Working independently, but together — that’s the mantra of coworking spaces. Employees working at these spaces don’t have to lose many hours of their day in the daily commute, yet need not feel isolated working remotely from home. The concept of shared spaces is the best utilisation of tech tools available today with the companies to ensure employees stay connected to the team while also offering flexibility.
Coworking spaces are a blessing for startups as well. India has the third-largest startup ecosystem after China and the US with more than 5,200 startups. However, along with the startup revolution, real estate prices are also skyrocketing every year. This is where coworking spaces come into the picture.
Opting for coworking spaces, at least at the nascent stage, helps startups to cut down on investment and direct the budget towards hiring the right people. Interestingly, employees also stay socially integrated as they are surrounded by like-minded people with whom they can share and discuss ideas. From 4% during the first three-quarters of 2017 to 10% till Q318, the share of the coworking sector in total office leasing in India shows growth of flexible working space is on steroids, says an ET report.
The win-win situation for both employees and companies has paved the way to the mushrooming of coworking spaces in India. The concept, which is here to stay, has attracted the attention of many in India really fast. Experts feel not all players may sustain, but the concept surely has penetrated across the country, including tier 2 and 3 cities and India is on the verge of a new-age working space revolution.
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While most of these spaces are run by major players such as WeWork, 91springboard, Innov8, Cowrks, and Awfis, local players such as SproutBox, myHQ, AltF CoWorking, GoHive, GoWork, Yessworks, and Ideashacks are also trying to cash in on the demand for such workspaces from budding entrepreneurs.
According to The State of the Startup Ecosystem Report by Inc42, India has over 300 coworking spaces with over 720 centres and a total area of 15 Mn sq ft. After being adopted in Tier 1 cities, the trend is now spreading to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well.
As compared to just a few small players in 2010, India today has several large players in the space. The growth in the sector in India is almost at par with global trends that show a 3050% increase in the number of coworking facilities since 2010.
While coworking companies in India took up a modest 1.8 Mn sq ft in 2017, the first quarter of 2018 itself has exceeded the annual tally of 2017 at 2 Mn sq ft, said a Knight Frank report. Five major players, Regus, WeWork, Coworks, awfis and smartworks, had 8.5 Mn sq ft operational space last year with plans for an additional 7 Mn sq ft by 2020.
WeWork India is opening new coworking spaces across the country. It is currently present at 26 locations in 4 cities, with 46K desks, and 35K members. Even as the company battles plummeting valuation and investor faith in its global business, according to latest media reports, in 2019 it opened more than 10K desks, launched a new market in Pune, and expanded its presence in NCR with Noida.
While emerging household names such as WeWork and Regus have undergone significant expansion, other notable players including GoWork, OYO Workspaces, Awfis, and 91Springboard are also expanding at a faster pace. Recently in August, Gurugram-based GoWork has raised $53 Mn debt funding from BlackRock’s Private Credit team.