NOW that small-scale enterprises and independent entrepreneurs are gaining more freedom and flexibility in the way they conduct business, the coworking industry continues to pick up with more spaces in this set up are expected to mushroom elsewhere in the world, according to one of the owners of a leading hybrid instant office provider in the country.
“It’s a buzz word that we hear a lot nowadays. But to simply put it, it’s a shared office where people from different backgrounds come in to work and either test their ideas, meet or interact with people,” Acceler8 Cofounder Mikko Barranda said during the launching of Clock In by Ayala Land Offices last week.
As a thriving industry, coworking has grown by leaps and bounds. Back in 2011, there were only about 1,000 shared office spaces worldwide.
“In the past 15 to 24 months, we’ve seen a lot of coworking spaces opened globally,” the top executive noted, while citing that their numbers will reach 14,000 by end of this year.
Locally, there are around 13 to 20 centers that now offer workspaces for sharing, most of which are in Makati and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The most recent of it all being the 400-square-meter Clock In, whose understated and modern interiors begin with a reception lobby and lounge that lead to a sprawling floor plan of shared work spaces, a meeting room, 15 private offices enclosed in glass, a breakout area and a pantry.
Seated at the penthouse of the Makati Stock Exchange building along Ayala Avenue, this pioneering serviced work-space hub of Ayala Land Offices has a seating capacity of 107 people.
Given the manifold opportunities, one might enjoy from working in this unconventional office environment, more and more start-ups or entrepreneurs will be attracted to come aboard.
In fact, by 2020, it is estimated that people working out of coworking spaces across the globe will hit close to 3.8 million. Meanwhile, there will be 10 million freelancers in Southeast Asia projected to make 40 percent of the work force in the next three years.
Barranda said about 10 percent, or around 1 million, of them will be Filipinos, as there are a “good number of freelancers already here” at present.
The strong demand for rooms to cowork could be attributed to the rising generation of millennials, or those who were born in 1980 onward.
Other contributing factors would be the success of entrepreneurship and shared economy.
There are three salient features that make coworking spaces a phenomenon the world over, the cofounder of Acceler8 said.
These are flexibility, innovation and collaboration, he enumerated.
Seeing that more and more industry players will enter the field in the coming years, he revealed the trends that are expected to emerge.
For one, coworking spaces will soon go corporate, as well, as big organizations will, likewise, seek to have their own place there, going out of the comfort zones of traditional office buildings.
Barranda noted, for instance, banking giant HSBC that recently rented more than 300 desks in a coworking place in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong for its digital and transformation team.
It is also expected that work environment with amenities to share will become specialized, catering to niche market for people of the same field.
“Spaces will appear, where you might not expect,” he stressed. Borrowing a quote from Hatch Today Partner Rahul Prakash, he said, “The word cowering won’t be a word in the future, it will probably just be the way we work.”