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 )
Awfis picks up 3 lakh sq ft on lease across 5 cities

01 February 2019

Awfis picks up 3 lakh sq ft on lease across 5 cities

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The company is planning to set up eight new centres across these five cities taking its total portfolio to 63 centres with 30,000 seats across 10 cities.

India’s largest home-grown co-working space provider Awfis Space Solutions has picked up 3 lakh sq ft of office space in Pune, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Noida and Chennai on a long-term lease to continue its aggressive expansion across the country.

The company is planning to set up eight new centres across these five cities taking its total portfolio to 63 centres with 30,000 seats across 10 cities. Total tenure of these leases range between five year and nine years.

The proposed expansion is in line with Awfis’ definite growth strategy of doubling seats every year to reach the 2 lakh seats milestone by 2021. Currently, Awfis is India’s only co-working space provider with a nation-wide network of 63 centres across 10 cities.

“With over 3 lakh square feet of office space added to Awfis portfolio, we continue to move towards our target of reaching 2 lakh seats over the next 3 years. From around 5,800 desks in July 2017, we’ve now reached 30,000 desks in a span of 18 months – strengthening our position as a market leader in the co-working segment,” Amit Ramani, founder & CEO, Awfis, told ET. “We are now extremely excited to witness Awfis’ next phase of expansion which will enable us to hit the 50,000 seats mark this year itself.”

The company recently raised $20 million in series C funding from its existing investors global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, The Three Sisters: Institutional Office (TTS:IO) led by Radha Kapoor and Temasek Group company InnoVen Capital to support the growth plan.

Before this, the company had raised $31 million through two rounds from TTS:IO and founder Amit Ramani. In its maiden exposure to the company, the California-based Sequoia Capital invested $20 million in the company.

The latest funding will be to support the company’s next phase of growth. Over the last one year, it has already increased the presence to 25,000 seats across 55 centres spread over nearly 1.7 million sq ft. The company’s additional 8 centres will get operational in 45 days taking total space to 2 million sq ft.

Awfis has grown its revenue four times for the year ended March 2018 from March 2017 and expects to clock revenue worth Rs 170 crore in the current financial year.

“Co-working has truly proved to be a game-changer for the commercial real estate sector in India. Awfis’ aggressive growth is a huge testament to the evolution of this segment – not just in Tier I cities but also in Tier II cities. Our flourishing business development strategy and the positive market response to our centres gives us great confidence to keep doubling our capacity every year,” Sumit Lakhani, chief marketing officer, Awfis, told ET.

While several other co-working space providers have resorted to large hubs, Awfis has preferred to spread across more cities and locations with moderate size of centres. The company’s largest co-working hub with 850 seats is in phase II of Hyderabad’s Hi-Tech city.

The demand for co-working spaces or shared offices is gaining momentum across the country and as many as 13 million people, equivalent to the current population of India’s Silicon Valley Bengaluru, are estimated to work out of such facilities by 2020.

Please visit the below links to read the published article:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/property-/-cstruction/awfis-picks-up-3-lakh-sq-ft-on-lease-across-5-cities/articleshow/67783619.cms

https://realty.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/commercial/awfis-picks-up-3-lakh-sq-ft-on-lease-across-5-cities/67784770

Awfis opens its 1st centre in Chandigarh; set to expand its footprint by 2X pan India in 2019

24 January 2019

Awfis opens its 1st centre in Chandigarh; set to expand its footprint by 2X pan India in 2019

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

India’s largest shared workspace provider, Awfis has launched its first co-working space in Chandigarh, Mohali region. The co-working facility is spread across 15,000 square feet and is capable of seating over 300 customers and eyes to expand further in the region in the next 10-12 months.

“Coworking became a global phenomenon in 2010, but it’s only in the past 3 years that the demand for shared workspaces in India has seen unprecedented growth. Tier 2 markets are projected to grow to 8.5 mn seats by 2020 owing to the steady growth of entrepreneurial spirit in these cities, thereby, creating the demand for affordable Grade A coworking spaces,” Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO, Awfis said.

Besides Chandigarh, Awfis also aims to expand to other Tier 2 cities such as Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Indore, and Bhubaneshwar and aims to establish 100+ centres with 50,000+ seats across Mumbai, NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Zirakpur in the next 12 months.

“Tier 2 cities are geared to lead the next wave of economic growth of India in the coming years and are providing a favourable environment for start-ups, SMEs & large corporates to either set up their base or expand their footprints,” Sumit Lakhani, Chief Marketing Officer, Awfis said.

