Scalability and flexibility apart from employee wellbeing are key priorities for most office occupiers, indicating a strong sense of confidence in shared workspaces even in today’s challenging environment, according to international real estate advisory firm Savills India’s latest report on co-working spaces titled – Flexible Workspaces: Emergence of the New Dawn.
In a survey conducted among office occupiers and real estate executives, across three major cities, more than 50 pc of them said scalability, flexibility and employee wellbeing are some of their biggest focus at the moment.
Savills India’s survey indicates that 65 pc of occupiers prioritised their transaction structuring towards amenities that could enhance employee wellbeing while 57 pc of occupiers gave importance to flexibility to exit, 51 pc towards scalability to grow and 12 % proritised reinstatement.
The report further delves into four key emerging trends which will shape the flexible space domain in the near future. The below trends are expected to have a long-lasting impact and will determine the success of the segment in the ongoing decade.
Naveen Nandwani, MD, Commercial Advisory & Transactions, Savills India and head of Workthere India, said, “We have been witnessing the emergence of new opportunities and trends in the flexible workspaces / co-working sector. The segment has come out offering innovative solutions and products to target all types of occupiers- freelancers, start-ups, SMEs and large domestic and multinational companies across industries. The emerging trends are likely to establish themselves as a regular feature in the coming few years and form the core of the shared space model of working”.
Working from Anywhere (WFA): The acceptability of this model has increased amongst employees and employers alike. Almost 75 pc of the respondents said that more than 20 pc of the workforce is expected to work from a non-office location in the near to medium term. However, considering the social benefits of a demarcated office space, coworking spaces offering managed office like work environment have gained tremendous traction.
Organisations now prefer a Hub & Spoke model which is convenient for employees as well. Co-working spaces are best suited to play the balancing act between ‘home’ and ‘office’, championing the aforementioned model, according to the report.
Coexistence of multiple business models: Tough times are expected to pave the way for product innovation and emergence of multiple business models. Developers are offering flex space, managed services and enterprise level solutions. Bidding of vacant spaces in buildings to gig workers and hot deskers on a per seat rental basis is becoming more prevalent. Various other business models wherein holiday homes, restaurants and pubs act as coworking centres in nonpeak hours are also offering interesting customer experiences.
Value add-ons: Price differentiation and wide rate spectrum have been pivotal in flex operators gaining foothold in the central and secondary business districts. While this advantage erodes somewhat in peripheral areas, value add-ons are expected to help distinguish the flex space providers in such micro-markets. Hassle free tie-ups for business loans, day-care services for infants, senior level perks and partnerships with retail outlets could become the unique selling proposition for operators vying for clients in peripheral areas.
Hygiene factors: Sanitisation and adherence to social distance guidelines are likely to become indispensable both for developers and operators alike. Building construction and interior design are expected to integrate the wellness angle holistically.