There’s a lot of difference between commercial office space, serviced offices and coworking spaces, when it comes to marketing them and filling up your empty seats. Office space depends hugely on the location and the rate per square feet in that area.
Apart from the location, the success of serviced offices also depends on the facilities, features and community. But coworking spaces are a different breed, since there’s no commitment required.
You’d think that it would be harder to keep cowork desks occupied, but that’s not so. We market both serviced offices and coworking space in Bangalore, at different locations across the city.
The occupancy in the coworking space was a bit low to start with, but has steadily risen to around 30% of regular customers and the rest in walk-ins and daily online bookings.
The serviced offices, on the other hand, are much harder to fill. There’s a lot of inventory at a couple of locations that are out of the way, and marketing it is proving to be a much harder nut to crack. So let’s look at that part – why is coworking easier to market than serviced offices or commercial office space?
It’s not so cool anymore to launch your startup business from your parents’ garage. But if you don’t have the funding to set up a proper office, you can still get all the benefits of your own office in a coworking space – minus the costs. No deposits, no long-term lockdowns. You just walk in, pay by the hour or day, and walk out without any commitments for the next day.
At the end of the month, it works out to be hugely cost effective. For growing startups, a coworking space is an easy and fast way to scale. We have one new coworking space that is located in the same business center that also offers serviced office space.
Many of the startups that were previously located in the building are now taking up coworking space in addition to their existing offices to support expansion and growth. Without the cowork space, they probably would not have taken up another office cubicle, or even moved to a bigger one.
2. It’s trendy
Office space providers have to understand that startups and freelancers don’t come to them for the space. They take up space for all the other reasons that will make their business successful – footfall, customers located nearby, talent availability, a community, networking opportunities, mentorship, etc.
It’s easy to see how all this becomes far easier in a coworking space, as compared to the closed walls of commercial spaces where you don’t get to meet anyone. The new breed of startups and freelancers understands this very well, and they prefer to take advantage of this by coworking.
3. No geographic limitations
When you launch a startup or your own consultancy service, you have an office in one specific location. As the business grows and you get to the next stage, you have to relook the space and location.
It’s a big decision at that time to relocate, since it involves costs and potential for business disruption. But there are no such challenges if you’re a coworking startup. Your office is where you are – it could be another area at the other end of your own city, or it could be any other city in the world.
Continuing from the point above, you can be anywhere in the world, and you can access a coworking space that’s connected in some way to the one back home that you use regularly. It’s not about six degrees of separation, but the fact that the coworking community is so vast and so well connected that you can easily get a referral to a coworking space from someone you know.
In fact, there are service providers and coworking search portals that allow you to get a membership that gives you access to workspace at coworking spaces across the world.
Commercial office cubicles just can’t compete with this kind of freedom and flexibility. That’s why the future of office space is tilting fast towards coworking. You will still have large companies with their own executive suites and cubicles for staffers, but that’s going to be less in vogue as time goes by.