the demand for co-working spaces? I shall say it is the business environment that is responsible for rise of co-working spaces which has undergone a drastic change in the present times. Enthused by the start up eco system and government’s push through the ‘Start-up India’ and ‘Digital India’ most of us have caught on to the band wagon to give wings to our entrepreneurial capability. This explains the growth in demand for affordable quality work places and hence the concept of co-working got a huge impetus. In the archaic past, it was akin to some sinful act to think of starting a business but today it is a desirable thing, an ‘in-thing’ as you would prefer to call it. I think much of it is to do with the technological revolution as well as the acceptance of the idea of a ‘start-up’ in the society that has resulted in growth of co-working spaces. Market for co-working spaces is still in its infancy, with a promise of a huge growth potential in years to come as the demand is predicted to grow tremendously. According to a realistic prognosis by some industry experts, the co-working market will grow by 30 to 40 % p.a. They further predict the entry of big global reality giants like WeWork, The Hive, InstaOffice, Skootr Global and One CoWork, in this segment which will see a second revolution in co-working industry. Hence the opportunities in this sector are immense. However, correct pricing will make a sound business sense otherwise co-working may not remain a viable option for fledgling businesses.