Resistance to commitment, an aversion to being tied down by traditional structures, love for open, inviting spaces, the desire to meet new people and learn interesting things, and the belief that resources and costs must be optimized – these are just some of the traits that can describe today’s sensible and practical millennial workforce. If you apply this paradigm to the way they like to work, it becomes quite obvious why they love the idea of co-working spaces.
Co-working spaces define a new way of working. They offer access to fully-functional offices to freelancers, entrepreneurs, consultants, etc. who can work with people from different backgrounds and fields in a vibrant setup that has all the basic amenities taken care of. From private cabins and open workstations to conference room access for important meetings, unwinding zones, cafes, housekeeping and receptionist services, etc., these cool new co-working hubs provide it all for nominal membership fees and with minimal hassle, making them a new favourite of millennials.
A recent study by real-estate consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle corroborates this claim. It reveals that the demand for shared working spaces in India is likely to jump as high as 40 percent in 2018. It also estimates that by 2020, roughly 13.5 million Indians will operate out of such facilities spread across the country.
The millennial workforce, which loves independence and flexibility, is no longer seeing much value in renting, let alone buying, an office space. These co-working spaces give them everything that they wish for at a price-point that’s way too attractive. Here’s a closer look into why co-working spaces are here to stay, and why millennials will be driving their growth all over India:
Independence and flexibility
It is no uncommon truth that millennials shirk the idea of commitment and love their independence. This is reflected in a variety of choices they make every day – renting cabs or self-drive vehicles over ownership, choosing experiences via travel and experiential activities over accumulating physical assets such as homes, renting furniture so they don’t feel tied down to one home or one city, etc. It’s no wonder then that they love the flexibility that co-working spaces offer, which typically work on a pay-as-you-use model. You can rent a space for a small fee on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis with almost negligible commitment, compared to rental agreements that can spread over years.
The idea that you can work out of a cool office whenever you feel the need is liberating for millennials, and that’s what drives them in droves to such shared working hubs.
Cost and resource optimization
Younger professionals and entrepreneurs who are just starting out on their own are typically looking to cut costs wherever possible without cutting down on comforts. Co-working spaces act as the perfect option in this scenario. They offer millennials the choice of paying per seat and accessing the best facilities without investing a heavy amount in infrastructure, decorating the office space, hiring housekeeping, etc. Co-working spaces give discerning millennials a far superior work environment than they’d otherwise be able to afford.
While millennials are perhaps the most ambitious and trailblazing generation so far, like any other young entrepreneur or working professional, they too need support, guidance, and comfort that comes from a solid peer group. Besides housing an enriching community-like atmosphere, co-working hubs also regularly run events, workshops, and seminars that allow the millennial workforce to upgrade their skills and run their businesses better. With their open culture, they allow users to mingle freely with their co-workers who could become their mentors, their next co-founder, or their next biggest client. Co-working spaces act as a thriving hub for networking, an aspect that few other office spaces can emulate.
No administrative responsibilities
Things like housekeeping, paying bills, dealing with electricity or internet outages, and cleaning are factors many millennials cite when they talk of their aversion to marriage or raising a family. Their distaste for such daily niggles obviously reflects in their choice of workplaces as well. In a co-working set-up, these young workers don’t have any such mundane responsibilities to worry about. They simply have to walk into their cool office spaces each day and enjoy all the state-of-the-art facilities that are at their disposal. All they need to do is focus on is their work, their business, and their next big pitch.
A cool work culture
Millennials are strong proponents of the shared economy because they love to experience things and luxuries they cannot afford to buy. The success of concepts such as Airbnb (which allows them to stay in homes they wouldn’t be able to own) and fashion rentals (that allow them to flaunt haute couture for an important event) can be attributed to this tendency. Co-working spaces also hold a similar allure. They allow millennials to work out of a convenient – often swanky – location in a central, well-connected part of the city, where renting would obviously be unaffordable to someone just starting out.
Besides giving their business venture an impressive address, these shared working spaces also offer them a lively, well-appointed ambience which makes all the difference to one’s daily motivation levels and creativity. Vibrant cafes, lounges to unwind at, recreational activities, games to make new friends over, and 24/7 power back-up are facets that only a few youngsters would be able to afford on their own, making co-working spaces so much more attractive to the millennial workforce!
Pranay Gupta is Co-founder of 91springboard.