The world has always depended on society since humans are social animals. With or without our knowledge we have always been dependent on something or someone for our survival. Interaction with one another is considered to be very important for building a strong social structure. And this idea is being implied for the development of businesses too. Hence arose the concept of coworking. It involves collaboration between different businesses, mostly start-up companies. The first time this word was used was by Brad Neuberg, an entrepreneur with a vision. He created the first “San Francisco Coworking space” that worked only for 2 days a week. Since this was a very new ideology, no one turned up for the first month. But later, this concept became a global phenomenon growing at a rate of 24.2%. Based on a trend report given by Emergent research, the demand for coworking spaces grew from 14 spaces in 2007 to 11,100 spaces in 2016 and it was estimated to have more than 30,432 spaces by 2022.
Coworking goes beyond the sharing of maintenance and costs of the building spaces; it is also a way of sharing a productive and collaborative environment with people having expertise in different fields. The members of the coworking spaces have a dynamic mindset who has a flow of creativity that can be best utilized when given them their free space. This is not usually available in a general corporate environment. To channelize one’s creativity, a coworking environment will be very suitable. Put in simpler terms, coworking is just sharing building space with people working independently for their own companies or employers where they can also share ideas, equipment, and knowledge all the while just enjoying each other’s company. It is a way to stay connected professionally and build a good friendship.
Those who are working in a corporate environment have a specific set of rules that need to be followed. It is very restrictive with respect to space, time, and freedom. So, whom does this coworking space benefit? Let’s see!
Start-up enthusiasts and entrepreneurs whose foremost problems are financial burdens. Costs are reduced since they are shared, a dynamic community to gain expert advice or tips from, etc. help the entrepreneurs to work with reduced stress and burdens.
Small Businesses – A similar advantage to the start-ups is provided for small businesses in terms of office space and related costs. The co-working spaces are mostly set up in areas that have access to cafes, shopping centers, gyms, restaurants, etc. so that the members of the coworking community can have an easy and relaxing break.
Freelancers – They get the freedom they need along with the benefits of a productive environment. Freelancers are used to working from home in the comfort of their own space. But they can be deprived of a professionally free environment that they can learn from and make significant improvements to their work. Coworking is an amazing way to meet new people with a variety of new ideas and make great friends.
Corporates – The corporate world is also implementing the concept of coworking since this results in happy employees and therefore, happy employers.
Coworking spaces organize many events that can help improve a person’s comfort like health check-ups, meditation classes, yoga classes, etc.
From refurbished warehouses to halls can act a coworking shared space. Some coffee, some snacks, and a friendly environment with bright people. This is what constitutes a coworking space. Multi-use areas like art studios, industrial buildings (redesigned), or newly designed modern spaces can be customized based on how the members want it to be.
For example, Fuigo, a co-working hub in New York City, has a hackerspace and a design space for tech-savvy people and art enthusiasts. What is surprising is that some of the top companies that we approach on a daily basis begun at a coworking space.
Uber – The most popular mode of transport in the current world, was started by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in a co-working space to bring a solution to the cab issues in San Francisco. They are also making use of similar spaces even after establishing branches in multiple parts of the world.
Instagram – The founders – Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom managed to build the trending social media platform within 8 weeks in a coworking space.
Spotify – A base for music and podcasts, Spotify began in RocketSpace. This streaming service has almost 160 million users currently.
Shared office space has a small difference in comparison with the co-working space in that it has a more professional outlook. Therefore, they are most well suited to established companies and businesses that are looking for a free environment. They have office supplies and they may also provide reception services and a kitchen. For example, WeWork is a combination of n=both coworking and shared office space where the customers get a coworking space for one company entirely. It can be described in a nutshell as a toned-down version of a corporate environment.
India also has accommodated the culture of coworking and has set up many such spaces.
GoHive – Having its branches in Delhi, Gurugram and Bengaluru their spaces provide excellent quality and services like comfortable furniture, high-speed internet, and office supplies.
SmartWorks ¬ They are more widespread over India having their spaces in 8 hot spot areas in the country. It is for technology-oriented people to help them provide logical solutions to technical and IT problems. They also conduct workshops and events.
We have seen the benefits of Coworking and Shared office spaces, which has got us thinking what if all of us had the same environment to work in? Wouldn’t that be something?
But with the current scenario of COVID-19, there is a high chance for all these spaces to start to dwindle. Physical distancing in society is considered the number one strategy to avoid contracting the disease. In hindsight, we can only say that the number of coworking spaces or shared office spaces can reduce in the forthcoming years. There is a threat to this space due to COVID-19. The lockdown has had a dreadful impact on many companies and offices of which coworking spaces were also a part. The rents and leases need to be settled and the customers are demanding a waiver from the owners of the coworking spaces on their rental prices due to the lockdown.
But, hope is not be lost because the majority of the people believe that coworking will come back stronger after COVID. The majority of employees have been resorting to working from home since the lockdown was imposed and many of them would prefer to continue working that way until it is proven safe for them to travel. So, in this less commute scenario, it will be difficult for office spaces to thrive. Work from home is not the best option too. There are some drawbacks because people have families and pets who keep interfering with the work and meetings. And the comfort of home prevents them from being productive and on time with the work schedule. Hence, people look for a professional environment with a free space to work peacefully.
Corporate companies often have confined office layouts which can pose an issue with the distancing that has to be followed. So, renovations and rearrangements need to be made in order to keep their employees safe. These will add to the costs of the company and reduce the profit margin. With the already fallen market and economy, people have to resort to quicker, less expensive, and safer measures. Experts say that factors like low costs and services provided by such shared spaces offer proximal places of work for employees compared to office setups which, they feel will enable this field to see a fast revival.
GoFloaters, who provide office spaces on-demand has been receiving many queries from companies who want to have a remote model of offices post lockdown. Even the corporate companies will have to adapt social distancing in their office setups instead of which they can collaborate with the coworking spaces enabling employees to visit places that are closer to their homes for a free yet professional environment.
Since these spaces are available for hourly, daily, and monthly usage with reasonable rents they can be utilized by the future corporate worlds with ease giving the employees to choose a working space suitable for them. Taking all this into consideration, we can see a better and brighter future for coworking spaces and shared office spaces in the future. Additionally, COVID-19 has been causing a sense of loneliness and depression among the majority and a safe distanced social gathering with a professional mindset can be just the therapy people need. Necessity is the mother of innovation is a quote well applicable to the current scenario which demands our creativity and skills for reforming society. Coworking is needed now more than ever; at a safe distance of course!