Flexible workspaces are the pill for startups' longevity and success
Written by - Anurag Sharma, Marketing Head, Bhive Workspace
_____In the last five years, India has witnessed some of the most transformational developments - from becoming one of the largest startup hubs with over 84,000 entities to the rollout of the fifth generation of telecommunications and internet commerce, democratising and organising new sectors. These developments have significantly altered how we conduct business and lead our lives, making them more seamless and fulfilling. Interestingly, the underlying theme, among other factors turns out to be the proliferation of flexible workspaces, which has been rapidly gaining adoption in India by freelancers, small businesses or startups.
In end-2019, the total commercial real estate under the flexible office spaces market in India was spread over some 30 million square feet, with 471,782 seats across the top seven markets, according to a
report by international property consultant Jones Lang Lasalle.
By the end of last year, it is estimated that the numbers have grown to 50 million square feet and 750,000 seats. By 2025, the flexible workspace market is set to cross the 1-million-seats mark with approximately 1,030,000 seats under its fold in the top seven markets spread over 75 million square feet.
This significant expansion of flexible workspaces is a testament to its efficacy in providing the necessary impetus for new-age businesses.
Iron out challenges for new businesses
Starting up is one of the most challenging affairs in the world, which is why the very concept of ease
of doing business came into the picture. While founders focus on establishing the business model, setting up their base operations itself poses a host of challenges - from acquiring an office space with services essential to carry out the business, attracting talent and reducing hassles in running day-to-day operations to focus on the core objective- of running the business. These hassles tend to distract founders from their core objective, and flexible workspaces aim to do exactly that with their state-of-the-art tech-enabled offices, a host of services available in a no-frills manner, and an exciting space for collaboration and innovation.
These pillars become essential as they help establish the building blocks of any business. It becomes imperative to note here that acquiring an office space with IT, concierge, security, transportation and other services in a traditional office setup are a significant drag on revenues for
smaller companies and flexible workspaces, with their pay-per-seat model allow startups to acquire office setup and services at a fraction of the cost, which brings cost efficiencies.
Geographic democratisation of flexible workspaces crucial for startups
With metro cities like Bengaluru, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata already riding on a startup wave, smaller cities such as Jaipur, Coimbatore, and Lucknow are soon emerging as the new centres of growth for startups, with new-age businesses cropping up from across these cities. This democratisation has been happening in tandem with the development of flexible workspaces in smaller cities, which is providing the building blocks for starting up a new business. Here, the rise of flexible workspaces is also ushering in an ecosystem-wide change with the transformation of old offices into premium workspaces, elevating the service standards of vendors and creating opportunities for others to grow.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that startups and flexible workspaces are perfectly intertwined to suit each other's requirements and grow simultaneously. This, complemented by the various government-run initiatives such as Startup India, Digital India and Smart Cities to popularise startup culture, will inadvertently hinge on the mushrooming of flexible workspaces and the rise of sectoral spaces which caters to the nuanced needs of companies.
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