How freelancers, corporates, startups can benefit from shared workspaces

22 May 2017

How freelancers, corporates, startups can benefit from shared workspaces

  • Economic Times

The silent aisles of a conventional office have given way to a stirring revolution. Shared workspaces or co-working spaces, a concept popular in the West, has taken root in India in sync with the rapid growth of startups and alternative work modes in the past 3-4 years.

What’s a co-working space?
A shared workplace is a fully equipped office in a relaxed setting, as opposed to a structured, traditional workspace. The place can be hired by multiple entities—individuals, small teams or a large company— for a flexible period. One can hire a single seat for an hour or take up fixed number of seats for 2-3 years, while sharing the place with other companies or individuals in an open floor plan.

What began as an option for startups now encompasses entrepreneurs, freelancers, frequent travellers, work-from-home professionals, SMEs and corporates. “While 60% of our customers are SMEs, about 20% are startups and freelancers, and the rest are corporates,” says Amit Ramani, CEO, Awfis Space Solution, which has 21 centres and 7,500 seats across seven metros, and plans to expand to 28 centres and 10,000 seats in nine cities soon.

Co-working offices are being set up by small, local players and bigger companies with pan-India network, besides global players like WeWork and Spaces, who have recently set foot in India. Some of the more popular players in major metros include Awfis, Innov8, Regus, BHive Workspace, 91 Springboard, Bombay Connect, among others. Does such an office offer cost benefit and significant advantages for you to take it up or should you set up an exclusive office or continue with the existing lease?

Cost & services
A basic shared workspace provides infrastructure (flexible and fixed seats), tech facilities (Internet, Wi-Fi, phone, printer, copier, scanner, fax machine), housekeeping staff, eating area and common front desk or reception area. The fee for smaller set-ups ranges from Rs 4,000-6,000 per seat per month, while the medium-level players charge Rs 6,500-9,000, and premium spaces can cost Rs 9,500-15,000 per seat for a month.

The charges differ for flexi and fixed seats, and you can get more facilities for an additional fee. These add-on, paid services can include lockers, meeting rooms, 3-4 seater cabins, video conferencing, meetings in third-party locations, access to mentors and capital, as well as legal, accounting and HR firms, organising events, promotions and conferences, discounted parking spaces, gaming zones, and partnership discounts, among others.

“Shared workspace helps focus on revenue building without bothering about https://www. work.”

Facilities : 7 seats, business address, Wi-Fi, front desk, meeting room, cafeteria, discounts on Awfis tie-ups
Charges : Rs 70,000-80,000 per month

The shared office allows one to focus on the business without worrying about securing funds for setting up an office or the nittygritty of managing it. “It offers a high degree of convenience because we can focus on building revenue without bothering about the https://www. work of running an office,” says Rajas Kelkar, 43, who has a ninemember startup and has hired seven seats at Awfis in Mumbai.

“More than the cost, it’s the convenience that is the pull factor,” says Gurgaon-based Samir Mathai, who has recently launched a startup. “You can impress the clients with a good business address, don’t have to focus on office peripherals, and if you are with a bigger player and need to travel across the country, you can have an office in every metro,” he adds.

Agrees Prasad Walawalkar, Senior V-P, HR & Legal, in a research organisation, and part of the 65-member team at a workspace in Mumbai. “We can have client meetings in different cities like Delhi or Bengaluru because of the offices there,” he says. However, this option may be provided only by some players who have a countrywide network and offices in metros or tier 2 cities. A big benefit is the opportunity to interact with like-minded people from different organisations in the same workspace ..

Do you save money?
A more critical factor for startups is whether these workspaces translate to monetary gains. You can save 25-30% if you choose a small- or mid-level space provider and don’t avail of too many extra services. “Compared with a conventional lease option, we offer cost-effective solutions.Since the costs linked to a workspace are 5-10% of a company’s turnover, corporations of all sizes are looking at it as a strategic component of their business plans,” says Harsh Lambah, Country Head, Regus India, one of the oldest players in the market. “Besides, if you are a company of four and plan to grow to 10, in a conventional office, you have to tie in for 10 people from the start and are wasting space. We help these companies grow at their speed,” he adds.

However, this may not always be true as all workspace providers cannot provide additional seats as and when these are required. Moreover, the savings may not be substantial if you pick a premium office provider at a prime location. “By shifting from a premium workspace to a mid-segment one, I have cut down my costs by 30-40%,” says Kelkar.

Adds Mathai, who gave up a premium workspace at a good location in Gurgaon and opted for a commercial lease in a residential area: “We used to pay Rs 2.5 lakh a month for a five seater. Now with 30 seats, we are shelling out much lesser. The savings are typically higher in the long term.” Remember, the savings will be a function of the space provider, location as well as the services availed of. But if it’s convenience you want, opt for a shared workspace now.

(This Awfis coverage appeared in ET Wealth on May 22, 2017. The full story can be read here: )
Awfis leases over 11k sq ft workspace in Kolkata to 3 large corporates in 6 months

13 October 2022

Awfis leases over 11k sq ft workspace in Kolkata to 3 large corporates in 6 months

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Awfis, India’s largest network of coworking spaces has leased over one lakh sq. ft. workspace in Kolkata to 3 large corporates in last 6 months alone.

