There has been a rapid increase in co-working spaces all over the world since 2007 having London & New York on the top of the list. Knoll workplace research data indicates the exponential growth of coworking spaces and coworking users worldwide. To be more precise, the number of co-working space has increased from 75 in 2007 to 7,800 in 2015. Multiple reasons are fueling this growth right from the worker’s new behavior to the changing workplace strategies of corporations.
In this era of internet, when people have found multiple ways to make money, the gig economy, where temporary, flexible jobs are commonplace, and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors & freelancers instead of full-time employees, is scaling at an equivalent speed of technology advancements and its adoption by the people.
On one hand, as per the World Bank’s report 2019, total freelancers’ population worldwide is estimated at around 84 million which is around 3% of the global labor force of 3.5 billion. However, in the United States, 57.3 million and India, 15 million freelancers represent a sizeable portion of the global freelancer workforce. This change is in some ways more noticeable in advanced economies where technology is widespread.
On the other hand, Emergent Research states that 80% of large corporations plan to substantially increase their use of flexible workforce. This change is proving to be cost-effective and fruitful for nations where job demands are extremely high like India.
It can be inferred that these new HR strategies of companies and workforces’ new behavior have been considerably responsible as a key factor in the rise of co-working spaces.
When users start a search for the right workplace for themselves, they come up with their demands like silent space, nice ambiance, food availability, internet speed, cultures around them, washrooms, meeting rooms, conference rooms, etc. For example, when we talk about call centers or calling jobs, it is obvious that people around them would get disturbed especially when they seek a silent place to focus on their works. Similarly, some workers require office space for limited days in a month and they aren’t willing to pay for the whole month as it happens in traditional workplace contracts.
These new dimensions to define the right workplace for a worker have become extremely crucial for the co-working industry today just like when a business finds the right product for a kind of customer.
For instance, the hotel industry in India got revolutionized by a fewcompanies which started their operations by building its business model around the aggregator business model but later moved towards the franchisee model. They standardized the features that must be provided by the hotel to their customers. Traditionally, customers have their demands which varied in multiple dimensions like room conditioning, toilet, best room services, food availability, the overall environment outside the room and so on.
Other examples can be ecommerce, where a retailer can simply list all products on one platform and the consumer can filter out those products that fulfil their needs. Similarly, real estate where process of selecting a house to buy has become very easy and simple.
Aggregator business models have always been fruitful to all stakeholders in the industry. Primarily because they simplify the options for the end-users which makes the whole process comparatively smooth. Similarly, to accommodate the spectrum of needs of workers of all kinds, from an entrepreneur to large corporations, the co-working industry is in a strong need of customer-friendly aggregator platforms all over the world. These platforms would gain expertise in providing genuine advice to customers, standardize the workspaces for different sets of customers, and ensuring an acceptable workplace environment to the customers.
Additionally, aggregator’s platforms are using technologies to its best by developing their own social media sections where all the users can communicate. It helps in generating new leads, promote a new product or an idea andshare open job positions with thecommunity. Once the community builds, then automatically, professionals start to connect via marketing events, free lectures, knowledge sharing sessions etc.
According to a report of FICCI, there are presently around 330 coworking operators in India and total office leasing has increased from 5% in 2017 to 8% in 2018 to 12% in Q1 2019. No doubt, many operators have already entered this business in a very less amount of time, but the question is whether the users of all kinds fully satisfied with any of these operators?