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 administrative 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

Convenience
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 administrative 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: 
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/58762652.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst )
Remote Working is Here to Stay: Here's how one can make it sustainable

23 February 2021

Remote Working is Here to Stay: Here's how one can make it sustainable

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

Many companies have accepted the remote working trend as an integral part of their work culture. From a luxury, it has become a necessity and requires extra effort to thrive. While shifting to this novel change, it is important to ensure that the workforce remains just as accountable and productive as they used to be at a physical workspace.

Since remote working is here to stay, here’s how one can make it sustainable.

Equip Your Employees with the Right Work from Home Setup

As per Abraham Lincoln, out of 6 hours given to a woodcutter, he should spend 4 hours sharpening his axe. This is a not-so-subtle indication that workers need the right tools and infrastructure to do their respective jobs properly. It is essential for companies offering work from home to ensure that their workers are not facing basic issues like poor internet connectivity or dysfunctional laptop. Companies need to put in that extra effort to understand employees’ need for specific devices and software that might be imperative to make them more efficient and productive during these challenging situations.

By providing the right work from home set up for employees, organisations can be assured of quality work and enhanced productivity.

Provide the Option for Work Near Home

Work from anywhere is the new mantra today. While some employees would continue to prefer the option and convenience of working from home, there is also a sizable percentage of workforce who would opt for a brick and mortar, modern workspace purely for the purpose to operate in a collaborative environment. In such a situation, companies should look for options to help their employees to work near their homes. The concept of work near home helps a person to cut down on the cost and time involved in commuting while operating in a productive environment.

This story appeared in the  5 October , 2020 issue of Economic Times and is authored by Amit Ramani, Founder and CE0, Awfis. This article was originally published at: Remote Working is Here to Stay: Here’s how one can make it sustainable, HR News, ETHRWorld (indiatimes.com)

Average Indian saving almost two hours of commute time while working from home: Survey

22 February 2021

Average Indian saving almost two hours of commute time while working from home: Survey

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

New Delhi: An average working professional in India is saving Rs 5,520 per month and 1.47 hours of travel time everyday while working from home, according to a survey by leading co-working space provider Awfis.

About 74% of the respondents are willing to work remotely, which could be home or a cafe near home as it leads to significant cost and time saving.

Around 20% are saving Rs 5,000-10,000 per month while working from home while 19% are saving over Rs 10,000.

And 40% of the respondents spend less than an hour commuting.

“The time saved translates to time worth 44 additional working working days in a year,” said Amit Ramani, founder and CEO, Awfis.

Nearly 44 additional working days in a year means that for a company with 100 employees, 18 FTE days (full time equivalent) are added without any additional cost.

Full time equivalent refers to the number of hours an employee works in a day and translates into roughly 8 hours of work in a day.

The survey was conducted over a period of two months (June and July 2020) across 7 metros in India, and inputs from 1000 employees were analysed across varied industries.

According to the survey, more than 75% of the workforce can manage their time efficiently.

This has instilled more accountability to the employees as well has led to employees earning higher trust from their managers.

However, there are many challenges that employees face while working from home.

About 27% and 23% respondents see isolation and work-life balance as the biggest challenges respectively while working from home.

While a smaller percentage of companies are still facing technology challenges, the adoption is rising steeply as the advent of remote working becomes inevitable.

“People have realised that ability to work from home is possible without compromising on productivity. It was expected that in five years more people will either work from home or near home. COVID19 has fast tracked this,” said Ramani.

In the survey, 43% of employees report inability to maintain their work-life balance while working remotely.

“Now that the lines between home and work are blurring, companies need to create policies that describe clear demarcations between the two to make remote work sustainable in the long run,” the survey said.

Building better workspaces with technology

20 February 2021

Building better workspaces with technology

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

There are approximately 7.6 billion people in this world and nearly half of them are connected to the Internet. The possibility of connecting with everyone, everything and everywhere is changing the way we do things. With most business and corporates offering solutions in IoT and AI, there are tremendous opportunities for further growth. Technology coupled with constantly evolving management practices, has changed the functioning of traditional Indian offices too. Nowadays workspaces are not limited to being just a place to work. With every new innovation, they have been transformed to a space where employees can freely collaborate, communicate and connect with each other, thereby, boosting employee morale and in turn increasing the workplace productivity.

Another reason why technological advancements are increasingly becoming more important is that today’s workplace environment has become more competitive and complex than it was before. According to a Deloitte report, a manager is able to save 43 minutes a month if they have access to new and improved workplace tools.

In today’s day and age, where employees value their work-life balance more than ever, they want a workspace that is technologically advanced and interactive while being cool and edgy. Today’s always connected, instant access environment helps in dissolving the distinction between personal and professional life. A study conducted by CBRE has shown that about 70% of millennials would make various trade-offs that will help them in securing a workplace that allows them to maintain work-life balance. This can be easily achieved through collaborative and tech enabled workspaces.

Technological advancements at coworking spaces are enabling the workforce to achieve their full potential, which has now led to a number of large corporates opting for these smart workspaces. To accurately reflect in changing work experience, organizations have begun to implement an entirely new working environment – the digital workplace.

Integrating IoT and Artificial Intelligence at Workspaces
Cloud computing, web conferences, instant messaging and e-diaries have enabled better communication around the world and within the organization. By further leveraging IoT and integrating it with AI, workplaces will now be transformed to smarter, dynamic and interactive offices. It is not far when gadgets such as laptops and smartphones will become redundant and will give way to voice activated assistant, wearable technology, including wearable glasses, embedded chips, and wrist devices, connected with Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring seamless connection between work surfaces and individuals, thereby creating a self-sustaining working environment.

Automating Preferences
Utilizing the ability of these wearable devices to adopt to individual’s preferences will provide insightful data that will further help create workplace solutions that are customized to individual work styles. With time, space infrastructure including lighting, air conditioning and air quality will adjust automatically to the task at hand including the number of users and work setting.

Virtual Reality
With continuous evolution of technology, the future of tech-enabled workspaces is tinged with virtual reality. The definition of workspace has been evolving, from being defined, as ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’, digitization is further transforming the future of work across varied dimensions. Virtual workplace is no more a thing of future as VR technology is already playing a significant role in setting up virtual meetings. Soon enough an individual will be able to put on a VR headset and have access to a virtual mouse, keyboard and unlimited monitors. The use of avatars, 3D visualizations, and resilient telepresence, will be the new online meeting norm, essentially creating a truly collaborative and interactive environment that web and video conferences have been unable to achieve.

Blockchain
An ingenious invention, blockchain has always had industry disrupting capabilities. Right from market giants such as Amazon to publishing houses, blockchain has played a crucial role. In the year 2020, the same is being said for the coworking sector. Blockchain can perform tasks such as agreement management, payments, and procurements with better efficiency and traceability.

Technology is slowly and steadily becoming a compulsion and not an option. For an organization to sustain in this time and age of Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning they need to adapt themselves to the technological advancements and cater to their clienteles needs / workforce requirements. As machines become more advanced and gain new cutting-edge performance capabilities that match or exceed human capabilities, the adoption of automation in this sector will steadily pick up.

This story appeared in the 10 February , 2020 issue of Economic Times and is authored by Amit Ramani, Founder and CE0, Awfis. This article was originally published at : Building better workspaces with technology, IT News, ET CIO (indiatimes.com)