In line with this partnership, Grant Thornton has taken customized set up in Awfis’ Eco Centre (Awfis Gold centre) at Acropolis Mall in Kolkata. Along with Grant Thornton, Awfis has also partnered with Teleperformance, a global digital integrated business service provider, and Conneqt, a leading digital IT and BPM services provider for over 1000 seats at Godrej Waterside and Technopolis centres respectively. In the past, Awfis has also partnered with electronics giant Samsung for over 500 seats in Kolkata.

Flex players are now taking up spaces in malls and hotels to expand their presence as startups, SMESs and enterprises warm up to the idea of shared facilities over owned premises. Given the above, Awfis is taking the collaborative workspace model to newer spaces like hotels and malls to meet the hybrid workspace demand, which has skyrocketed post-pandemic.

The Awfis environment provides a unique amalgamation of different workstyles while providing the company’s employees with amenities and benefits such as meeting rooms, a well-designed collaboration area, a multi-cuisine restaurant, concierge service along with full hygiene and safety measures.

“We are delighted to have a leading establishment like Grant Thornton as a key client. This valuable partnership is a game-changer for the industry where large corporates have realised the benefits of flexible working and are increasingly shifting from a centralized conventional office to decentralized and distributed flex offices for their workforce,” said Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO, Awfis.

Sumit Lakhani, Deputy CEO, Awfis added, “The trend of using flexible spaces in commercial real estate portfolios of large organizations is witnessing unprecedented growth and will become more prominent in the coming future. The flex space take up from large corporates in Kolkata is a clear reflection of the surge in demand that we are seeing pan India across all metros and tier 2 markets as well. Flex players are now being seen as valuable partners in setting up highly customized, efficient and agile workspaces by companies of all sizes.” he added.

Sanjay Mehta, Executive Director- Workplace Enablement, Grant Thornton Bharat said, “The vibrant tech-enabled environment, provides the right mix of a corporate office ambience combined with new-age elements for collaborative engagements and enhanced innovation. This will help improve our people and client experience.”

Currently, Awfis has 9 centres in Kolkata spread across premier and sought-after locations that include Acropolis Mall, Chowringhee road, Salt Lake, IT Hub in Salt Lake Sector V, and plans to add 2 new centres in the next 3 months.

Awfis Space Solutions currently has the largest network of coworking spaces with 131 centres and 77,500 seats across 14 cities.

This story appeared in the 13 October, 2022 issue of Economic Times and was originally published at: Awfis leases over 11k sq ft workspace in Kolkata to 3 large corporates in 6 months

Flexible space demand rises in step with return to office

03 August 2022

Flexible space demand rises in step with return to office

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

After a gap of two years, the return-to-office arrangement has gathered momentum, with 74% of the occupiers of office spaces looking toward distributed workspaces as a strategy to shift from location-centric to people-centric work facilities, mentioned a C-Suite Survey conducted by Colliers and Awfis.

The report further mentions that the new work way is expected to enable flexibility for employees while furthering productivity gains for businesses and includes a hybrid way of working wherein employees come into the office a few times a week.

The survey was conducted amongst top CEOs and CXOs across IT/ITes, BFSI and e-commerce sectors, with more than 150 companies participating. It mentions that about 35% of the occupiers have seen a majority (75-100%) of employees return to offices.

“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,” said Ramesh Nair, Chief Executive Officer, India and Managing Director, Market Development, Asia, Colliers. “Flex spaces, in particular, are leading this growth, as occupiers from varied sectors are housing teams in flex centers across cities.”

This shift in strategy is also reflected in the leasing by flex operators. They leased about 3.5 million sq feet of space in H1 2022 across the top six cities.

This story appeared in the 3 August, 2022 issue of The Economic Times and was originally published at: Flexible space demand rises in step with return to office

Awfis elevates Sumit Lakhani to Deputy CEO

21 July 2022

Awfis elevates Sumit Lakhani to Deputy CEO

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Awfis, one of the country’s largest network of coworking spaces has announced the elevation of Sumit Lakhani as Deputy CEO of the company. Previously, Sumit was the chief sales and marketing officer at Awfis and has been a crucial part of the company since it’s inception in 2015.

Lakhani has been instrumental in building the company from the ground up. He’s played a key business role, not limited only to sales and marketing. With his keen interest and acumen in finance and strategy, he has also been in the forefront of delivery, revenue generation and maximizing operational excellence. In his new role, Sumit will be responsible for all facets of the company’s investor relations, FP&A along with the existing responsibility of sales and marketing.

“Awfis and will continue to strive to further enrich the experiences for our existing community and scale towards greater heights. Awfis is redefining the future of work that focuses on creating a flexible, dynamic, and collaborative workplace environment for all its stakeholders and I am delighted to be a part of this journey.” said Lakhani.

Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO, Awfis said, “With his demonstrated ability to balance operational excellence with financial and marketing discipline, Sumit will provide instrumental leadership and direction to Awfis. I am confident Sumit will continue to drive innovation and growth for Awfis in his new role.”

Till date, Lakhani has successfully led various rounds of fund-raise and his zealous commitment to transform Awfis from a coworking network to a complete workplace solution platform.

This story appeared in the 21 July, 2022 issue of The Economic Times and was originally published at: Awfis elevates Sumit Lakhani to Deputy CEO