Sparsh Khandelwal, Founder & CEO, Stylework, aims to make co-working accessible and convenient for all working individuals in India. A 25-year-old bright young entrepreneur, he always wanted to live the dream of being an entrepreneur and inspire more individuals who share a similar dream along the way. He initiated modular architecture research in his 3rd year of B.Tech, which came in as an opportunity today to use his skillsets as a successful co-working aggregator. He then set out to become the founder and lead executive at Cubes. Khandelwal’s research design rested on a nested loop as an automated shared economy which manifests into the introduction of a tech-enabled co-working platform that aggregates, manages and handles flexible workspaces for customers with relevant space, ensuring a great experience every time!
Like many industries, coworking operators and aggregators have taken a hard hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as employers and employees alike have grown wary of working from home, coworking spaces are poised to make a comeback as a part of the emerging hybrid work model. What began as a movement twelve years ago has grown into a full-fledged industry that has completely changed the way people lease and uses office space. Despite the temporary setback created by the lockdown, most co-working spaces are now experiencing a good resurgence, and most players are hopeful about the industry’s recovery. Coworking spaces are now doing well and witnessing robust operations. The post lockdown scenario is bringing in a wave of new opportunities for coworking players. Though work from home may co-exist, office spaces will surely not lose their importance.
In the last 20 years, the modern office has gone through a number of changes. The early 2000s saw the death of cubicles and the rise of open floorplans and then in 2015, offices got flooded with foosball and ping pong tables. Whereas now, post-pandemic, flexibility is what everyone wants. Employees now want flexibility on when and where they work, and it often becomes difficult to provide such kind of flexibility in traditional offices. The business benefits of remote working have been known for years now, however; it took a global pandemic to fully convince businesses to embrace the remote working model. The future of work is hybrid, and companies need to prepare for it. 2022 is expected to show the highest growth since coworking has come up as an industry.
The rise in flexible workspaces over the past few years is also because of technological advancements. The co-working industry leverages technology to provide all-in-one workspace solutions for everyone with advanced features like real-time availability, bidding, dynamic pricing, flexible membership plans and much more, covering all aspects of customer needs. Technology has allowed companies to manage their workspace solutions with ease and get access to premium facilities in the blink of an eye. Besides the advanced technology, product experience, and lifetime value for consumers are other competitive advantages. Co-working aggregators help you simplify the process by accumulating the best workspace listings in one place and by providing a smooth user experience through their specially designed application and website.
It is not wrong when we say that a hybrid work model brings together the best of both worlds, i.e., you get to work in an office setup while being in your hometown. Because we all know, that as appealing as work from home sounds, with time the boundaries between work and home start fading, which is when you realise the importance of an office setup. Walk to work or mini-drive to work models have brought an impactful change in the economic paradigm structure, not just for people working in tier 1 cities but also for employees working from tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Companies are giving out passes to their employees for coworking spaces in their hometowns so that they can work in an inclusive environment that has all the basic amenities required in an office. From the last decade, the coworking industry has grown at a normal pace but 2022 is expected to witness growth at a 4x speed globally. It’s crucial to remember that, despite the fact that businesses are shedding office space, offices are far from dead. The office is changing, and one of the most important aspects of that change is improved flexibility and agility.
Without a doubt, the pandemic accelerated office trends that we expected to take place 8-10 years in the future. More and more companies are now adopting business models such as Hub & Spoke, Decentralised and Centralised because permanent virtual work can cripple innovation and creativity since we all miss out on the planned and spontaneous in-person interactions that spark ideas. By now India has 3,500 flex workspaces but by the end of 2022, India is listed to hold around 11,000 centres. The current market valuation for the coworking industry is 4-5 billion dollars which are expected to go up to 15-20 billion dollars by 2022. This would empower aggregators like Stylework to consolidate and create a niche for corporates to avail. Coworking might just become the next hot market.
The coworking industry has come a long way since its beginning in the late-2000s. Despite the pandemic, coworking spaces have proved to be extremely resilient, and in fact, is primed for growth as it adapts and caters to the new remote work trend. If coworking spaces are now rooting for a brighter future, coworking space providers need to reassess their floor planning because, in order to adapt to the situation today, shared spaces need to be adjusted for better safety and social distancing. For coworking spaces to witness a boom in 2022, it is highly essential for employees to feel at ease in these spaces and in order to make sure that this happens, spaces need to adopt different hygiene methods. The coworking space providers are also investing in online community development to stay attuned to the changing scenario. There is still a lot to be done, but people appreciate the importance of community and staying connected now more than ever. There is hope for coworking space to recover and continue rising in 2022.