Original Coverage by 99 Acres
The concept of co-working was first introduced in 1928 and has been subject to various definitions and interpretations over the years. Today, the term encapsulates the ideology of working independently yet together harmoniously in a shared workspace amongst like-minded individuals.
The charm of co-working spaces only appealed to emerging businesses and freelancers initially. However, bigger market players have now started showing interest in the concept and availing the services offered by shared workspaces. This growing demand and present supply have led to a significant change in the pricing and operational strategy of co-working spaces – making them inaccessible to MSMEs – who rely on them to build and scale their businesses. According to recent research, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) is regarded as the backbone of the Indian economy and contributes as much as 31 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Therefore, it is crucial to understand this gap and why there is an innate need for specialised workspaces for MSMEs.
Affordability: When starting a new business, the first aspect that is taken into consideration by self-funded entrepreneurs is budgeting of the minutest of expenses that need to be incurred. A large spent during this pre-disposition is the workspace. Renting an office with limited funding, members and income can be a challenge, as upkeep of even small offices can be expensive. Therefore, spaces that facilitate a healthy work environment without the hassle of managing everyday chores can significantly increase the chances of the new business to reach profitability faster. This is why co-working spaces have proven to be the best fit for growing ventures. Encouraging specialised spaces will help standardise the costing of centres and making them easily accessible to MSMEs.
Improve Competency: Business owners often have the option to work from flexible environments that enable them to control their surroundings. However, in most cases, the lack of dedicated workspace has proven to reduce productivity in the long run. Working from home, cafés or restaurants can cause unwarranted distractions. This is where co-working spaces come into the picture. One can access the space as per their schedule and likings without having to manage and maintain an entire office or work out of unorganised spaces. Shared spaces also open up opportunities to intermingle and network with industry patrons who can further help in boosting the businesses overall standing in the industry. External environment has the power to influence, encourage or discourage your actions, and impact conversations. This, in turn, has a significant impact on productivity. Studies also show that the people working at co-working spaces are approximately 70 percent more productive as compared to those working from homes or cafes. The reason behind this is that they get a conducive environment, surrounded by individuals dedicated to expand their business. Therefore, specialised spaces that encourage positive communication of thoughts and ideas can help raise the bar for the MSME industry.
Reduced efforts to search for office space: Juggling brokers and site visits along with setting up a business can be an extremely cumbersome and time-consuming task. Budget, location, facilities, and accessibility are key factors that need to be evaluated before narrowing down on the space that one would like to work from. Co-working spaces reduce this effort by offering MSMEs a well-managed space at a fraction of the cost, which would aid entrepreneurs in channelling their energy towards building their core business proposition.
MSME as an integral part of the economy: The MSME sector is diverse and sprawled across almost all flourishing fields of business. There are approximately 51 million MSMEs operating all over the country. These employ almost 40 percent of the total Indian workforce. Being a stakeholder for a large part of the working populous of the country, it needs a proper infrastructure to operate from.
Aid them to expand and develop: Networking is an essential part of a business that allows owners to expand their business. A co-working location offers an opportunity to connect with like-minded people, share ideas and may be open a platform for partnerships. Furthermore, co-working spaces organise workshops to help their members procure knowledge about the latest trends and development.
The Indian economy is growing at a much faster pace than anticipated. The start-up economy in India experienced a seven-fold growth in the past decade. Interestingly, two-third of MSMEs in India operate from smaller cities without initially being aware of the concept of co-working. However, in recent times there has been an accelerated increase in the demand for shared workspaces in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Therefore, for a start-up to turn into a unicorn business, it is quite imperative to be careful while selecting the base of their business.