Flexible workspaces are the preferred way to adopt the hybrid work model in a post-pandemic world, compared to options like changing existing office layouts or the hub-and-spoke model. This, among other factors, will potentially double the market size of co-working spaces over the next five years at a CAGR of 15%, reveals a CII-ANAROCK report titled Workplaces of the Future.
Currently, approximately 35 mn sq. ft. of flexible office stock is available across the country. Of this, approximately 71% or 25 mn sq. ft. is by the large operators. Approximately 3.7 lakh flexi seats are currently spread across the major Tier I and Tier II cities of India, it said.
A survey conducted by ANAROCK via LinkedIn further validated the emergence of the hybrid work model as the future of Indian offices. As many as 65% of respondents were convinced of the high potential of hybrid or remote working in India, while just 35% did not favour these models.
As per the survey, at least 54% of respondents favour a hybrid model wherein they work from the office for a few days and the remaining from home. In contrast, 33% prefer working entirely from the office, and only 13% consider working from home suitable, owing to smaller apartment sizes and larger families.
At least 46% of respondents see co-working spaces as the ideal mode of adopting the hybrid work model. 30% voted for the hub-and-spoke model, and 24% for existing office layout modifications.
Among the top challenges to working from home, at least 50% of respondents see maintaining a work-life balance as the chief hurdle. 23% of respondents find it challenging to collaborate while at home, 16% complain about low productivity, and 11% face internet drop-offs, it said.
A work-from-anywhere future requires significant preparations and technological support. On the other hand, the hybrid work model benefits both employers and employees - including via cost savings which by themselves justify taking the hybrid model very seriously,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman - ANAROCK Group & Chairman - CII Roundtable on Future Workplaces.
“India is at the cusp of a co-working revolution with several large players operating across the country. Not just existing co-working players but also new operators have major future expansion plans. For instance, co-working player Smartworks plans approximately 20 mn sq. ft. of co-working space comprising approximately 2.5 lakh seats over the next 3-4 years,” he said.
The rapid expansion plans by these major co-working players, and the pandemic-triggered need to re-strategise workspaces, indicate a bright future for this new asset class. Companies returning to offices will have to consider leveraging flexi spaces to reduce cost and expenditure, and this will boost the demand for such spaces.