In a few years, many offices could be "coworking"
No one can deny that the digital age has been the fourth revolution of humanity. Our life is changing at a dizzying pace and, as a consequence, also the environments in which we develop it. In recent years, alternatives to homes and workplaces have emerged as we understood them. In order to know and debate about this transformation, LA RAZÓN convened the colloquium "The opinion of the investor on the new space needs "as a service", "coworking","coliving" and "cohousing", in which Jesús Vicente Asenjo participated, director of Merlin Properties; Sandra Daza, general director of Gesvalt; Zulema Canosa, senior associate of Meridia Capital; Rafael de Ramón, CEO of Utopicus; Cruz Guijosa, director of Cresa and Carlos Aguirre, CEO of 3g Smart Group.
The coworking, that in some occasions was described like a fashion, already has demonstrated that it is a reality. And it has not stopped growing to represent 2% of total offices in Madrid. In the capital and in Barcelona, this type of work spaces has been the most successful "in which to meet, share values, trust and ways of doing things," De Ramón explained. But in other cities such as Seville or Valencia have also gained prominence to the point that Spain has been ranked as the third country in the world with more "coworkings."
And that in our country they face an obstacle, the legislation. Daza said that "in Spain we have a valuation policy (of real estate) of 30 years ago and, although it has undergone some modifications, it is difficult to adapt it to the new market trends. That is why companies are a bit constrained.
Despite these complications, coworking has a very promising future. Asenjo believes that they can "represent a very high percentage of the offices, it will depend on the companies that occupy them being given a fully equipped space". For his part, Guijosa said that "flexibility will be the most important thing for coworking to evolve." According to her, this feature will be the one most demanded by the companies because, in this way, they can transform them for the purposes of contracting projects, reducing or expanding personnel, or contract terms.
Although predictions are made, the truth is that it is difficult to imagine the future of coworking. In this sense, Aguirre said that "we do not know where the model is going" and he gives as an example that 3g Smart Group has already received proposals to integrate them into residential spaces, something that in the principles of "coworking" seemed unthinkable.
In fact, the current model is no longer similar to its beginnings. Before I was more oriented towards "freelance" and towards "startups" (entrepreneurs), but now it is not like that. "They have had an interesting drift towards small and medium-sized companies," Aguirre added, and Daza stressed that this has been vital since SMEs are the ones that make up the Spanish business fabric (98%, specifically).
Large companies have also been interested in coworking. Some, Asenjo said, "want a third of their spaces to be flexible." But not only have the "coworking" applicants changed, but also their investors, who are no longer exclusively from the real estate sector. "Investors from other groups have done profitability analysis and the numbers come out. It's a matter of money, and they bet on it," said Guijosa.
Similarly, the way of understanding coworking has varied considerably since its inception. Many people will still think of a large and open space, with tables and computers in which different professionals gather to do their work. However, "there are fewer and fewer open spaces", Asenjo admitted, and they have "remained for ample 'back office',"added De Ramón.
Precisely, among the problems of coworking are excesses. You can not include too large a group of people within the same space since "from a certain number a community can be broken because contact is lost," Aguirre said, "so that within the same space, others should be created More smalls."
Another problem can be the loss of identity of the company. Which can happen if the only intention you have when installing in a "coworking" is "put your logo and corporate colors everywhere." And it is easy to fall into that mistake, many companies have done it. Aguirre assured that there are people who go to 3g Smart Group and he tells us to do a "coworking", we ask him why and he does not know how to give us an answer.
However, according to him, the first thing that is needed by a company that wants to undertake this model is "understand how you want to work, how is your team to make the leap to" coworking "and what space you need." Daza, which belongs to Gesvalt, a company that has changed its headquarters less than two years ago, stated that "one of the first things that must be considered is how you want your work process to be. And so, modify, innovate and provide your employees with a better way to do that job." Carrying out this reflection, the identity is not lost, but reinforced.
Beyond sharing the work environment, new ways of sharing the home have also emerged. This is known as "coliving", which in Spain encounters the same obstacle as "coworking," the regulations. For Canosa, "we are prepared for the" coliving "at user level, but not to the urbanistic because of the legislation." The problem, he added, "is in what ground you fit this model with. With the residential one could not compete in terms of price and with the tertiary can not by regulation". Therefore, "the solution is to look for a dotacional floor."
On the other hand, it is understood that the clients of the "coliving" have, above all, a low age profile, since they are the ones who most demand (and are willing) shared housing alternatives, and the lifelong university residences give a good account of it. However, the model has been increasingly open to the elderly, who can find in a "coliving" not only continued assistance, but also common areas adapted to their needs.
Finally, Zulema Canosa explained that the "coliving" consists of "large buildings with private rooms and large common areas", while the "cohousing" is composed of private houses grouped around a single community, such as Entrepatios in Madrid or The Arcadias in Barcelona. Both will be two ways of sharing a home that we will have to get used to because, like coworking, they are growing trends that have come to stay.