Coworking spaces are witnessing robust operations in the current scenario, says MANAS MEHROTRA*
The future of work is changing rapidly and will almost be permanently oriented towards greater flexibility as the pandemic has brought about fundamental changes in life and work. Coworking spaces are now doing well and witnessing robust operations in the current scenario.
With flexible spaces becoming mainstream, the coworking companies have seen a massive spike in the number of enquiries this year. While the first half of 2021 impacted coworking spaces, there was very strong recovery in the second half of the year.
After unlocking, people started to seek new working styles and the demand for flexible workspaces is constantly increasing not only because such spaces perfectly fit the 'new normal,' but they also provide companies with an option to save costs, boost productivity, enhance work experience and provide flexibility to employees.
Overall wellbeing is the priority with focus on preventive, safe and healthy coworking environment that attracted many businesses. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of de-densification of office space and adoption of hub and spoke model.
In 2022, companies will continue to adopt the hybrid working model. Companies have come to realize that employees are their greatest asset and that they must take cognizance of their needs and preferences.
A few trends that will dominate the co-working industry in 2022 include continued demand by large enterprises with customized workspace design requirements, preference for satellite offices, preventive health strategy by businesses and enhanced focus on technology adoption. Now, more than ever, flexibility is crucial and hence coworking spaces, with their natural flexibility and inherent readiness to add value are best positioned to adapt and redefine the future of workspace.
The demand for flexible space will also be largely driven by consulting, IT-BPM, and ecommerce firms that are establishing multiple satellite offices in metro cities. As per a recent report, the industry is expected to double over the next five years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent. Industry estimates indicate that the demand for coworking spaces is already 80%- 90% of pre-Covid-19 levels.
The workplace has now evolved from being purely functional to being more productive, experiential, and meaningful and hence this indicates a brighter future for this new age asset class.
Over the long term, ‘survival of the fittest’ is likely to be the new norm. This industry needs a strong foundation to scale up and smaller players don’t have the bandwidth for that. Consolidation has become inevitable because the model works on building scale, and that’s the key way for the business to grow. Therefore, it goes without saying that the coworking culture will drive the future of the corporate realm and is an idea that is here to stay. (*The author is Founder, 315Work Avenue, a new age and rapidly growing coworking space provider.)