Why it’s time to embrace the sharing economy
The story of human evolution is a remarkable tale of how we as a species pooled together to overcome nature’s biggest challenges to become the predominant force on this planet. Taking a leaf out of this book, many businesses have made the best of modern technology to bring consumers the best that their pooled resources can afford.
Some of the world’s biggest companies today such as Uber & Airbnb have transformed their respective industries, riding the rising wave of the sharing economy. While there is no fixed definition for the ‘sharing economy’, it can best be pictured as the enabling of peer-to-peer transactions to make the most of the resources available with them.
It is characterized by the sharing of a product or service by multiple consumers who contribute their share of the cost, which otherwise by themselves they might not have been able to afford. Conversely, since there are multiple consumers participating in the transaction, the provider earns more than they would through a single consumer.
Another industry that has been disrupted by the sharing economy is that of office space leasing – where co-working, flexible, shared office spaces & customised offices are fast emerging as the go-to option. While co-working is not strictly a part of the sharing economy but instead its cousin – the ‘access economy’, the principles remain rather similar.
In a true sharing economy, the transaction would be entirely among peers, who take turns to be the providers and consumers. Whereas in the access economy, there is a clear distinction between the provider and the consumers. The benefits remain largely the same though, and for this article, we shall refer to co-working as a part of the sharing economy.
Here we look at the advantages of the sharing economy, and why it’s time to wholeheartedly embrace it:
1. Always available, on-demand
One of the biggest factors that drive the growth of the sharing economy is the fact that it enables the consumption of services on-demand. This is more relevant to certain industries than others but is certainly applicable across pretty much any business in the sharing economy.Taking Uber as an example, a large number of providers on the platform ensure that a ride is available at any given time. A large number of consumers also ensures that the providers have a constant flow of demand, thereby minimizing the idle time of their resource.
In terms of co-working, The Hive collaborative office spaces are operational 24×7 & offer multiple membership options to suit every individual’s need.
2. Fosters collaborative growth
The sharing economy brings together people with similar interests, often leading to synergy & collaboration. It is often said that two heads are better than one, and the collaborative spirit takes this to the next level.
Every coworking space is a potential hotbed of innovation, with professionals from diverse backgrounds mingling together, waiting for a spark to create something unique. Add to the mix our innovative design & programming that is aimed at fostering collaboration, and the path to growth awaits as a journey well made with companions.
3. Same lifestyle, more savings
The sharing economy is of particular benefit to the lifestyle seekers, who now have access to high-quality products & services at never before prices.
Want to dress up in high fashion for the weekend party, without spending what it costs to own the outfit? There’s a startup for that. Want to drive down to a nearby weekend getaway without purchasing a car that you would otherwise barely use? There’s a startup for that too!
Well designed co-working spaces also allow businesses access to premium facilities at affordable rates, which would otherwise pinch their pockets to own by themselves. Not only businesses but individuals can access these same facilities as well.
In the sharing economy, compromises on quality for the sake of affordability are a thing of the past.
4. Someone for everyone
There are certain industries which have traditionally been dominated by a limited set of providers, allowing them to dictate the terms of doing business. The introduction of the sharing economy has disrupted this tight control, putting power back in the hands of the consumers.Consider the finance sector for example. Before the sharing economy was introduced, the terms of obtaining finance were dictated solely by a small set of financial firms which had a clear upper hand. However, with the introduction of the peer to peer finance model, we saw this grip-hold loosen. Thanks to a large number of providers available, financing became more flexible & the terms became more balanced.
5. Saves capital
The sharing economy is of particular advantage in the real estate industry, since it is virtually a quantum leap over the traditional model of leasing. Office space rentals in particular always came with hefty security-deposits, lengthy lock-in periods & heavy handed terms.
With the growth of co-working spaces, those worries are a thing of the past. The Hive co-working spaces memberships at The Hive flexible & co-working spaces require only one month’s membership fee as a security deposit and also allow the flexibility to cancel membership if necessary at just a month’s notice.
This frees up a significant chunk of capital for our members, which we believe is best invested in the growth of their business & promoting employee satisfaction. This holds true in several other cases as well, with demands for ownership & one-sided situations favoring providers on the decline.
6. Rise in self-employment
The sharing economy has enabled the rise of a new section of society that chooses self-employment – to be their own bosses. Under this model, providers have the freedom to choose when they would like to offer services & when not.
This is understandably influenced by the market & terms placed by platforms upon their providers, but the ultimate control lies with the individual providers themselves. There are several avenues open to them as well, meaning they get to choose the platform & industry they feel most comfortable with.
From food delivery to menial tasks, providing taxi rides or simply offering carpool seats on a fixed route on one’s way to work every morning – this model places the choice in the hands of the people.
7. It’s good for the planet
Our planet faces several challenges for sustainability, including but not limited to climate change & global warming. As more people embrace the sharing economy & give up ownership, resources will become better utilized.
Lesser traffic, lesser pollution, fewer underutilized buildings, etc. are some of the outcomes that the effective pooling of resources brings about. We began this article with a discussion of our role on this planet, and we’d like to emphasize our role in keeping it healthy for all its inhabitants.
8. Builds a sense of trust in the community
Sharing is caring. There, we finally said it.
There is an often quoted joke related to Uber which goes “we were taught as children not to get into cars with strangers, only to grow up and.. get into cars with strangers”. However, the ingenuity with which startups use modern technology to overcome hurdles of safety, security & trust is no laughing matter.
The sharing economy brings people in contact with diverse members of their community who they might never have interacted with otherwise. Learning about different cultures, backgrounds, dreams & aspirations broadens one’s mental horizons. It also instills a sense of respect & trust in the community, which is vital for a healthy society.
Are you interested in being part of a futuristic workspace that fully embraces the sharing economy? Contact us today to learn about our membership options & find the one that’s perfect for you!