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5 Trends That Will Transform India's Co-Working Industry In the coming years, co-working spaces will provide seamless work experiences to their occupants by offering recreational services like de-stressing zones, sleeping pods, etc

By Sudeep Singh

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Co-working spaces have undeniably transformed the traditional workplace environment in India. From a nascent development, the industry has today become one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. The demand for co-working spaces in India has been propelled by the country's burgeoning shared and gig-based economy, as well as start-ups looking for cost-effective workspaces. Even large corporates are looking to inexpensively expand their operations across newer markets by opting for co-working spaces.

As a result, between January and June 2018, co-working firms in the country leased 19 lakh sq. ft. worth of commercial space, compared to the mere 6.4 lakh sq. ft. that they had in the first half of 2017. With these growth trends continuing to gain momentum, the future looks promising for co-working spaces in India. Here are some trends that have the potential to transform the sector in the coming years:

1. Sleeping Pods and Power Naps at Work

It is well-documented that millennials are more stressed and anxious than their preceding generations, something which results in rampant sleep deprivation while also impacting the quality of their sleep. Having such tired, on-the-edge employees working and stressing about deadlines through the day is not conducive to productivity and might even lead to people leaving their jobs for a fresh start.

This is where co-working spaces are stealing a march over conventional office spaces. Innovative co-working spaces are now offering dedicated spaces for power naps to professionals looking to de-stress and rejuvenate themselves. This flexibility and autonomy are one of the main reasons why a growing number of professionals and companies are now turning to these spaces.

In the coming years, co-working spaces will provide seamless work experiences to their occupants by offering recreational services like de-stressing zones, sleeping pods, etc. These options will create a more comfortable and stress-free work environment that can help work feel less like "work".

2. Community Building Events

Leading co-working spaces are opening up to the idea of instilling a sense of community in their members by organizing community building and networking events such as workshops, hackathons, "The Art of Living' sessions, "bring your pet to work' days, and reading sessions. Such events can provide employees and professionals at co-working spaces an ideal avenue to create engaging peer communities and form lasting personal and professional relationships.

3. Mentorship for Start-ups and New-Age Entrepreneurs

Newer enterprises often view co-working spaces as incubators that can bolster their business growth. Co-working spaces can be expected to build on this value proposition in the near future, offering teaching and mentorship sessions conducted by industry veterans to start-ups and emerging business ventures. Such mentorship sessions will create a deep learning environment which, along with the cutting-edge technological support provided by co-working spaces, will ensure that start-ups are ready to face the real world.

In a way, this trend is already underway; co-working spaces often host such business networking and mentorship opportunities for their clients. So, if you are a new business still trying to learn the ropes, co-working spaces are the way to go.

4. In-House Bars and Cafes

Most leading co-working spaces have adopted the concept of in-house bars and cafes as stress-busting breakout zones dedicated to helping professionals unwind from their daily grind. Going forward, co-working spaces will create top-of-the-line breakout zones comprising in-house bars that offer premium spirits, TV zones for quick and entertaining breaks, and frustration zones where professionals can truly let it all out.

5. Hospitality - Out of Box Service for C-Suite Employees

While co-working spaces have become popular for reduced costs, scalability, and complete ease of administrative and logistical management, there is likely to be a focus on offering tailored premium services, especially to senior management executives. From in-house nutritionists and customised cuisines to personal butlers and more, co-working spaces will provide bespoke services to these top-level executives, enabling them to maximise their productivity while availing true luxury.

The key to success, in today's business scenario, lies more in working smart than working hard – something which can only be possible when like minds come together. With this thought informing their short-term and long-term strategies, co-working spaces are establishing themselves as collaborative hubs where great minds produce great ideas together. New and forthcoming developments in the sector are further pointing towards the possibility of an even better year and an exceptional future for the co-working sector in India. Considering the speed at which growth-seeking, tech-enabled, forward-looking Indian businesses and professionals are heading towards co-working spaces, these new-age offices will emerge as India Inc.'s new address.

Sudeep Singh

Country Director, Startup Grind India

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