Over the past two years, there has been a great deal of uncertainty in India’s office market sector. In order to survive and attempt to return to some kind of normalcy during the hardships brought on by the epidemic, industry participants had to make several difficult choices and use different strategy combinations. A trend towards flexible workplaces, where the company maintains a formal office set-up but with lower real estate expenditures and overheads, is one such strategy that has proved effective for business continuity.
Harsh Binani, co-founder of India’s biggest Managed Workspace Platform, Smartworks, shares that the need for flexible office leases is still on the rise as many businesses are still unclear about the types of work models they will implement for employees in the long run. India is known for having one of the fastest-growing office space marketplaces in the world. This rapid expansion is attributed to the increased demand for office leases, the emergence of flexible office spaces, and the expansion of startups and technology firms.
Although pandemic-related work-from-home (WFH) initially reduced the need for office space, the speed at which the vaccine was carried out last year resulted in the lifting of restrictions and a swift economic rebound, which increased investor confidence. 2023 saw the rise of flexible office spaces due to one common concern shared by all enterprises. They all wanted to create spaces that were more interactive and employee-centric. That being said, flexible office spaces became the centre of attention as they were creating workplaces that were equipped to help employees strike a work-life balance.
There is a growing need for high-quality workplaces that are conveniently located, give convenience to the workers, and include a variety of additional amenities that support hygiene and well-being. Flexible or managed office space operators, with their carefully selected workstations, undoubtedly benefited from such demand. Furthermore, among the main predictions for office space occupancy this year, lease term flexibility will be at the heart of most agreements, which would again be advantageous to owners of such property.
Harsh Binani, shares that flex spaces like Smartworks have transformed their workspaces into tech-enabled spaces, which has made these spaces in high demand. Tech-enabled office spaces with IoT-enabled office spaces, an automated parking system, digital access to the facility, and much more. Modern businesses are switching to managed workplaces to reduce expenses and provide employees with flexibility.
The future is unknown to firms given the current global situation. Therefore, real estate investment is a financial burden that most organisations desire to minimise in these uncertain times. Managed workplaces provide the required flexibility, whereas traditional offices are rigid with their contracts, shares Harsh Binani.
In conclusion, the flexible workspace has established itself as a prominent player in the current office market environment, mostly due to its ability to provide different degrees of real estate flexibility and preferences that are advantageous to both tenants and landlords. Numerous firms wishing to maintain operations in an office setting while keeping personnel and operations nimble will continue to find the needed support from the flexible workspace. Additionally, the possibility for increased project-based work as a result of workplace digital transformation bodes well for the need for flexible space.