Backed by marquee investors like Sequoia Capital, TTS:IO and InnoVen Capital, Awfis currently has a nationwide network of 55 centres with over 25,000 seats across 9 cities and 45 micro markets.

Visit the below link to read the published article: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/newsbuzz/awfis-opens-its-1st-centre-in-chandigarh-set-to-expand-its-footprint-by-2x-pan-india-in-2019/articleshow/67656839.cms

This article was also covered in print editions of the below publications:

Aaj Samaj, 24th January 2019
The Pioneer, 24th January 2019
The Tribune, 24th January 2019
Rozana Spokesman, 24th January 2019
Yug Marg, 24th January 2019
Jag Marg, 24th January 2019
Divya Himachal, 24th January 2019
Amar Ujala, 24th January 2019
Aapka Faisla, 24th January 2019
Desh Pyaar, 24th January 2019
Daily Pehredar, 24th January 2019

Standing Desks are the New Productivity & Fitness Mantra

04 December 2018

Standing Desks are the New Productivity & Fitness Mantra

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Monday meetings were a bother for HR professional Runu Mehta. Her team of 16 would sit for two hours and discuss what they did over the weekend. Deciding to do something different, she took away the chairs from the meeting room.

“I made these meetings standing-only and found that the meeting time reduced to 30 minutes!” said Mehta, now head of learning and development at music label Shemaroo.

Standing meetings and standing desks have become popular over the past few years, not just because they increase productivity, but especially because of the perceived health benefits. “Sitting is associated with the risk of hip, knee and neck pain as muscles in those areas are in a locked position,” said Dr Balvinder Rana, additional director at the Fortis Bone and Joint Institute in Gurgaon.

Gunasekaran Jayaraman, CEO of ergonomical furniture startup Purpleark, said 20% of his retail customers get standing desks because their doctors suggested it.

“Using a standing desk has helped me focus better and I’m also sleeping better,” said Ayush, a software engineer at an ecommerce company who stands and works for 4-5 hours a day.

A year-long study by Loughborough University and University of Leicester found that people using standing desks reported less anxiety than those who used regular desks. The researchers surveyed 146 officials in the UK’s National Health Services, 77 of whom were given sit-stand desks while the control group of 69 employees had regular desks.

In India, one of the major drivers of this trend is international exposure.

“An executive goes abroad and he sees offices there using standing desks and so he comes back and wants one,” said Jayaraman. He said that sales have gone up almost fourfold month-on-month for the past six months.

In India, multinational companies are driving the trend, according to Jayaraman and office furniture company Steelcase.
Microsoft procured these desks for all its offices in the country after studying how employees used workspaces and what they needed to become more productive, said Marianne Rathje, director of real estate and facilities (Asia Pacific) at the company.

“The idea is to increase collaboration, creativity and productivity and make employees feel like part of a more relaxed, creative enterprise,” said Rathje.

The company’s employees had an orientation programme to introduce them to the benefits of standing workstations. “These are extensively used and employees love the flexibility to use their spaces the way they need to,” she said.

IT Company Infosys has acquired these desks on an experimental basis, said HR head Richard Lobo. Companies that don’t want to disrupt their workplaces can “convert” their regular desks to sit-stand desks. Some companies place a few standing desks on each floor so that employees can occasionally work there.

The popularity of these desks outs ide the corporate environment is still in its nascent stages, although the trend seems to be picking up.

Co-working space Awfis has 50 such desks out of the 25,000 or so it has in total. Awfis CEO Amit Rarnani, who uses a standing desk, procured them after his customers asked for them. This year, he introduced standing-only meeting spaces in his office in Powai. “They’re very popular, especially with the young generation, as meetings are much quicker,” he said.

According to Rarnani. Standing meetings will become the order of the day in four or five years as mobiles replace laptops, making sitting in one place unnecessary.

Still, there is such a thing as too much standing.

“Standing for more than 5-6 hours a day can lead to blood pooling in your legs. This can cause swelling, ankle pain and varicose veins,” said Dr Rana.

That’s why engineer Sumit Chuttani uses a standing desk at his workplace only once in two weeks. “It’s good to stand and work, but only for a few hours. Not the whole day,” he said.

For those with sedentary jobs, the best strategy is to alternate between sitting and standing and doing back-strengthening exercises.

This article was published in The Economic Times on 4th December 2018