Not IT or banking, but pharma leads the demand for employees' return to offices

29 March 2023

Not IT or banking, but pharma leads the demand for employees' return to offices

  • Business Insider
  • Over 50% of the companies in tech and retail sectors are open to hybrid working models.
  • Interestingly, it’s the smaller sized companies who want their workforce to be back at their desks.
  • Around 35%-40% of the organisations are embracing the idea of hybrid working, says a survey by Awfis.


It’s not just tech companies that are ending the work-from-home phenomenon. As per a new report by Awfis, a coworking space network company, the sector that’s most strict when it comes to working out of the office is the pharmaceutical sector.

In a survey by Awfis and Qdesq, 90% of pharma companies surveyed said that they prefer work from the office, with only 10% of them open to hybrid working models.

The sectors that are most open to hybrid working models are banking and financial services, engineering and manufacturing – at 70% of them said in the survey. Next comes retail and tech sectors where 50% of those surveyed preferred hybrid working models.

The work location preference also varies with size of the company. More than 70% of the smaller firms are in favour of working from the office, while 15% of large firms are on board with hybrid working models.

Overall, across sectors and sizes, about 35-40% of companies prefer the idea of hybrid working. Around 45% of corporations are looking for new office spaces including conventional and flex, while 35% of them already instituted a multi-office approach through collaboration with coworking spaces, said Indian Flex Occupier’s Survey 2022.

A large chunk of the workforce went back to their hometowns during Covid-19 lockdown and the companies across all sectors had no choice but to pivot to a hybrid work model.

The situation has since changed again and organizations are progressively collaborating with flex space operators to ensure the seamless execution of the hybrid work model despite office development in numerous places.

“As firms continue to evolve with the changing market dynamics, the workforce expectations, too, have changed with new working models like hybrid, work-from-home, and working from office coming to the fore,” said Paras Arora, founder and CEO, Qdesq.

Flex workspaces core to workplace strategy

Sectors like banking, insurance and technology, where employees have already started going to the office again, are expected to lead the demand for office spaces in 2023, the report revealed.

Majority of the respondents are looking to collaborate with coworking space players to implement a strategy for a distributed workforce, while 30% of respondents are searching for more affordable alternatives to rental offices to have more financial flexibility, the report said.

“The years 2020 and 2021 played a defining role in causing a paradigm shift in Indian occupiers’ demands and making Flex workspaces core to their overall workplace strategy. The return of the workforce to offices is now certain and so is the resolute need for flexibility at work which paves a clear path for accelerated growth and expansion of India’s flex space market in the coming years,” said Amit Ramani, founder and CEO, Awfis.

Top seven cities — Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, NCR, Kolkata and Chennai — account for 20% of the total demand for coworking space in the country, Anarock report said.

“Organizations are implementing a set of new workplace strategies in a post-pandemic world, which have been greatly influenced by the circumstances faced during the pandemic,” the Awfis report said.

This story appeared in the 23 November, 2022 issue of Business Insider India and was originally published at: Not IT or banking, but pharma leads the demand for employees’ return to offices

Telcos, consultancies bring employees back to offices even as techies stay home

04 August 2022

Telcos, consultancies bring employees back to offices even as techies stay home

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Most telecom and consulting companies have witnessed the highest rate of return to office, with 75%-100% of their workforces working from office or in a hybrid mode. A recent report by Colliers and Awfis, released on August 4, noted that 60%-70% of the telecom and consulting firms have started this trend.

The rate of return to office was the highest among telecom and consulting companies, and the lowest was among IT and new technology companies, with less than a quarter of their workforce moving back to office space.

The report also noted that one in two employers prefer a hybrid workspace, where employees can choose to work from home as well as the office. This is mainly because employers are now increasingly prioritising employee convenience and their overall well-being.

The Colliers-Awfis joint report — based on the responses from 150 C-Suite executives of various companies having a workforce of up to 10,000 people — explores the status of return to work across different sectors.

“The survey has made it clear that a distributed workspace strategy is the way to go for occupiers in this new era of experiential workplaces, as occupiers emerge from the after-effects of the pandemic. Flex spaces, in particular, are leading this growth, as occupiers from varied sectors are housing teams in flex centres across cities,” Ramesh Nair, CEO India and MD of Asian Market Development at Colliers, said.

Overall, only about one in three (35%) companies across industries have initiated work from the office for 75%-100% of their teams. Simultaneously, 74% of the companies are looking at distributed workspaces as a strategy to shift from location-centric to people-centric workspaces, which will enable flexibility for employees. Going forward, 77% occupiers will include flex spaces as part of their workplace strategy, founder and CEO of Awfis Amit Ramani said in a statement.

About 90% of the occupiers from e-commerce and consulting sectors are likely to include flex space in their current portfolio, Vimal Nadar, senior director and head of research, Colliers India said.

