AGILITY IS THE WAY TO GO, TECHNOLOGY IS THE ENABLER AND CLEAR GOVERNMENT POLICIES CAN GIVE THE MUCH NEEDED BOOST TO THE INDIAN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE.
Charu Thapar, ED Property & Asset Management, Asia Pacific, Head of Emerging Markets, Strategy & Platform, JLL setting the context stated, “Currently approximately 35 million sq.ft of flexible office stock is available across the country, of which about 71 % is managed by the large operators. In 2021 the flex-office spaces saw an all time high with enterprises leasing almost up to 80,000 seats etc. Since the start of 2022 about 23% of all leasing activity has been for flex and serviced office spaces.”
Mukul Ronak Das- Director, OYO Workspaces agreed, “Today workspaces are being used by multi generation professionals and thus the need to create offices that can accommodate all kinds of mindsets and working styles with holistic and simplified solutions. Location is of foremost importance, then the aesthetics & vibe and third is the working desks pricing.”
Parul Thakur, Senior Vice President, CoWrks added, “The flexible workspaces became popular a decade ago. There were some early adopters and a few naysayers. Present co-working spaces have a mix of conventional and collaborative spaces with various space usages.”
Manas Mehrotra, Founder & Chairman, 315 Work Avenue & MD, Nestavera Group shared, “As per global study, India has 9 Crore working population, and the majority is a young demographic. The Indian flexi-office space market has just warmed up. There is a huge future and it will keep evolving every 2-3 years with new occupier's demand.”
Vaibhav Joshi, Executive Director, Table Space echoing the similar views said, “In 2020 the share of flex offices transactions was a mere 8%, in 2021 it rose to 12% and in H2 it touched 20%. This is a testimony of how flex offices have become so important for all the corporate real-estate heads and businesses. Even the start-ups are starting out from coworking office spaces.”
Shesh Rao, Paplikar, Co-Founder & CEO, BHIVE expressed, “Most marquee commercial assets come with a minimum lease tenure of 10 years, but with immensely uncertain times, companies want shorter leases. The flex space operators make the investment in the asset and help unlock capital for the occupiers, which they are able to divert for operational efficiency.”
Monika Misra, Founder & GM, Ikeva elaborating on the offerings said, “Keeping up with the needs of the industry, the organization and the multigenerational workforce, flex offices are designed to be futuristic. This industry has continued to evolve from business centers, to hip co-working and now the managed offices. We are solving problems before organizations realize them and that’s why the core of our industry is called flex.”
THE NEW TRENDS & SOLUTIONS
According to Manas Mehrotra, “In India, clients demand custom design office solutions. In the next 2 years India will be a major player in this segment and almost 70-80% of business will come from enterprises.”
Mukul Ronak Das added, “Majority of the clients belong to traditional enterprises, therefore the product offering comprises office suits of different configurations like hot desk, dedicated desks, private office suits etc.”
Parul Thakur pointed out that the need for flex is transcending from tier 1 cities to tier 2 to even holiday destinations like Goa. “The hybrid model is not restricted to start-ups or particular urban centers.”
As per Vaibhav Joshi, “Typically when corporations take conventional spaces the option to contract or downscale is not possible because they are logged in with a typical landlord for 3 -5 or 10 years. Because of these factors there is a dynamic shift of corporate from pure conventional to flexible managed office.”
Shesh Rao, Paplikar concurred, “While everyone was looking at costing, we have introduced optimization to reduce expenses. The pandemic has made people move from release-expire-renew to release-expire-renegotiate. The sizes of the deals have gone up. Lot of marquee assets in the days to come will end up with our industry.”
Charu Thapar in conclusion stated flexi work spaces is a new real-estate asset class and needs government policy support in terms of GST and participation in SEZs that will open new growth avenues for the industry.
THERE’S A GOOD MIX OF INDUSTRIES CHOOSING FLEX WORKING, FROM ENTREPRENEURS TO START-UPS TO ENTERPRISES. BFSI WHICH TRADITIONALLY NEVER LOOKED AT CO-WORKING TOO IS GRAVITATING TOWARDS FLEX SPACES.