Starting your company is one of the most exciting thoughts that most of us have in our lives. Freedom from the rat race at the office, no dealing with a boss, no more long rush hour commutes and getting a project on your desk on a late Friday evening!
While the life of an entrepreneur seems so full of freedom and fun while doing you really love, it comes with its own set of challenges.
As a self-starter, you need to be self-motivated all the time. To drive yourself to follow a set schedule each day while working from home or a coffee shop, to work well with little or no accountability may get in the way of your passion and zeal that you initially started with. This becomes especially difficult if you are a solo entrepreneur.
To overcome these issues, many entrepreneurs have turned to operate from a coworking space in the recent times rather than working from a highly informal, cozy and distractive set up like the comfort of your home. In this blog, let us explore what is co-working space, how popular this option has become in recent times and the reasons why you should also be considered to work from a coworking space as a startup.
What is a coworking space?
For those who are new to the term co-working space, it simply refers to the sharing of office space by self-employed, independent professionals who wish to work together in a communal, collaborative setting as opposed to the traditional model where office space is occupied by employees of a single organization. A coworking space has a lot of advantages. In fact, it can be ideal for entrepreneurs.
With the startup culture spreading like a wildfire, like in other countries, demand for co-working space in India has also increased. A recent report by the real estate consultant, Cushman, and Wakefield state that “As of April 2018, flexible workplaces occupy more than 8.1 million square feet of space spanning across the top eight cities in the country.”
With such high demand, several firms are offering co-working spaces across India that can be rented out on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. The rates are as low as Rs. 300/- per day per person to a monthly rent of between Rs. 8,000/- to Rs. 10,000/- per person.
According to the report, “There are more than 120 operators in the top eight cities offering shared and co-working space, and competition is high.
In India, established developers such as Embassy, RMZ have forayed into this space either by partnering with a co-working company or by starting their own services.
At the same time, domestic players such as AWFIS, Smartworks, CoWrks, 91 Springboard, Innova8, etc. are ramping up operations at a fast pace, with stiff competition from foreign operators such as WeWork.”
With the growing volume of entrepreneurs, consultants and freelance workers, the demand for such spaces will only increase in the future. As per another report by JLL India, “The potential market size of co-working across India is expected to be 13.5 million users by 2020.”
Why should Startups explore the idea of coworking space
According to a report, Co-Working: The Office of the Future, by Knight Frank India, “Real estate expenses makeup approximately 9-12% of overall operating costs (can differ from market to market) for an established corporate and could account for more in a startup.” The report also mentions that “There is a saving of 5-15% per seat in a co-working space compared to a standard lease.”
Co-working spaces offer a chance to work in a fully equipped office without worrying about the costs and time for setting up an actual office.
With co-working spaces, there is no requirement of long-term lease or contracts for office spaces. You can rent a seat for as less an hour. It also offers you the flexibility and customization as it makes it possible to choose to work out of a cabin space, open space or even a meeting room. Another flexibility is that it is extremely easy to scale up a shared office space as your team grows.
Co-working also means surrounding yourself with goal oriented and high-achieving entrepreneurs and business people. It provides an opportunity to network with small business owners, great thinkers, professional freelancers and other entrepreneurs. It is a place very fertile with potential partners, clients, and mentors, giving you the ability to outsource to great talents when you need help with specific projects or tasks.
Life of a solopreneur or a freelancer can often become very lonely. Working alone can have a negative effect on your mental and emotional wellbeing and might sidetrack you from the passion that you started with. Interactions in a work environment are very crucial to keep you fuelled and a co-working space can help you connect with like-minded people who share similar lifestyles to yours. This feeling of being part of a community will leave you motivated, energized and happy. Co-working spaces also prove to increase your productivity and effectiveness compared to working from home.
Freedom from facility management
Along with the workspaces, these shared spaces come bundled with other support staff like housekeeping, canteen, reception and other infrastructure facilities which otherwise would require time and effort for maintenance. It is also cost-effective as the burden does not fall on one person but is divided among all the occupants.
If you have clients or employees in different locations, renting co-working spaces can be a viable option instead of having offices at all locations.
Innovation and talent acquisition opportunities for large enterprises
Co-working spaces are not just crowded with freelancers and solopreneurs. Many large enterprises see co-working spaces to find exceptional talents. They were home to startups, these spaces are fertile with potential acquisitions which not only add value to their own brand but also curb competitions from new companies especially in the technology domain.
Why co-working space might not be the right choice for you?
- If your business thrives on sensitive material or issues of confidentiality of client then co-working space might not be advisable. Other entrepreneurs would be able to hear your conversations or may happen to glance through your computer screens or documents.
- Having a private office might present your company as more established and professional as you can customize the premise using your signages, layout etc.
- Co-working spaces can be noisy with background conversations, music etc. which might not help if you prefer to work in a quiet environment.
- You have very less or no control over the physical environment in a co-working space which might lead to ergonomic issues desk space, seating, room lighting, temperature etc.
If you are in your growth phase or expect to have a larger team working for you, renting an office space might be a better choice considering the privacy and security that it provides.
However, for a freelancer, solo entrepreneur and other micro businesses especially startups, co-working spaces can be an attractive option.
You can also check our article on 10 IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR COMMUTE PRODUCTIVE