Envisioning the Future of Tech-Enabled Co-working Spaces

Envisioning the Future of Tech-Enabled Co-working Spaces

What are your views on the evolving landscape of PropTech and coworking spaces?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have found a new way of maintaining their business continuity and it is through hybrid working. This shift from traditional on-premise working to hybrid working with employees splitting their time between home, a local workspace, and an HQ has, in turn, started decentralising how a business typically operates. 

Now, the popularity of this remote working culture is also offering a secondary benefit to businesses. They realise that leveraging remote working can give them a never-before opportunity in breaking out of their hyperlocal status (for SMEs particularly) and serve a much wider audience across the world. And, many businesses are now looking at coworking spaces to support their hybrid workers at different locations. Because, when compared to traditional office spaces, coworking spaces incur a significantly lower operational cost and yet, helps in creating a sense of community among the remote employees by offering some semblance of a conventional workspace. 

So what does this sudden popularity mean for coworking space managers and owners? It means we have to scale up our competencies as well to make the most of this favourable time. But before that, we need to focus on the areas where we can improve our offerings and services for the businesses using the coworking spaces. And it is needless to mention that we have all the necessary technologies at our disposal to streamline all the complexity in the back-end and provide a single platform for our business and customers.

What are the challenges for coworking space owners and managers in the present landscape?

At present, three primary challenges are challenging co working space owners and their managers. The first is to identify what minimum set of standards they want to comply with based on the geographies in which they operate. While this doesn’t sound like much of a challenge in itself, setting a set of operational standards is really difficult for entities maintaining coworking spaces around the globe. And the challenge primarily stems from different country-specific regulations around technology implementation.

The second and third challenge is around the scalability and simplicity of the technology stack. There is no denying that we need to make our technology stack flexible and scalable enough to incorporate any new pieces of technology and support any increase in overall users. But while doing so, we also need to keep in mind the aspect of simplicity. Unless the technologies in use are simple and consumable by every user of the coworking space, it won’t benefit the space owners and managers in the long run. A suggestion would be to follow the Amazon or Uber-esque approach, where you have a single portal that deals with all the complexity in the background but gives an awesome user and customer experience.

Could you highlight some key pointers in successfully managing the coworking terrain?

Keeping the current uncertainty of the global market in mind, I would suggest that we should focus more on an interoperable and integrated technology stack and move towards becoming vendor agnostic. This will mitigate your dependency on a single technology vendor, which will eventually free you up to experiment with more diverse and innovative pieces of technology like smart lock and access systems, facial recognition tools, and so on.

“When compared to traditional office spaces, coworking spaces incur a significantly lower operational cost and yet, helps in creating a sense of community among the remote employees by offering some semblance of a conventional workspace.”

Besides, the aspect of scalability is another critical aspect to keep in mind. The recent trends suggest that coworking spaces will be the next step up from on-premise working. It is primarily because they are cost-effective, and enable networking opportunities, and provide a safe and secure environment to work. These factors will not only help businesses to achieve satisfaction among employees but also increase organisational productivity and achieve success. So, we need to be prepared for a heightened demand in the coming months. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic might not be a stand-alone instance. So if some similar unprecedented catastrophe hits us overnight in the future, we should be able to support all our clients at the earliest.

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