The scenario of co-working spaces in India; Soha Parekh, WorkLoft

The scenario of co-working spaces in India; Soha Parekh, WorkLoft

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The scenario of co-working spaces in India
Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
Soha Parekh
Director-Raycon Group
Co-founder-WorkLoft
photographs: WorkLoft

“We started WorkLoft in 2015 when the co-working business was already on the rise in the USA and the concept of co-working had just entered India. We are in-fact one of the earliest entrants in the Indian co-working market. Given our experience in the industry, planned investments and a continuous effort to provide operational excellence and innovation, we believe that we are in a comfortable position in the co-working industry, in the current time as well as the long run. Our endeavours have helped us come this far and achieve several startups, SMEs and corporates as our clients in a mere span of less than five years.”, says Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-founder of WorkLoft

As of date, India is the 2nd largest market for flexible workspaces in the APAC region after China, with more than a thousand co-working spaces. With the growing millennial workforce, over 13 million people are projected to work out of co-working spaces by 2020 in India. As per the accounts of the real-estate consultancy JLL, the cumulative area of co-working spaces in India currently stands at 6.9 million square feet with many corporate firms planning to allocate around 10% of their office portfolio to agile workspaces.

Besides time flexibility, these spaces offer flexibility in terms of space. Firms often struggle to get an office space of optimal size at their preferred locations. Sometimes, the space is either too large or too small when compared to the requirements of the firm. This issue can entirely be eliminated with co-working space and also provides the advantage of scalability. With flexible working spaces, companies can take up as many desks as needed without compromising their preference of location. Further, desks can be added or removed, whenever and wherever needed. Moreover, some co-working operators also offer clients the choice of working at any of its branches, if needed. As the industry matures, it has undergone a significant change with respect to facets such as consumer profile, location, service offerings and business objectives. They have started to become tech-savvy themselves, beginning 2019. Booking seats or conference rooms, raising an invoice, paying for services or maintenance bill, tracking attendance – all routine operational aspects have seen automation and ease of execution.

The co-working spaces now are no longer just a shared, flexible, vibrant space. They have become an attractive option for MNCs by providing cost-effective workspace thus saving the time, resources and capital investment of putting the necessary infrastructure together. Besides cost savings, these co-working spaces offer more advantages to startups, corporates and MNCs. Working alongside young, energetic and similar-minded people outside the conventional office setup can unlock several other pathways such as innovation, a boost in productivity and more employee satisfaction which can be leveraged to drive growth.

The co-working space is also an attractive proposition for startups. Perhaps one of the most important advantage for the startups is that they can focus manpower, time and money to devise strategies for growing their business instead of worrying about setup arrangements such as office space, infrastructure investment, fit-outs etc.

With India as an emerging startup and commercialization hub, there is a huge demand for co-working spaces. Currently, India is the centre of a thriving economy, abundant talent and growing employment, thus favouring the scenario of flexible office spaces and an acceptance of a new working style. Due to this flexibility and interest that India has begun to showcase, the demand for these flexible, innovative and collaborative workspaces have increased significantly and are expected to rise further. The popularity of co-working spaces is not only because of the cost-effectiveness they offer but also due to the excellent networking and collaboration opportunities that the co-working spaces provided by them.

However, all these said so; players in the co-working business must tread cautiously. Companies focusing on providing niche and innovative co-working solutions would prevail in the long run. While new players struggle to run the business due to lack of experience, some big players have also slipped into failures due to untested and unrelated diversification, where they had no experience. Thus, the key to achieve a striving business is to understand the market flows and be wary of the aspects the firm invests in like we are doing at WorkLoft.

  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
  • The scenario of co-working spaces in India <br> Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft
    The scenario of co-working spaces in India
    Soha Parekh, Director of Raycon Group and Co-Founder of WorkLoft

Now the co-working space is rapidly emerging as a vital player in the commercial real estate sector of India. According to a FICCI report, there are approximately 325 to 330 co-working operators in the top seven cities in India thus increasing the share of co-working in office leasing from 5% in 2017 to 8% in 2018 and this moved up further to 12% in Q1 FY2019. In 2018, Mumbai had the highest proportion (14%) of co-working space to total office leasing. We aspire to tap the upcoming demand surge by selecting new locations and providing a unique proposition to these future centres. The journey of WorkLoft has been quite fascinating and we are confident that we would be continuing the same in our future endeavours.