With fluid work systems put in place by many startups today, coworking space has become a mainstream work culture. The shared space enriches the work experience of many millennials today and lets them thrive better by offering flexibility. Though the trend of coworking spaces caught up in India around 2012, especially after the startup boom, the industry is witnessing changes and innovations every day.
As the startup ecosystem matures, so do the workspaces that startups occupy. With coworking spaces becoming a primary choice for many new startups and tech companies, there are a number of emerging trends in this space, especially in the Indian market.
What Are The Biggest Trends In The Coworking Space?
Shift Towards Unicorns, Big Tech
Coworking spaces were originally said to be for freelancers and startups, but things are changing fast. Now the trend is shifting towards bigger companies as well. Today, even larger enterprises like Google India, Rolls Royce India prefer coworking spaces for some of their employees. They have recognised the advantage that coworking spaces offer. They believe in giving flexibility to employees for better productivity and giving opportunities and onboarding people from remote locations, unlike the traditional 9-5 companies.
Increased Focus On Digital Marketing
There is a greater emphasis on digital marketing from coworking startups. Coworking spaces are realising the competition in the sector and diverting capital into marketing. Earlier the focus was more on location. With fewer players, the ones in prime locations had a distinct advantage. Now, with increased competition from global and local players, there is an increased need for marketing to boost visibility, especially when the coworking space claims to offer something different than the majority of players.
What is changing dramatically in the coworking sector is the focus on design and customisations for each property or location. Tech startups and companies are today paying a lot of attention to using architectural and design principles to foster productivity and creativity at the workplace.
“We customise the design and experience of our workspaces for our members. The moment a property is in our possession, the design team begins in-depth research to gather more information about the location to know it better. The learnings are then translated and incorporated into various elements inside the building. All of this is an effort to provide our members with an environment that boosts their creativity and productivity while enabling collaboration and collective learning,” Karan Virwani, CWeO, WeWork India told Inc42.
Focus On Improving Parity And Inclusion
Coworking spaces such as WSquare, 91 Springboard, Innov8 and The Mesh curate a host of workshops and events for women employees. WSquare and Mesh have also set up creches for working mothers. WSquare even offers services like delivery of groceries and chopped vegetables. 91 Springboard hosts Women Entrepreneur League through which they conduct sessions for women employees. Innov8 provides everyday solutions including increased security in the evening and also hosts events for women who code.
Traditional Industries Enjoy Coworking
Until now, coworking spaces were popular largely among startups, but with bigger MNCs joining in, coworking spaces are also catering to traditional industries such as banking, insurance, manufacturing, among others are also opting coworking spaces. This has changed the dynamics of the coworking environment as startups are getting more exposure from corporates and large companies.
Emphasis On Wellness, Fitness
With increased stress on fitness and health of employees, coworking spaces are also focusing on the same. For instance, WeWork offers TGIM (Thank God it’s Monday) Breakfast, where every Monday, members can avail a breakfast, which is on the house, to beat the Monday blues. On Wellness Wednesdays it organises different fitness activities every week for its members, to work out and connect.
Rewards To Woo Customers
Many of these coworking spaces, including Awfis, CoWrks offer members exclusive discounts on multiple services ranging from business services to retail shopping. Some of these places keep innovating ways to stay relevant. For instance, CoWrks has come up with CoWrks Cards for members to use as a discount coupon at more than 200 bars and restaurants.
Better Access To Global Startups
Many coworking spaces offer members access to a global community, which they can use to collaborate and add value to their businesses. For instance, WeWork member network serves as a platform to connect and interact with members in different parts of the world.
Expansion Into Tier 2, 3
After Tier 1 cities, the trend of coworking spaces is shifting towards Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities as well. With increased internet penetration and digitisation, companies are setting up teams in remote locations on a trial run basis. It’s a win-win for both companies and coworking spaces. With digitisation, startups and large enterprises are building teams in smaller cities and towns. And, coworking spaces offer them flexibility in terms of expansion. For coworking space companies, the shift towards newer markets has helped them explored untapped markets.
As startups and tech companies keep embracing coworking spaces, this sector will undergo more transformation and is likely to see newer trends emerging every quarter. The expansion into Tier 2 and lower markets will be particularly interesting for coworking spaces, as this will pose business challenges, which are likely to unearth more innovation in this sector. Watch this space to know more about coworking trends in the near future.