Here's why you should consider a Coworking space today
The adventure of Coworking space began in 2005 when people in San Francisco opened their homes to fellow freelancers looking for a working space and collegiality and the first officially designated ‘coworking space’ was born. In the same year, the first ‘Hub’ opened in London, and St.Oberholz opened in Berlin, offering a combined café/workspace for freelancers. The word "coworking" originated with a concept put forth by Brad Neuberg in 2005.While the concept of such space was introduced with the intent of providing a place and facilities to the freelancers and budding companies, now it has become a trend. Today it is becoming a social movement by changing the work practices.
NASSCOM predicted that India will have more than 11,500 tech-startups by 2020. And these startups require a workstation to carry out their work. Coworking spaces have become an attractive hub for such companies as they not only solve the problem of high infrastructure cost and proximity but also enable the members of the companies to collaborate and learn in an ecosystem with their community. Interestingly, JLL India CEO and country head Ramesh Nair recently shared that the demand for co-working spaces is no longer restricted to freelancers or start-up employees. Even the staffs at small emerging businesses as well as large corporate offices are looking for co-working spaces to maximize their productivity. The growth of Coworking spaces is therefore predicted to increase further as cost, infrastructure, and travel convenience become top priorities for companies.
As these spaces are headed towards the direction of becoming the most desired junction, it is imperative to understand the dynamics of the work culture. Several companies, freelancers, and other members work separately yet together in these organizations. In order to gain some insights of the culture at coworking space, People Matters interacted with some of the members to know their experience. The discoveries we made were fascinating.
Coworking Spaces: Member’s Perspective
Harinder who runs an offshore development center from 91springboard, a coworking space in Gurgaon shared that the experience of working in a coworking space is such that it feels like different projects are working together in one organization. Members working here feel closer to the community and are able to network and collaborate with them conveniently. While break out areas and cafeteria are really appreciated by the members, it is connecting with more people and having insightful conversations that they look forward to every day. Engagement is not a problem here because members enjoy coming to work.
After working for leading companies like Accenture and Nokia, when Suchit Aggarwal decided to start his own venture, BidBox, Coworking space was the most feasible option to set up an office in India. According to him the best thing about coworking space for service companies like his is the availability of potential clients. From day one, the founder has access a community of 60-100 people to network with. He said, “The role of CEO is not to run an office but to run a company, the sooner people realize this, the sooner they would also want to come to the coworking. Also, there is a chance to learn a lot. Companies next to me can offer me something that I was looking for or the client I was looking for.”
Jitendra Rajora who has 15 years of experience in media and marketing chose a coworking space because it provided close proximity from his house and warehouse and also took care of business operations. But later on, he discovered more benefits of it like access to community and ready information. He said, “It’s not just a community but entire startup ecosystem which is available, for instance, in terms of service providers. Services like accounting and designing can be easily availed through the access to a community. It also gives the opportunity to connect with investor network, advisory network or mentoring network.”
Culture: The key differentiator
Generally speaking, in a traditional corporate setup employees from different departments are reluctant to approach each other while in coworking spaces people from different companies freely reach out to each other and collaborate. And the members feel that it is the culture that drives this behavior.
Sharing his view on this Suchit Aggarwal, CEO & Managing Director, BidBox shared, “In bigger companies and corporates the departments have targets to achieve. They are so focused on their own targets that they forget that they can also collaborate to achieve targets. It’s the culture because they build that silos with time. Teams have just come and entered the marketing team; teams have just come and entered the finance team. They have not learned to talk to each other. The earlier you establish the culture of openness and collaboration the farther you will go. Also because now there have been continental shifts in style of working bigger corporates have to realize be more accepting the younger force. Utilize that productively.”
People working in coworking spaces feel like a family and share a healthy competition. They keep each other motivated and inspire each other to thrive towards excellence.
Jitendra Rajora, Founder, BoxyBite, shares that while in the conventional companies there is a slack and people are not on their toes, in a cowork ecosystem office administration is prompt. He also believes that it is the work culture that differentiates these spaces from conventional offices. He said, “If you spend one month in this working environment you will also have a startup idea.”
Probably the large organizations can learn from these spaces and create a culture which ensures a more productive, innovative and collaborative workforce. As the gig workforce will continue to increase and innovation will be indispensable, organizations will look forward to catering to a variety of workforce. Therefore creating a flexible work culture with a growth mindset is imperative and coworking spaces might play a huge role here.