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Flexible workspaces see increased demand from smaller cohorts

Awfis, which had its presence in 55 centres with about 27,000 seats pre-pandemic, now has its presence across 95 centres with about 55,000 seats
Last Updated : 29 November 2021, 09:03 IST

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With the work-from-home culture on the wane due to offices opening up for employees to work from premises, the flexible working spaces are seeing a lot of demand from the smaller cohorts hinting at hybrid work culture.

As employees prepare to get back from a long season of remote work, 74 per cent of Indian employees had asked for more flexible remote work options, as per Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Report. Preparing for this, about 73 per cent of the decision-makers said they were considering redesigning offices to accommodate hybrid work environments. All this points to the trend that flexible work is here to stay despite reopening office spaces.

“As the companies started reopening, they realised that the hybrid work culture is here to stay and hence began setting aside a proportion of their workspace for flex-working spaces,” said Sumit Lakhani, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Awfis - a network of coworking spaces.

Rebound in flex-working spaces

The first wave of the pandemic saw the real estate and the flexible working industries running all helter-skelter with the smaller cohorts cancelling their contracts and the others insisting on heavy discounts.

While things had started to look better and the flexible industry started to see some light, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic dented the recovery process.

“Post the second wave, in July and August this year, there was a lull in the flex-working industry. However, the kind of growth we have seen since September 2021 has been unprecedented,” said Lakhani.

Awfis, which had its presence in 55 centres with about 27,000 seats pre-pandemic, now has its presence across 95 centres with about 55,000 seats. It currently has its presence across 13 cities including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, NCR, Pune and Mumbai.

“We recently signed up our 100th centre, which will be launching in December,” added Lakhani.

Shift in the work culture

While flex-working spaces looked like viable options only for startups, mid-sized corporates initially, lately all the companies starting from young startups to Fortune-50 companies are looking to include flex-working as a part of their workspace strategy. Some of the companies that have signed up for Awfis’ flex-working spaces post-pandemic include Samsung, Condé Nast, Cashify and WayCool.

“Another interesting trend we have been witnessing post-pandemic is that an increasing number of smaller cohorts that is those who demand 10 to 50 seats. Since a lot of the companies had to let go of their leased workspaces during the pandemic, the option of flex-working spaces is a no-brainer since it doesn’t require an outlay of own capital due to readily available infrastructure,” explained Lakhani.

Among the new seats signed up between April 2020 and August 2021, 58 per cent of them were signed up by smaller cohorts. Before the pandemic, only about 40 per cent of the seats were being signed up for by the smaller cohorts, added Lakhani.

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Published 28 November 2021, 17:28 IST

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