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Future of and Pivotal Changes in Co-Working Spaces

14th August, 2021

1. Mr. Sumit Nagar - Senior Community Manager, Spring House Coworking
2. Ms Richa Agarwal - Sr. Consulting Partner, Grey Cell
3. Mr. Niyas Muhammed - General Manager and Co working Division Head, Innerspace India
4. Ms. Malvika Singh Gaur - Founder / CEO, Cwtch India
5. Mr. Idris Bakri - Marketing Manager, Oie and Co

The discussion was led by Mr Sumit Nagar. He stated the reasons for people to choose Co- working spaces as flexibility, facilities provided and community. In his opinion, operating out of Coworking spaces creates an interaction between the community wherein discussions around business take place. He has observed and the sales figures pointed out to him that due to   Covid   19   pandemic,   people   were   opting   for   co-working   spaces   as   it   helps   them increase/maintain their productivity. Further, he stated that the trend has been Start-ups opting for the spaces for they do not have to invest huge capital into renting out the spaces. The next speaker, Ms. Richa Agarwal focused on the demand of co-working spaces and how one needs to explore their business and market before opting to operate from a Coworking space. She explained how our needs have evolved over time, for example, earlier, internet cafes also were used as co-working spaces. However, now a professional space like a Coworking space provides an identity and anchor to business in her opinion.

Here are the considerations that she mentioned for an organisation to think deeply about before operating out of a Coworking Space:
1. Mode of working
2. Nature of work/business
3. Purpose and benefits from operating out of a Coworking space 

In her opinion the industries which opt for co-working spaces are IT, Marketing, PR, Consultancies,   Freelancing.   She   also   mentioned   that   implementation   and   execution   of Organisational culture does not depend on, from where an employee/a team is working, it trickles down from the top and depends entirely on an organisation. One strong statement she made was, “Finding for like-minded people translates into setting up the organisational culture right there.”

Mr. Niyas Mohammed concentrated on the design and creativity aspect of the co-working space. He enlightened us with the fact that, certain Coworking spaces have their own lock-in period for reservation of the desk/workspaces. He also strongly mentioned that Coworking is here to stay. In his experience up until now, MNCs too, have chosen a shared space as they
are required to cut down on the costs. Further, since this pandemic has led to organisations cutting down their costs from every angle possible, Coworking spaces have turned out to be viable model. When asked about how Coworking spaces allow creativity t flow in, he replied saying, “Creativity blooms in Coworking spaces as one gets to interact with other people and
network. This also helps people get a different perspective.” Whereas time management is concerned, it differs from person to person, whether operating out of a Coworking space or not does not affect time management is what he said. 

Having spoken of the benefits of the Coworking spaces, Ms Malvika also pointed out that a Coworking space is a ‘temporary situation’, and one would enjoy it only for a while. According to her, some people might prefer privacy over going to work in a space full of people.   In   her   view,   a   Content   Writer   might   not   choose   this   as   he/she   might   need
concentration to bring up a great piece. For her, privacy is the main concern when operating out of co-working spaces. However, she does consider it as a psychological factor. For her
people working in Events, Marketing and communication might want to follow this new culture.

Mr. Idris spoke about how a Coworking space should provide assurance that the place is safe in terms of the current pandemic situation. Since he is a Marketing manager at a café that also provides with shared spaces, he thinks that when operating out of a café-coworking space, sanitisation plays a big role. He also stated that, price of the food and beverages plays an equally important role since people are not always in the mindset to spend exorbitant money for a day’s work. He told us that for some people, it is to come to such spaces, have a small bite and get going. Catering to the needs of the people is very important while running a cafe as a Coworking space is what he explained through illustrations. He continued saying that people from all age groups go to cafes to do their work, but the “vibe” with which they come differs. Hence, mapping the audience takes a central role to provide and design the space suiting each customer’s needs is what he ended his talk with.

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