Kushal Bhargava, Co-Founder, MyBranch

Kushal is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a master’s in commerce degree from Mumbai University. He is also an active member of the Student’s Committee of WIRC (Western India Regional Chapter) of ICAI. After completing his education, he started managing a pan India BFSI business. Solely because of his efforts, the group’s business turned around. The idea to create MyBranch came to Kushal in 2008. Due to the great recession, his plans were put on the back burner. However, Kushal didn’t give up. In 2015, MyBranch established its first office in Navi Mumbai. Since then, there has been no looking back for the company. By 2022, Kushal plans to open over 100 MyBranch offices.

 

The recent pandemic has adversely affected the society and humanity in a multifaceted manner. It hampered lives and well-being of millions of families across the world, but what it has also done is made us comprehend the surplus lifestyle we have been following since ever. ‘Owning “extra” than what we actually require,’ the statement is as much applicable in professional lives as in personal. 

Post pandemic, along with reverse migration, rose the trend of shared working spaces. With work-from-home becoming the new normal for employed professionals, several organisations ditched the traditional office structure of consolidated large working spaces and opted for small offices at numerous locations. 

This led to a substantial hike in demand for shared working spaces. While popular brands and organisations are setting up small offices in several cities, for their employees to work remotely, a lot of individuals, who had to move back to their native places during lockdown, are also taking up spots in these co-working spaces for a better and conducive work environment. 

It is observed that the requirement for cabin spaces has gone up drastically, post reverse migration there are a lot of working professional who complain about lack of proper space to work at home as most Indian households are not appropriate for carrying out professional commitments. Several employed executives who had to move back are now opting for rental cabins at co-working facilities so that they can get an office-like environment to work. Also, certain industries like Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance etc carry huge data security risks which cannot be secured by employees at their homes.      

The concept of shared-working spaces is catching up pace and becoming more and more viable with each passing day because it is easily manageable and economically feasible at the same time. Flexible leases and space requirement without size limitation is an important factor when it comes to setting up a co-working space for office use. 

Citing the trend from past year, it is evident that tier II and III cities are becoming the new hub for co-working spaces. Even though the deadly virus crippled the system in small cities, it could not dim peoples’ entrepreneurial spirit. Businesses from non-banking finance services to insurance agencies and micro finance to tourism and even local businesses, more people are opting for shared working culture where without disbursing hefty amounts of money they can get proper and hassle free office set-up. On the other hand, it is also beneficial for the organisations taking the space because they get to skip all the intricacies of setting up an office or managing the additional requirements, for example obtaining the office supplies or ensuring reliable internet connection or upholding fumigation and sanitization activities. They can conveniently take up as many spots as they want and just begin working. To make the process smooth the companies managing these co-working spaces, offer their clients a bouquet of end-to-end solutions. Including, round-the-clock IT infrastructural support, business grade internet, equipment for virtual existence and on-demand provision of meeting/conference rooms. Some of these companies also let their clients showcase banners and promotional props in their office premises.

Notably, it is observed that it becomes easier to comply with Covid-guidelines when the companies are opting for shared-working spaces. Regular fumigation, social distancing and appropriate seating arrangement is made sure by co-working space providers because most of these offices came into existence after Covid protocol became the way of life. Private cabins instead of common working space and enclosed rooms are what brands look for now, more than often the spots are taken up by corporates who have to work only on alternate days, leaving ample of time for proper sanitization. Most certainly, proper adherence to Covid protection norms and social distancing in terms of space between desks will become the parameter to follow while leasing-out or renting any shared working spaces. 

While co-working spaces are becoming trendy and opted-for, it is also observed that there is a shift in the style of providing shared working space. More and more space providers are now following the anchor customers system, wherein a company will expand to a new location and establish the office set-up only when they already have a major client on-board, i.e. when majority of space is already taken-up. As per industry experts, this alteration is a result of higher supply to demand ration. So now major players in the field are following the demand-based system, they plan to set up shared offices only when they have already gotten enough demand. 

Shared working spaces are booming in numerous non-metro cities across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Naidu, Chennai and Gujarat. Not just in India, the culture of co-working spaces has flourished across the world in most of the major economies, in Singapore and Hong Kong the companies are already planning to build an exclusive app dedicated to co-working. The app will help to check availability for spaces at various co-working offices and have all the details of the listed options. In the United States, it is reported that the rent for co-working spaces are skyrocketing in proportion to the demand.

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