The ongoing flexibility in working systems is paving the way for an increased demand in new trends such as co-working spaces. Co-working spaces were strategically designed to offer collaboration and networking benefits within furnished and equipped workspaces on a rental basis and the market dramatically expanded in recent years.
The term co-working refers to the practice of working at a close end with each other in an environment that is flexible and involves a shared office environment. The key objective behind setting up this workspace idea was to encourage collaboration, creativity, idea sharing, mentoring, networking, socializing, and generating new business opportunities. The coworking spaces were initially aimed at inviting start-up companies and freelancers who prefer high-end working infrastructure, points out Nakul Mathur, Managing Director of Avanta India.
A recent study by Gartner emphasizes that by 2022, 60 per cent of hybrid wellness-equipped Smart Offices will be a priority of employers over a remote office. An undenying advantage that coworking spaces provide is the networking support that adds development ideas to businesses while creating synergies in a creative work environment.
"Many reports have suggested an empirical illustration of how coworking spaces can stimulate the soft aspect of entrepreneurship (e.g., collaboration, interaction, and networking). Companies across diverse segments are focusing extensively on creating more efficient and cost-effective solutions for start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and corporates," adds Mathur.
Shared amenities offered by coworking spaces bring in a significant cost reduction to its users. The flexible, technology-driven, state-of-the-art facilities attract millennial occupiers who like working together in vibrant work culture. Due to the advent of newly emerged start-ups and freelancers, these workspaces are attracting the attention of larger organisations as well. As enterprises and budding entrepreneurs' experiment with various business models for best efficiency and cost optimisation, the coworking era is likely to be an interesting period.
"Of many respondents who answered a question on the assumed influence of working in a coworking space on their health, 55.6 per cent believed that the coworking environment created a positive influence. Studies have suggested that working alone can worsen work-related stress and mental health issues. This is majorly because employees feel isolated, due to having no daily contact with either an employer or colleagues. It is natural for anyone to face a negative reaction while working alone, whether they are a freelancer, a lone worker, a self-employed individual, or someone who regularly works from home.
He adds: "Some employees agreed that prolonged social distancing at work can add to the work-related stress while making them feel lonely. However, working together with people from diverse sectors can help reduce the feelings of anxiety and loneliness by allowing like-minded individuals to work under one roof."
Coworking forms an excellent working environment that fosters teamwork and office bonds that helps in coping with the inherent stress. There is an enhanced scope for the chance for meaningful interactions and connections with industry experts who also have similar interests, lifestyles, and aspirations.
Mathur says: "Coworking spaces ensure that offices are more than just shared open-plan offices as they design spaces for a diverse group of people (co-workers) enhancing outcomes for collaboration, community building, and idea-sharing. The coworking model boosts creativity and innovation as it promotes collective R&D activities."
Also, the co-working values (collaboration, community, sustainability, openness, and accessibility) can be used as a guide for where to set up such spaces; how to operate daily; and how to stimulate employees' creativity. "The work environment has significantly been associated with satisfaction and can thus be seen as an important topic for coworking space operators. Coworking spaces are smartly establishing themselves as a healthy, alternative work arrangement through exclusive health-promotion strategies specially tailored for a flexible work environment," he concludes.