Hipsters, freelancers, startups - this is the set of associations that haunts coworking. You will certainly meet there both those and others, and the third, but the collective portrait of the resident, as well as the phenomenon of coworking itself, has seriously changed in recent years
When programmer Brad Newberg, a pioneer of coworking, first opened a new format office at the home of the Spiral Muse feminist community in San Francisco, he probably did not expect his “invention” to be world famous and widespread. Coworking confidently entered modern urban life: their number and geography of presence continue to grow both in the West and in other countries, including Russia.
According to statistics, for the first quarter of 2019, in Moscow, which accounts for about 90% of flexible spaces in Russia, there are more than 100 of them operating. It also leads in the total area of flexible workspaces among the capitals of Eastern Europe. Analysts' forecasts for the future are also optimistic: in the next few years, an annual growth of the coworking segment by 30-40% is expected in Moscow. Now coworking is not just a local initiative of enthusiasts, but a growing business niche, an actively discussed trend in the office real estate market and a component of the lifestyle of many entrepreneurs and specialists in various fields of activity. What influenced the evolution of workspaces and what coworkings today determine the lifestyle of the metropolitan business community?
Obviously, the phenomenon of coworking came to us from the West. According to popular belief, the prototype of coworking was community centers for entrepreneurs, as well as hackerspace - spaces that appeared in the United States and Germany in the mid-90s to communicate with people with similar interests in technical and scientific fields. The first coworking was opened in 2005 in San Francisco by the programmer Brad Newberg. He existed on membership dues, and his office was located in the house of the feminist community Spiral Muse. In addition to jobs, Newberg also offered co-working residents free Wi-Fi, meditation breaks, joint bike rides and lunches.
Coworking appeared later in Russia - in 2008, when Alexey Glazkov, now the ideologist of the Russian coworking movement, opened the Tower project in Yekaterinburg. Later, coworking became widespread in Moscow and other Russian cities. The turning point in the development of the coworking segment on the Russian market from the moment they appeared to the present is the period from 2014 to 2016 (some experts note the period from 2014 to 2015). The economic crisis in Russia contributed to a sharp jump in demand for coworking: both from the growing number of individual entrepreneurs and startups, and from corporations that were forced to look for ways to optimize costs.
It was then that the number of coworking increased by more than half, and the coworking itself proved to be a potential full-fledged replacement for the office for both some specialists and some companies, having received a powerful incentive for growth and development in subsequent years. An important trend in 2017 was the expansion of the geography of coworking: spaces were opened in New Moscow and in the nearby suburbs. From 2018 to the beginning of 2019, the coworking segment still continued and continues to be at the formation stage, while experiencing strong growth and cultural transformation.
The following factors contribute to the growth and transformation of coworking today: the development of digital and IT technologies that improve remote communication formats; focus on millennials who value mobility and flexibility and strive to maintain a balance between work and personal life; development of the phenomenon of digital nomads ("digital nomads"); the formation of a culture of joint consumption as a component of the economy of consumption (sharing economy), which implies the collective use of resources and services.
Quite often, the concept of “coworking” in Russia is synonymous with the concept of “flexible workspace,” since this format of office real estate has arisen relatively recently. Such a space, as a rule, implies several options for renting a workplace, namely: non-fixed workplace, fixed workplace and mini-office. Their average cost is 13,700 rubles / month, 18,700 rubles / month and 21,400 rubles / month, respectively, while renting spaces in the Moscow-City MIBC will cost the most.
Some metropolitan coworking seek in addition to the standard set of services to offer additional services. Thus, Workki pays special attention to events for residents, while Plaza Workstation offers as a separate service accommodation in a capsule hotel.
In general, the choice of coworking in Moscow is quite wide, but we picked up the top ten optimal options for all working occasions:
- SOK - a network of smart offices of a new generation, which focuses on three components: Service, Office, Knowledge;
- CEO Rooms - a network of premium coworking for work and business meetings;
- Deworkacy - a network of business spaces with its own technology hub for the development of corporate innovation;
- Tablitсa - coworking, operating within a hybrid space with its own event platform, restaurant and rooftop park;
- Cabinet Lounge - the first club-style coworking that appeared in Moscow, located in a historic mansion, designed by architect Fedor Shekhtel;
- Telegraph by rent24 - coworking with a conference room in the building of the Central Telegraph on Tverskaya, separately focusing on progressive IT projects;
- The key (Klyuch) - the first Russian tech hub “Klyuch” originated in St. Petersburg, and now has grown to a whole network in Moscow, where they offer a platform for business of any scale;
- Workstation - one of the main advantages for workaholics: the possibility of round-the-clock work;
- SREDA - only 200 jobs, but with a view of the whole Moscow in the City;
- Meeting Point - focuses on the "representative level", providing VIP mini-offices, team-offices and meeting rooms.
