It is a confirmed fact, reported by all the major business magazines of the country, that thousands –if not millions- of Indians are now saying goodbye to traditional office spaces, and opting coworking spaces, instead. According to projections coming from the real estate sector, by 2020, about 14million people would be working out of shared office spaces around the country which would also include a large number of employees of big companies apart from startups and freelancers. This scenario has given the otherwise slowing down real estate sector a big boost. Let’s then talk about a) the coworking space boom and b) how it is impacting the real estate sector.
The Coworking Space Boom
The unprecedented growth and consistently increasing demand of coworking office space in India did not occur in a vacuum. The direct and obvious reason for this trend is, of course, the coworking spaces themselves. Their flexible terms- starting from hourly to monthly and yearly lease periods, presence in prime locations in all the cities, affordability, networking, collaborating and growth opportunities, and the very model of “coworking” have to a great extent assured their acceptance in the Indian market. These aspects have been equally effective in Tier I cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad as well as in Tier II (also Tier III) cities like Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
Although indirect, quite a few other factors have contributed to the success of coworking spaces. Among them, the demographics of India, the startup boom and the failure of traditional office spaces are some of the key contributors. India is the second largest labor force in the world, and soon it is going to become the largest. More significantly, more than 50% of India’s population is below the age of 25 and around 65% below 35. This implies that the majority of the country is young, competitive and innovative. They are going to work, and they need workspaces- especially spaces that are competitive themselves to keep up with the service industry. Youth also means nontraditional, and we are already seeing how coworking model is rapidly growing. To host such a group, there is a need for more coworking spaces, and that’s why more such spaces are coming into being rapidly.
Another reason why the coworking industry continues to flourish is the startup boom. Partially it is because of the young population we talked about, but that is not all behind this. The competition initiated between state governments, several steps taken by the govt. of India to start a new business (e.g. make in India, startup India etc.), large investments, the growing demand of services, and the creativity and use of the information age have pushed many startups to come to the forefront. Naturally, the coworking spaces have benefited by this immensely.
Let us not forget the failure of the traditional office spaces that gave the coworking spaces the chance to offer an alternative to the working folks. High rental prices, unfriendly lease terms, limited scope for networking, not being motivating or evolving etc. made sure these office spaces for rent find their way down. Had they been proactive, it would have been a little tough for coworking spaces to take over the market this soon.
Impact on the Real Estate Sector:
Thanks to the coworking spaces, the slowing down real estate sector in India has found its emergency fuel to revive itself. Within the commercial real estate industry, the residential segment has come down- surprisingly. However, on the other hand, because of the coworking spaces the industrial segment has experienced steady growth. Not only many developers have become partners of coworking platforms and growing together but also many developers are now getting into the office service sector independently.
So the developers are now engaged reaping the fruits of the intense competition between coworking platforms. The need for sophisticatedly-designed buildings, interiors and appealing conveniences using technology has been the priority of office providers. The developers also –while making a good amount of profit- getting a chance to showcase their own creativity and establish their brand names.
One of the main aspects that the real estate sector is utilizing is IoT (internet of things). Tech-enabled smart office spaces are not only appealing because of ultimate conveniences but also they represent a status that businesses strive to earn. This also gives an optimized experience to the people working so that the focus goes to work and enjoying the atmosphere than worrying about a service.
Similarly, many old buildings that had other purposes than hosting workspaces –including residential buildings- are being converted into coworking spaces. This shows how this new trend of working has changed the way the real estate industry used to function.