This story appeared in the 4 August, 2022 issue of Business Insider and was originally published at: Telcos, consultancies bring employees back to offices even as techies stay home

This co-working space achieved profitability in just two years and is now aiming for an IPO

24 October 2019

This co-working space achieved profitability in just two years and is now aiming for an IPO

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Amit Ramani, CEO, Awfis, talks about how they achieved profitability so soon.
  • Awfis recently raised a Series D funding of $30 million from marquee investor ChrysCapital along with existing investors Sequoia India.
  • According to reports, it plans to list by 2022.

 As gig economy in India expands and agility is becoming common even amongst large established companies – co-working spaces have started mushrooming. Even in this crowded segment, Awfis is growing fast. It has also managed to clock in profits within two years of operations.

It recently raised Series D funding of $30 million from marquee investor ChrysCapital with participation from existing investors like Sequoia India & The Three Sisters: Institutional Office.

With this latest funding, Awfis plans to bring out new tech-driven innovative products and foray into Tier II markets like Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi and Indore. It is already present in Chandigarh.

The company also aims to go public by 2022.

 Exponential growth

Awfis also achieved a rare feat for a startup, which is profitability within two years. In the very first year of operations in FY16, its revenues was at ₹1 crore. In the very next year, the number touched ₹18 crore. In the next, its exponential growth swelled it to ₹56 crore. In the current financial year, it expects it to more than double it.

“We have been growing three times every year, despite also adding seats and increasing our size,” Amit Ramani, CEO of Awfis told Business Insider India.

Profitability has always been core to its strategy. “We were deeply invested in the unit economics of each centre and were very careful not to overbuild the capacity of our staff or go overboard on marketing,” he said.

Ramani said that they now aim to expand to 200,000 seats by 2022. Currently, they have 30,000 seats across 63 centres in 10 cities.

Not just for startups

The company also discovered a new set of clientele. While most co-working spaces tend to target startups, Awfis realised that the Indian SMEs are in need of their services.

“While most co-working spaces look at just startups which are 10% of the total requirement of office space, 60-70% of SMEs remain underserved. So, we give SMEs an upgrade while also saving them money,” said Ramani.

Ramani said that when he had built the-proof-of-concept for Awfis in April 2015, it had three basic principles – bring flexibility back into real estate, provide accessibility as people’s lives are becoming very mobile and ensure transparency, with all discoverability and bookability being on an app allowing people to book on-the-go.

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From beer-on-tap to testing an app for a donut, here’s how co-working spaces are bidding traditional offices goodbye

09 May 2019

From beer-on-tap to testing an app for a donut, here’s how co-working spaces are bidding traditional offices goodbye

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Dhruv Mullick, a sports management professional who handles Mayank Agarwal, the Indian test cricketer, used to work out of a Starbucks in Bengaluru . But one day when he had to sign a confidential legal contract, he needed an office space. He walked into WeWork in Churchstreet, Bengaluru, signed up for a membership for half a month in December, 2018. Today, he runs a business out of there.

American entrepreneur Carolyn Horner needed to do a beta testing for her app, all she had to do was look across the room, offer a free donut and in return get real-time validation for her product. Horner, the co-founder of Jenzy, an app that makes it easy for parents to find the right fit shoes for young children, could do all of this just by sitting at her desk at WeWork in Philadelphia.

Mullick and Homer are among many entrepreneurs who have embraced co-working around the world for their many benefits, ranging from affordability to a chance to network to finding business deals.

In India, co-working spaces have opened up in almost every other corner of big cities and are now also entering Tier 2 and 3 cities in India. They have found favour with entrepreneurs mainly for convenience, affordability, and a place to network and become a part of a community, without having to invest in real estate.

With seat prices starting as low as ₹7,000 a month at some places, many of these places can be a steal for business owners. According to a report done by property consultant Knight Frank, as of 2018, there were about 200 co-working spaces in India, with the likes of WeWork, Regus, Awfis etc., being the most popular.

Such has been the craze of co-working spaces in India, that WeWork which launched in the country in 2017, already contributes to ₹6,788 crore of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) across its centres in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Not just seat sharing

But co-working spaces are evolving from being just seat sharing office spaces to a hub of mentorship from experienced professionals, giving entrepreneurs a chance to test their products before it goes live or just fall back on their peers when they are at a fix.

Many co-working spaces also encourage networking events which also include beer-on-tap, creating a fun work environment, one which millennials love.

And Amit Ramani, CEO of Awfis points it out – a millennial wants a break every hour and a half. “The fundamental question is if an office just has a meeting room and seats, where does that millennial go? The infrastructure with new age technology has even attracted corporates to co-working spaces – which offer activity-based settings,” Ramani told Business Insider.

Infrastructure happens to be the key attraction of a co-working space. Mishu Ahluwalia, Founder & CEO, GoHive, a co-working space based out of Delhi NCR, believes that in a co-working environment a startup gets open access to a whole pool of networks which they can leverage for mentorship, vendor empanelment, recruiting and peer to peer learning.

The model has worked so well that now co-working spaces are making money off offering services and building partnerships with corporates.

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