Offices around India are now reopening. From large tech companies to mid-sized enterprises to start-ups, most organizations are implementing back-to-office initiatives. Meanwhile, the past iterations of the virus have also made a major change in the way offices are conceptualized & designed and workflow is implemented.
The future of offices will differ from its previous versions. The idea of productive collaboration and meaningful engagement will take the central stage. Similarly, there will be a growing focus on reducing the overall cost of leasing.
Amidst such as wider shift, flexible offices are going to play a much larger role. Small enterprises & start-ups alongside large MNCs will pivot to co-working spaces and managed office spaces.
Steady Growth in Popularity
There is a steady rise in the demand for flexible office spaces. Interestingly the demand is emanating not just from start-ups and SMEs but also from large enterprises. (Even prior to COVID, large enterprises such as KPMG, IBM, Microsoft, etc. have leased co-working spaces apart from regular premises.)
Flexible office spaces offer a vibrant yet cohesive working environment that not only nurtures meaningful social and business associations but also improves overall individual productivity.
Increasingly shared space providers are using advanced technologies and spatial design formats to give elevated working experiences and enhanced productivity without compromising on the fun quotient. They are also coming up with a simple, flexible, and scalable leasing agreement, which is the need of the hour.
Effective in Optimizing Costs
Indian economy is bouncing back, which is a good sign for Indian businesses and enterprises. However, after the repeated onslaughts of the pandemic in the past, most enterprises will continue to operate on tightened budgets and reduce their overall operational and capital expenditures. This will drive the demand for flexible office segments as they offer an affordable alternative to owning/ leasing a commercial premise.
Leasing out an office space constitutes a large part of the organizational operational expenditure. Taking a flexible space can significantly reduce expenses and unlock funds for other important activities such as business development, R&D, talent acquisition, etc. Moreover, flexible offices are managed spaces and the tenant does not have to get involved with the day-to-day operations.
Fits in with the Hybrid Working Models
The post-pandemic period is marked by the emergence of new workflow models. Although offices are reopening, in most organizations, a large chunk will still continue working remotely. Co-working spaces fit in cohesively with this hybrid model. Organizations will prefer leasing out small and flexible co-working spaces rather than large office premises. This would not just reduce cost overhead but also boost individual productivity and give a more relaxed working atmosphere to the employees, who will be re-joining.
Likewise, in the new normal long commutes will be avoided. Organizations rather than owning a large central office will prefer a hub and spoke model, wherein alongside the central unit there will be a large network of small offices spread throughout the city. This will give employees the flexibility to log in from their nearest office rather than long commuting and wasting time. In such an arrangement, the interest in flexible spaces will further increase.
(By Nakul Mathur, MD, Avanta India)