Is this for real and for the long haul? You can’t help wondering as you enter this sleek co-working space, smart posters on the walls, the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air. There’s a rush, there’s a buzz but the environment seems so light. A bunch of young casually dressed people huddled up around a computer desk, others just chatting away near the balcony. Honestly, the work environment here is too cool to believe. Is this a bubble? The Economic Times asked a similar question recently – What’s fueling these “cool” offices? And the answers were quite eye- opening. The report stated that the share of co-working sector in total office leasing in India has reached to 10% in the Q32018 from just 4% back in 2017. When you break it down to reality, these figures start to make sense. Take a look

  • India is the world’s 3 rd largest start-up hub
  • And the world’s 2 nd largest freelancer hub
  • 46% of India’s current population comprises of millennials who love ‘cool offices’ and ‘bean bags’.

The market in India for co-working spaces may have started with rental benefits. Imagine, you don’t have to worry about your office security, or the working staff serving Chai every day or the electricity bills. You pay a fixed monthly rent, come and work at a cool place – no strings attached. However, it’s a welcome trend that India is graduating from rental benefits to a full blown co-working ecosystem where start-ups and freelancers come to network and expand business.

Co-working spaces are not just about rental spaces anymore. Here’s how-

# Organic networking opportunities
Freelancers and start-ups are not choosing co-working spaces just for the sake of saving money anymore. It has been a decade-long trend of community development among co-working spaces that has fuelled a new motivation. Co-working spaces today are one of the most organic ways to network and build professional relationships. Every co-working space becomes an eco-system in itself combining start-ups, freelancers from various fields of expertise and industry professionals. As a result, it evolves into a diverse community where members are always willing to help each other. For instance, there’s an inter-city cab start-up that works in a leading co-working space in Bengaluru. Since that co-working brand has branches around India and abroad, the start-up benefits from simply leveraging from the co-working community and gets regular clients.

# Better employee retention
This is an often-ignored advantage of renting co-working spaces today. Unlike an office set-up, employees working through a co-working space get a world view. That’s because they get to freely interact with employees of other start-ups and companies. This gives them clear reference points about the trends in the industry. Today, one of the top reasons why start- ups and corporate brands are opting for co-working spaces is the open environment that such spaces offer. This leads to better retention of employees. 

# Organic and inorganic mentorship
In India, most co-working spaces organize weekend gigs, stand-ups, workshops or skills training for its community members. This helps the entire community to learn from each other’s skills and benefit. For instance, a freelancer writer organizes ‘American English’ workshop on a nominal fee every weekend at the space where he works. This helps him form connections among IT companies (working there) who eventually hire him for writing technical blogs. At the same time, the environment of co-working spaces allows for voluntary mentorships where new founders learn from old founders or veteran entrepreneurs over a cup of chai or coffee.  

# Community benefits
There’s a freelance photographer who rented a co-working space in a Tier- 2 city simply because she wanted to bring in some discipline to her work. At the cafeteria of the co-working space, she met the founder of a digital marketing agency. She was hired to take the pictures needed for the agency’s creatives. The agency didn’t have to go through the whole process of recruitment or even keeping her on the payroll. Her story illustrates how freelancers can find more work while companies can find a hub of talent simply through renting offices at a co-working space.

#Flexibility of expansion
E-commerce leader Amazon has rented several co-working spaces in India for its back-end work. That’s because investing in a back-end office in Tier- 2 cities is both time-consuming and demanding in terms of maintenance and security. A co-working space, however, is often flexible in terms of number of seats/desks or the cabins you need. You are free to change your need after the contract period and decrease or increase your desks or space as per the actual need. This saves companies from office overheads that occur regardless of their sales growth or team expansion. Co-working spaces come with security systems, parking spaces and cafeteria that takes so much burden off of start-ups and enterprises. At the same time, they feel free to downsize or expand anytime based on market fluctuations.

Kontor Co-Working is a dedicated co-working community based out of Thane, Mumbai. The company has created a buzzing community of freelancers, start-ups and enterprises working together through rented spaces of their choice. Our vision is to benefit the entire business community through open working environments, cozy work spaces and community collaborations. For more details, feel free to call us.

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