A co-working office space refers to a shared office where employees, freelancers, startups or small business owners share same work environment while doing their respective tasks or assignments. In the past couple of years, co-working spaces have taken Indian real estate market by storm. The market has witnessed a massive growth in the demand for co-working offices. As per Colliers Research, more than 1.2 million sq ft were leased by co-working operators in India in 2016, which accounted for 3% of the overall leasing volume. Although, it represents only a small share of the total leasing demand, co-working operators are planning to lease 8 to 9 million sq ft by 2020. Some of the cities including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore are the current hubs of co-working spaces, with more than 70% of India’s co-working spaces. Currently, the focus is shifting towards smaller towns and Indian corporates appear to be no longer reluctant to explore this as an option for their real estate needs.
Facility management for co-working offices is a different ball-game as compared to regular facility management. Most of the co-working offices are currently located in multi-tenanted buildings where a collaboration between the facility manager and developer is integral to ensure the basic amenities and utilities are provided seamlessly.
Some of the key differentiators of managing a co-working vs. conventional office space are as below:
Community culture: Co-working offices thrive on the concept of community. A facility manager should ensure that the community culture is maintained and find novel ways to engage the occupants.
Data integrity: While the concept of community is a necessity for co-working offices, maintaining the sanctity of each clients’ data and intellectual property are equally important. Facility managers should define clear guidelines to be followed by all occupants to ensure that there is no breach of data or intellectual property (IP).
Hospitality: The facility manager must play a dual role of hospitality manager at the co-working office. The softer elements of a service and the human touch are very important to address the diverse needs of various occupants.
There has been a transition towards the next rung of facility management as the basic tenets of FM services are a given now, and the clients expect that the FM service providers should partner and provide the human elements of the environment.