Women-centric Coworking Spaces boosting Women Entrepreneurs
The concept of coworking spaces has grown recently in India and in close tandem with the startup boom nationwide. From startups to social entrepreneurs and SMEs alike, majority of freelance and remote workers are preferring flexible office spaces to socialize, collaborate and network. With this concept of shared offices spreading across to Tier II cities in India and not just the major cities, many women entrepreneurs are looking at starting their business at places conducive to work.
Coworking spaces are meant for every professional. The creative work environment that these facilitate, nurtures the new generation of innovators, which includes both men and women. Though women form half of the workforce in today’s progressive businesses, the fact is that the percentage of men is higher among the users of these coworking spaces as compared to the women.
In the wake of gender equality and gender diversity, many Indian corporations have brought more women on the board, at different levels of responsibility, over the past few years. Women Entrepreneurs and Working Moms have been grabbing the headlines across the corporate world, not only in India but across the globe. There has never been a better time for female business executives and entrepreneurs to step into the limelight.
What else could have triggered the Need for Women-centric Coworking Spaces?
Let us talk about another factor that influences the work culture for women everywhere. Male dominance at workplaces is still very much alive in developing countries such as India. Whether it is a conventional office or a coworking space, it is a known fact that men can outnumber or overshadow their female counterparts (both literally and metaphorically) in business discussions and women tend to hold back.
To offset the possibility of these habits spilling into coworking spaces, the idea of designing female coworking spaces that allows women to collaborate and network in comfort among like-minded peers is gaining pace. A balanced work environment where women are more likely to share experiences, talk about their successes, and speak up about some of the challenges that they face is the need of the hour.
We have come across plenty of women’s coworking spaces in the US and UK over the last few years, but only a ripple effect here in India is being observed. The increasing demand for a physical workspace that would serve a growing niche of women has led top coworking companies in India to reconsider their shared office spaces.
How well the existing coworking spaces match their demand in terms of the facilities and amenities?
In corporate world, the general perception about the women getting (back) into work especially in their late 30s or 40s or still later, is that their chances of success become quite bleak. Whether it is a career break due to their marriage, or when their kids are toddlers, or even when they transition to a new career altogether, getting back on track is professionally difficult for such working women.
Even the top professional women in India, who are juggling with motherhood and with their home life, seek workspaces that provide a healthy work-life balance. When talking about the existing co-working spaces, many companies fail to recognize that the working women require innovation in facilities. The widely acknowledged female-centric workspaces around the world cater to promoting and sustaining a new work-life balance for all the women who are still persistent and ready to work like crazy to make their big ideas a reality.
But what does the exclusive Coworking Space for Women be like?
The women-focused coworking spaces can foster ideal combination where working women can achieve professional success and satisfaction along with a sense of fulfillment towards their commitment to family. These design-savvy women-centric coworking spaces have the usual mix of workspaces (shared office spaces, small team spaces, individual desks and lounges) along with few vital facilities and services.
A majority of these offer childcare facilities so female members can bring their children to work with them. Having an onsite mother’s room (lactation room) will address the key area where women are lacking support. Another important childcare facility is in providing a children’s playroom, where children can play under supervision. This will cut off the working moms’ reliance on round-the-clock nannies, away from work.
Some coworking companies have wellness rooms for meditation and therapeutic treatments such as acupuncture and cupping, as well as yoga and fitness classes. This is yet another essential area where we need to work upon and redesign so as to make it more flexible for women workforce. Few coworking office spaces in metropolitan cities have introduced on-demand services such as nail bar, hair salon, etc. within the premises in addition to the membership packages for all women. Recreational areas and gaming zones for relaxation and de-stress purpose are common features in majority of the coworking spaces.
With the advent of women’s coworking spaces in India, it seems possible to close the gender gap in one space. Changing the business dynamics for women entrepreneurs in the fast progressing world is quintessential for them to grow and sustain their business. Let’s Connect Coworking offers a mix of workspaces furnished with modernist pieces that brings in innovation and equality to balance the coworking equation.