While opening a co-working space is a booming business these days, the market forces will very soon come into play and decide what type of sharing workspaces will survive in the long run.
It goes without saying that co-working spaces have emerged as the best alternative for conventional office set-up and even big corporations have realised its worth. And that’s the reason why even global companies want their employees to work along with freelancers and startups so that they get inspiration to innovate.
However, it doesn’t mean that all co-working spaces are ideal workspaces. Small co-working spaces might face challenges in their survival because co-working business is all about good facilities, positive environment and most important of all the community and a platform that links it all.
Maintain the fundamentals of co-working space
Like it happens in any other business, when the demand rises, all sort of players enter the market as suppliers but when the market stabilises, those who understand the fundamentals and adhere to that, survive and grow. The same applies to co-working spaces as well.
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Of late, a wide variety of co-working spaces have come up. While some cater to a particular working class, others are open for everyone. Some want to be vibrant and rocking; many others prefer a sober and quite environment. They decorate their interiors and develop infrastructures in keeping with the kind of community they want to build up.
Similarly, business models of co-working spaces also vary. Some co-working spaces offer a high standard of facilities and services, and they spend a good amount of money on their maintenance. Such co-working spaces are costly. The business model that they follow is small volumes but high fees. Even if the turnout low, the price makes up for the cost.
On the other hand, some co-working spaces want to have a high volume of attendance by lowering the cost and compromising with facilities and infrastructure.
But both types of co-working spaces must have certain basic requirements which sharing spaces need to have because the longevity of co-working business demands positive working environment which comes with everything that is of a reasonably good standard.
So how will a co-working space maintain a reasonably good level of services and create a positive atmosphere? The first and foremost requirement is a reasonably large working area.
Size matters for a co-working space
Though it’s tough to decide a particular size for an ideal co-working space, yet various experts say that a reasonable space that a good sharing workspace should offer more than 150 per sq ft for one person.
Since the realty sector is a new one and still evolving, many experts believe that small co-working spaces may find it difficult to survive because they will fail to create the infrastructure which is an essential and characteristic element of a co-working space.
In urban areas, realty prices are very high, and small players find it difficult to create large co-working spaces. So they start the business with small co-working spaces which can’t accommodate more than ten to fifteen professionals. With small workspaces, the revenue that they earn is also so low that they fail to meet the expectations of the entrepreneurs.
The vicious cycle of substandard services
Along with the small earnings, stiff competition may force owners of small co-working spaces to keep the prices low. At the low prices, they will not afford facilities such as high-speed internet, printers, fax machines, tea/coffee dispensers, well-furnished working areas, technology platform and day-to-day maintenance. If the quality of facilities suffers, it impacts the client. Since one affects the other, going by any principle of business, such working models don’t survive in the long run.
Professionals prefer separate working area and meeting rooms; a co-work space needs certain areas that can ensure privacy for an occasional private conversation. In a small co-work space, these are distant dreams.
Flexibility of timings and working area is the essential ingredient of any co-working space. One shouldn’t feel that he/she is not able to fulfil their day-to-day work and meetings. Since small co-work spaces run on a shoestring budget, they are mostly ill-equipped to offer round the clock services.
Small and congested working area is stressful
Price pressures force a small co-working space to accommodate many facilities in the available area, thereby making it congested and cluttered.
Studies have shown that if the working area is small and congested, it can cause stress and hamper the productivity of an employee. The negative impact of a congested working space may not be visible from the day one. However, it starts showing its ill effects after some time when the employee feels de-motivated and starts exhibiting a lack of interest in the assigned job. When the problem aggravates, the employee starts remaining absent from work.
Community makes or breaks a co-working space
The size of a co-working space also has a co-relation with the community it will develop. If the first step of co-working business goes wrong, the overall growth remains doubtful.
In a lot of cases, it has been observed that people join co-working spaces because they look for a community to associate themselves proudly with. The community of workers complements each other by extending help in various ways. This provides mental satisfaction to a lot of employees. While one section loves to mentor, the other enjoys that guidance and learning.
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This kind of inspirational relationship doesn’t develop in a traditional office set up, and that’s why co-working spaces have become a preferred destination for companies all over the world.
If the co-working space is small, it might not attract good professionals who help build a good community.
A co-working space can turn out to be the best alternative for a conventional office space only if it provides an inspirational atmosphere and creative environment. An emotionally appealing workspace does have some physical requirement, and the physical area is the most prominent out of all. Any compromise with space in a co-working space may not be promising for its future growth.
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