This, of course, does not end the list of Moscow coworking. For example, following the Regus operator, WeWork, one of the world's largest coworking networks, is preparing for a record deal for the Russian market that will usher in the opening of Russia's largest coworking on the territory of Moscow-City MIBC. In the same place, in the Federation Tower, it is planned to open a new coworking site for the SOK network of Igor Rybakov.
The growing role of coworking in the life of the business community is also evidenced by the appearance of the first events dedicated to coworking spaces. So, at the end of 2018, the first Russian Coworking Awards was held. She was presented in 15 nominations, reflecting the characteristics that often become decisive when choosing coworking. Such characteristics are design and architectural solution, space flexibility, infrastructure, manufacturability, service, social benefits, opportunities for events and the exchange of experience, social benefits.
Today, the target audience of coworking is focused on the atmosphere that they are able to create. This is an informal setting. Residents choose not only a space for work, but also people with whom they want to interact on a professional level.
There are other formats for coworking. So, coworking can be specialized (conceptual), uniting workers of the same industry. For example, in Moscow there are Neuron Hackspace, uniting technical specialists, “Architectural coworking”, beauty co-workers for masters of the beauty industry.
In addition, there are coworking groups that unite residents on a social basis. For example, coworking for women who have recently started appearing in Russia (for example, coworking “Mom works”). In Western countries, this format has become more widespread - some coworking for women has already grown into international organizations, the largest of which are Hera Club, RISE, The Riveter, The Wing.
American Coworking Senior Planet, designed for people of 60 years, also gained wide popularity. It operates in six states and is owned by the charity organization Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which also plans to open new spaces in Spain and Japan. It would be wrong to say that in Russia there are no such initiatives: they exist, but in a different format - mainly as social projects, within the framework of which interest clubs are created for older people. Today, the coworking segment reflects, to a rather serious degree, the cultural transformations taking place in society. This is more pronounced in the West, but it is already obvious that in Russia this trend will develop.
So, coworking is evolving both under the influence of market conditions, and depending on how the potential tenant changes. Obviously, in recent years, Russian coworking has taken serious steps towards the transformation of corporate clients. So, one of the last key transactions between coworking and the corporation was the Workki coworking deal, the area of which was leased by Yandex.Market.
Speaking about the interest of corporations in the coworking segment, Workki Coworking Property Management Director Yevgeny Ovchinnikov explains: “Many large corporations need premises for temporary project teams. This explains the high demand for coworking and smart-offices. Also, many companies rent ready-made premises in coworking for the period of repairs in their offices or the construction of new headquarters. ” Nevertheless, the share of companies among tenants is still small, and today the youngest professionals and small teams remain the largest audience of metropolitan coworking.
In Western countries, the target audience of coworking is increasingly changing towards corporate-format clients. A number of companies also cooperate with operators to open offices for an individual project and further manage coworking. Even the most successful and large multinationals have long appreciated the benefits of using such sites. So, Google and Facebook a few years ago transferred the creative part of the staff to network coworking. From time to time, large-scale business structures need stress tests. Working in huge classic offices, people begin to “burn out”, they lose their excitement in work and the desired mood. Coworking helps shake teams. "Neighborhood with very different startup teams, exchange of experience and spontaneous cooperation formats help bring specialists to their tone."
As for Russia, here, too, "there is a tendency to expand the target audience of coworking, but it is less clearly expressed." “At the moment, the majority of coworking tenants are the millennials. They do not think of themselves in a standard office environment. Such people need work sites where they can get new connections, useful contacts and opportunities for development. Among the residents of these offices there are a large number of talented freelancers, which large companies can notice and attract to participate in various projects. ”
It would seem that coworking has significant advantages, such as the possibility of short-term leases, efficient use of the workspace, the tenant does not need to invest in the repair of premises, the purchase of furniture and equipment, the presence of a large number of specialists from different fields of activity, which allows you to make new business contacts.
However, does this mean that in the future, coworking will become a complete replacement for traditional offices?
Coworking is already a serious competitor to classic offices, but due to the fact that the volume of offers in coworking is much lower than the classic lease (the share of coworking in the total supply of office space in Moscow is only 1%), this is not felt so much. Gradually, with the increase in the number of coworking spaces, competition will become stronger. In addition, the market will be consolidated. Non-network players will be absorbed by network players or simply leave the market. Spaces discovered in unsuccessful locations will also be closed due to economic inefficiency.
Obviously, in addition to the benefits of coworking, there are also weaknesses for both the lessor and the lessee. Among the negative factors of the format, the following stand out: small experience and a set of competencies for specific work in the market for a number of companies, risks of increased costs due to the structure of lease agreements and lack of silence and privacy. Some analysts also note a lack of confidentiality and a negative effect on the business image of tenants.
Most likely, the coworking and traditional office segments will develop in parallel. There will always be companies on the market with a conservative management model that prefer offices, but the coworking format will continue to evolve, transforming the lifestyle of the business community.