Meenal Sinha, Founder and CEO, meetingsandoffices.com
From being the phenomenon that will change the
face of workplaces, to an overinflated venture
capital fueled bubble, to the death knell of conventional
real estate, to sheer lunacy, the last decade has seen the
coworking industry assume all of these titles and then
some. The variety of perspective is stunning; almost
as stunning as the sheer impact this ‘new’ commercial
real estate model has wrought on how we work today
and how we plan to work in the future.
The industry isn’t exactly new, having its genesis with
men like Alf Moufarrige in 1978 and Mark Dixon in
1989. These were the men that laid the groundwork for
Adam Neumann to start his coworking revolution in
2010 – almost three decades later. But then as startup
old timers are fond of saying “overnight success takes
a couple of decades to build”.
That a lasting change has been made is undisputable.
Let’s start by accepting that this is not a phase, a fad
or a bubble. A single statistic – 13 million Indians
expected to be working out of coworking spaces
by 2020 – says that with authority. The second and
deeper consequence is that coworking spaces have
changed the average office goer’s expectations from
a workspace dramatically and forever. That’s perhaps
why Coworking spaces grew by more than 300% in
India’s top three cities in 2018 over 2017. The next 30
cities are now rushing to catch up.
My own company meetingsandoffices.com – an online
platform that helps you find, compare, book and pay
for flexi solutions for your short term meetings &
training requirements as well as long term workspace
requirements -offers choices in 30 cities in India across
all kinds coworking operators including international
operators, large domestic operators & boutique
players. This is arguably the largest inventory offered
by any player in India today.
In a nutshell meetingsandoffices.com is an aggregator
for all shared workspaces, co-working spaces and
anyone who has excess inventory across India. We
help people find the right fit flexible office space and
meeting space solution in a matter of minutes. Users
can come online search, compare, book and pay for
a meeting room, training room or Having started as spaces for startups, solopreneurs and freelancers,
coworking today sees more than 85% occupancy from larger to
mammoth organizations. The biggest companies in the world
today including Microsoft and Google have significant numbers
working out of coworking. Nor are conventional corporates far
behind, banks, petroleum companies, tech majors, auto, all are
coworking customers. It’s not just the ‘cool factor’; the economics
make tremendous sense as well.
This is just the tip of the iceberg however, there’s a whole lot more
to come. On one hand coworking is driving the democratization
of business district concepts, on the other it is morphing and
adapting to translate unmet needs ofbusiness.
One of the big future trends will be specialized niche spaces.
imagine coworking spaces only for females, for developers and
coders, coworking spaces especially for writers and so on.
Such coworking spaces would bedesigned to have all the
facilities that a professional in that nichemight need and would
be marketed in a more targeted manner. These niche coworking
spaces will create strong, specialised communities that could
evolve into marketplaces over time.
Another key trendto look out and plan for is multi-utility spaces.
We are already seeing hospitality cum coworking as well as
spaces that become lounge bars and events areas on call. Global
early adapters are already talking of integrating Vertical Farming
into newer coworking spaces.
All of this will have tremendous impact on design and design
perspectives as a whole. Each segment will look for specialist
design elements that cater to its specific needs from flooring to
sound proofing to decor to gym and food facilities. What most
will definitely demand however, is a change towards greater
green consciousness, energy efficiency and conservation. Time
to adapt and leverage upcoming opportunities.