What’s Driving India’s Coworking Trend?

Coworking spaces were attempted for the very first time way back in the 1990s, in the Western World. Today, it is a real estate trend that has caught the imagination of the commercial property market, such that there are more than 15,000 coworking spaces being actively used across the world. They may have arrived in India only recently, but coworking spaces have been welcomed by Indian businesses as well, with Forbes estimating about 400 such workplaces in the country as of 2019.

According to a recent study, leased coworking spaces totalled about 19 lakh square feet of office space in the first half of 2018, a figure that is expected to rise up to a whopping 10 million square feet by 2020. In fact, the coworking property market, which is valued at about $1 billion in 2019, is expected to surge to $7-8 billion by 2022. So, what’s driving this growth?

Growing Acceptance of Coworking Spaces
A key driver of this booming coworking market is the thriving startup culture in India. These are businesses that ordinarily need to work out everything on a budget. A coworking space allows them a huge amount of very affordable flexibility, in terms of open office designs, customizability according to workflow, ease of communication and networking, scalability, and much more.
No wonder, India is second only to China in the APAC region when it comes to demand for coworking spaces, says research by CBRE. Some of the other key reasons why coworking spaces are flourishing in India are:

Affordable Branding
Running an SME means having to count costs at every step. At the same time, building a recognizable brand is the key to success. Renting office space that reflects your brand value has to be one of the primary steps in this brand-building effort. Now, imagine a coworking space, where you get everything on a platter – great office design, furniture and even support staff. Add to this a great reception area that gives your visitors a red carpet welcome and you wouldn’t need to ask for more.

Take the Veris visitor management system, for example, it is being used by some of the leading coworking space providers in India to provide seamless visitor registration, while maintaining records of every individual who enters the coworking premises. What startups get is a completely professional visitor check-in experience that creates a positive first impression right at the doorstep.

In the words of Mona Shukla, CEO & Founder of Corporate Business Center, which offers co-working facilities in Delhi NCR and Bengaluru, “Veris self-service visitor registration helps us efficiently capture visitor details and send email/SMS notification to the hosts about visitor arrivals. Its simple and elegant product design offers a hassle-free experience to visitors and leaves a lasting impression on them.”

Highest Levels of Security
This is one aspect that cannot be overlooked, regardless of the size of the business. Also, security is not just in terms of keeping malicious elements out of the premises, it is also about ensuring safety for the people working within the office space. In addition, there is confidential information that needs protection and areas that require restricted access. All this can be seamlessly ensured in a coworking space, without a startup needing to tie-up too much of its cash flow for this purpose.

With a smart visitor management system, businesses can actually benefit from custom workflows, based on specific coworking needs. It is easy to upload and sync member directories, while employees can be provided smartphone-based member IDs. Moreover, notifications and alerts can be sent instantly on these smartphones too.

Talking about the advantages of coworking spaces with such visitor management software in India, Vineet Taing, President, Hospitality, at Vatika Group, a leading provider of services offices and co-working spaces, said, “Veris has immensely enhanced security at all our business centres by collecting authentic visitor information. It not only adds another layer of security but also visitors find the express self-service check-in process very convenient and time-saving.”

Creating Workspaces for Millennials
Millennials account for 46% of the Indian workforce, says Financial Express. Therefore, the work culture is being largely influenced by this generation. This is the generation that has grown up with technology simplifying life in every way. They look for technology solutions to almost every life and work challenge. In addition, they value experience over materialistic possessions. For them, the office space is part of this positive experience that they seek. Shared workspaces, offering a high level of flexibility and ease of business, without too many administrative hurdles, appeal to millennials. The changing dynamics of the workforce, as well as business needs, has led to this growth.

However, startups are only one of the growth drivers for this burgeoning trend of coworking spaces. In fact, approximately 40%-45% of demand for coworking spaces comes from large enterprises, with SMEs accounting for another 35%-40% of the demand, says an article on The Economic Times. So, it isn’t just the startups that are fueling the growth of the coworking trend. It is the changing nature of business and the workforce that is responsible for the growth, to a large extent.

Coworking spaces not only offer a convenient way to network, they also come fully equipped to spur productivity. It is the ambience of such spaces that appeals to today’s workforce, and not just in India. To remain relevant in today’s competitive world, businesses need to be agile. This is what coworking spaces are offering, especially when they employ smart visitor management software to streamline access.

‘Work the talk’ is an initiative by Veris that empowers businesses to co-create workplaces of the future. In this podcast series, we talk with industry leaders to gain insights about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities impacting workplaces across industries.