The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Sharing Workspaces

Co-working spaces are common shared spaces where all office amenities and infrastructures are shared between two organizations.

The Benefits And Pitfalls Of Sharing Workspaces

Co-working spaces can be rented out on an hourly, daily or monthly basis.

With a surge in the number of start-ups in the country, firms are also facing a space crunch. Thus, the idea of co-working spaces is gathering pace among start-ups. In fact, the demand for co-working space has seen a rampant rise in 2018. Co-working spaces are common shared spaces where all office amenities and infrastructures are shared between two organizations. According to a report by real estate consultancy Knight Frank, co-working offices took up 2 million square feet space in the first three months of 2018, surpassing the tally for last year.  This number is set to triple over the next three years, the report said. Co-working spaces that can be rented out on an hourly, daily or monthly basis, are now being offered by several firms. 

 Co-working space is an area where unlike and like-minded people share a common working infrastructure. The basic idea is to work, connect, grow and let the other aspects get automated. Abhishek Kumar Gupta, CEO & Co-Founder, Hackerspace said, "The companies which are financially capable can obviously afford to find, design, customize, furnish and make the arrangements but this is not possible with companies that are financially not that sound, mainly for start-ups. Co-working spaces are trying to solve these problems." 

Popularity of co-working spaces

Start-ups in our country are expanding their footprints. The funding for start-ups, however, is limited.  Keeping the cost-cutting aspect in mind and also the requirement of a place in terms of workspace has led to a further rise in demand for co-working spaces. 

"A co-working space opens up incredible opportunities for start-ups to concentrate more on solving problems. Setting up the offices and managing everything from the maintenance to office supplies is taken care of by the co-working space", said Mr Gupta.

Indian start-ups and the growth of the startup ecosystem is a major driver behind the growing co-working space industry.  According to Vipul Shah, Managing Director, Parinee Group, "In this dynamic environment, it is a desire for a start-up entrepreneur to cope with the advanced mechanisms and also consider the essentialities and importance of a modern work space. Taking the commercial aspect into consideration, it is ideal for the start-ups to go for co-working spaces."

Pricing of co-working spaces

When we talk about start-ups, they are limited when it comes to finances. Co-working spaces gives them an economical option. The pricing models are flexible for co-working spaces. There are different pricing plans like monthly, hourly and daily plans for fixed and open space.

Traditional offices vs co-working spaces

Traditional office spaces are outmoded and it takes more money to set them up and maintain them. It requires effort and a lot of hand-holding to make it work best. There is less flexibility in terms of costing, maintenances and agility. In comparison to these traditional spaces, the co-working spaces cost less.

"A co-working space adds to the employee experience by solving the location puzzle faced by early stage start-ups. Easily accessible locations are hard to afford and this becomes a major challenge to attract talent.  However, the sharing office structure comes with no liabilities and added amenities which are unlike traditional offices", added Mr Gupta.

Challenges faced by start-ups in a co-working space

Undoubtedly, co-working spaces are benefitting start-ups; still one cannot ignore the other facet of the coin. Sharing the same working infrastructure can often be challenging. Cyber-security is something that requires concern while working in a co-working space. Safeguarding intellectual property and sensitive information can be a problem for companies and special arrangements need to be made in that case.

"In a co-working space, several organisations work under the same roof. Thus, the privacy factor gets questionable at times as people get to know about the clients or third parties visiting their office in case two or more organizations belong to the same industry or field. Then there is a question of availability. There is a common conference room. Suppose, if at the same time the requirement of conducting a meeting arises for more than one organization, it might get difficult for both the organizations trying to avail the same space," added Mr Shah.

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