The Coronavirus calamity has turned out to be a black swam for the entire global economy and the co-working industry has been easily amongst the most affected industries by the pandemic crises. With work-from-home now almost becoming a norm in the post-pandemic era, the businesses of co-working companies are feeling intense pressure. Pushed to the edge, they have been certainly forced to redefine their strategies to survive in these testing and adverse times.
To decode some of the transformative changes that the co-working industry will have to brace for itself, Awfis recently hosted the first of its kind leadership series webinar. The webinar’s group panelists included some of the best-known industry experts who are closely connected with India’s co-working industry.
The group panelist essentially constituted of Mr. Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India, Mr. Sanjeev Tullicherry, Head of Workplace for a US based Fortune 500 Company, Mr. Shaishav Dharia, CEO – Townships and Rental Assets, Lodha Group, Mr. Roshan Gowda, Lead India – Corporate Real Estate, Accenture, and Mr. Arvindh Ayyaswamy, Senior Real Estate Portfolio Manager, Microsoft India.
The webinar was moderated by Mr. Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, Awfis. The aim of this webinar was basically to bring to the fore the critical challenges that co-working spaces are facing in the post-pandemic era, and how to create a conducive workspace in the wake of these challenges.
By the way, both Ramani and Awfis don’t need any introduction, at least for those who passionately follow India’s co-working industry. While Awfis has emerged as the celebrated poster boy of India’s nascent yet promising co-working industry, Ramani has been the chief architect behind the strong foundational growth that the company today enjoys.
Here are some of the important snippets of this webinar. Anyone even remotely planning to start a co-working startup amid this strenuous period or who is a regular follower of the co-working industry, these snippets from the recently concluded webinar will prove to be a gem of wisdom.
- The group panelist discussed the recent Nasscom survey that stated that 30-40% of the commercial real estate will be affected as more and more companies are adopting work from home policy. With co-working companies suffering low occupancy, they are now planning costs, flexibility in lock-in periods, and extension on lease terms etc.
- Wellness and health of the employees will take huge precedence in the coming period, with companies (customers of co-working companies) adopting their own individual work-from-home policies.
- Even if pandemic crises lessen to a certain extent, 5-25% of the workforce will still continue to work from home. Faced with revenue and profit erosion, companies are now looking for greater flexibility and reduced CAPEX spending.
- With workspaces now focusing on employee privacy and social distancing, co-working companies will have to come up with newer business models to suit their working requirements. In the long run, a mandate for all businesses will be to build on work from home capabilities.
- Despite work-from-home becoming a norm, offices will still continue to be important centers for collaboration/interaction with colleagues. Additionally, the importance of ‘touch-free technologies’ at workplaces will assume more importance due to the growing prominence of social distancing.
- Co-working companies will have to focus more on hybrid working models and integrated workspace ecosystem. Co-working spaces are basically confronting fundamental changes as reclaiming the pre-COVID days looks increasingly difficult.
- Since employees are highly reluctant and feeling insecure to return office due to the current situation, co-working companies need to create work near home models for residential hubs. This will help in increasing productivity and safety of the employees.
Some important quotes from the webinar:
“We are living in strange times that have completely altered the way we behave and work. Businesses across sectors, overnight had to embrace a new working style in order to keep themselves afloat while maintaining the wellbeing and safety of their employees as a priority,” said Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, Awfis.
“Even in the post Covid world, while there will be a certain percentage of workforce that will continue to work from home, there will always be a need of office spaces, as they provide an avenue for people to come together and collaborate. Also going forward wellness will play a crucial role in driving the changes.” Said Mr. Sanjeev Tullicherry, Head of Workplace for a US based Fortune 500 Company.
“In the current scenario we are witnessing many new trends, with ‘flexibility in rental lease’ being one of the key upcoming trends. Talking about the new trends and how the future workspaces will evolve, we also expect to see changes in office designs with focus on safety, health and wellness,” said Mr. Ramesh Nair, CEO & Country Head, JLL India.