HT Brand Studio Live (Leadership Series) featured our Founder & CEO, Mr. Amit Ramani

20 December 2019

HT Brand Studio Live (Leadership Series) featured our Founder & CEO, Mr. Amit Ramani

  • Hindustan Times

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The workplaces of the future

20 December 2019

The workplaces of the future

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The last few years have witnessed a massive change in the workplace preferences of the Indian workforce. There has been a revolutionary shift from traditional offices to shared workspaces, making India the second largest market for co-working spaces, after China.

In the first quarter of 2019 itself, co-working had taken up about 2.9 million square feet commercial realty—a 70% increase on a Q-O-Q basis and a 277% increase on a Y-O-Y basis. The top three cities were NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru. (Source: CBRE).

Co-working is now being recognized as a major portion of the CRE leasing activity, giving tough competition to conventional offices.

Driving this growth is the rise in demand from metros along with Tier 2 and 3 cities. Over 13 million people will work out of co-working spaces by 2020, with tier 2 and 3 leading this change. This demand for co-working spaces was expected to grow at 40% – 50% this year, higher than Asia Pacific’s rate of 35.7% (Source: JLL).

With the economic growth in the top seven cities beginning to saturate, tier 2 and 3 cities have come into reckoning as the growth engines of the future. This is being led by a rise in disposable income, resulting in enormous opportunities for companies looking out for new markets to tap into (Source: Cushman & Wakefield).

Adding to the demand are the SMEs and corporates, who are moving towards co-working spaces for setting up their HQs, satellite offices, back offices, etc. Thus, given the strong demand and momentum that co-working spaces have gathered, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the best is yet to come and that we have only just touched the tip of the iceberg.

With the ever-growing competition, and in order to stay relevant for their clients, co-working players are continuously reinventing and adapting best practices. Thus, there is an immense focus on integrating technology at the heart of all offerings to capture the market share of the millennial workforce that breathes technology.

The advent of autonomous workspaces

Today, digital disruption is all-pervasive. Digital innovation is transforming economies and re-imagining the way businesses are conducted globally. The speed at which technology is evolving today reminds us of the industrial revolution in the 1900s. Every industry is experiencing the positive implications of it including real estate.

If embraced wisely, technology can serve as a catalyst to accelerate businesses, design user-centric workspaces and heighten productivity. Walkable treadmill workstations, pedal tables, virtual assistant-integrated desks and smart sensing technologies will provide untethered flexibility at work. Voice-activated systems and wearable technology such as wearable glasses, embedded chips, and wrist devices connected with work desks will make ‘working on the go’ more productive.

By integrating IoT with AI, co-working spaces can be transformed into smarter, dynamic and interactive offices. Automating the entry and exit, improving security, controlling energy consumption and utilization, and enabling cashless payments allow professionals to work in an accelerated environment. The volumes of data gathered are offering insights for future strategies. Cloud computing, web conferences, instant messaging, and e-diaries have enabled better communication around the world and within organizations. The ability of devices to interact with individuals provides a personalized workspace to inspire productivity.

This is an authored article by Mr. Amit Ramani, Founder & CEO, Awfis. This was originally published at:

Co-working goes cross-country

30 November 2018

Co-working goes cross-country

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

As start-ups sprout in non-metro cities, entrepreneurship catches on, companies based in the metros are offering them workspaces too

Last August, Gorakhpur got its first co-working space, Startup Cafe. When Arunn Guptaa, 30, launched it, he had to start from scratch – the concept didn’t really exist in all of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
“Many weren’t aware of the term. So I made animation video tutorials explaining it and posted them on social media, WhatsApp groups and took out advertisements in local newspapers,” says Guptaa, a graduate in business studies who has previously worked with major e-commerce platforms. Now, 50 people – start-ups and freelancer – work out of the 2,500-sq-ft space.

Awfis, which has made its mark with multiple spaces in the metros, launched an outpost in Chandigarh earlier this month. They already have centres in Hyderabad and Pune. Within three months, they plan to foray into Ahmedabad and after that, non-metros like Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Kochi and Indore.

Elsewhere, young entrepreneurs are launching co-working spaces in cities like Surat, Rajkot, Udaipur and Panaji. They’re offering services like GST registration, incorporating local elements in designs and layout, and organising networking events to boost local start-up ecosystem.

According to a research report for 2017-18 by real-estate services firm JLL, there are approximately 350 co-working players / service providers operating an estimated 500 shared workspaces across the country, compared to less than 30 centres in 2010. The bulk of this segment is restricted to seven cities – Mumbai, Delhi/ NCR, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata. But smaller markets like Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kochi are expected to see a boom in this segment, the research suggests.

“The entrepreneurial spirit in smaller cities has exponentially increased their potential to be up-and-coming hubs of co-working spaces,” says Amit Ramani, CEO and founder of Awfis.
Akshit Mehta, founder of Vorq Space that has two co-working centres in Mumbai, agrees. “A NASSCOM report says that lndia is expected to have as many as 11,000 start-ups in the tech domain alone by 2020, of which a significant number will be based in non-metro cities,” he says.

Responding to this potential, Mehta has chalked out a plan to penetrate non-metros markets. “By 2020, we want to open 10 more co-working spaces. The focus locations in the first phase are Arpora in Goa, Surat, Nashik and Puducherry.”
Availability of space, high speed internet and more importantly, low-cost leases, are also encouraging entrepreneurs to focus on non-metros. “Government initiatives like smart cities mission have enhanced real-estate growth in these regions, making it easier to provide Grade A workspaces at affordable prices,” Ramani says.

Based on the non-metro markets they are in, the spaces also feature local elements in their design.
At 9lSpringboard in Panaji, vibrant murals sport anchors and lighthouses. “Cultural sensibility also plays an important role,” says Ramani.

Launching co-working space in a non-metro has its risks and challenges, though. The first is familiarising locals with the concept. “Explaining benefits was a big challenge,” says Abhinandan Gupta, 28, founder and CEO of Adited, which launched its first space in Indore, a 34-seater, in November 2015 and now has three spaces in that city. “For first three months, we had just two small IT companies working with us. So we started focusing on networking events, which helped us build good reach. We reached 100% occupancy at our first branch in about six months.”
Once they understand it, the formula offers a win-win for the growing number of entrepreneurs in non-metro cities – they get office space without hassle of running it themselves or maintaining it; plus, they can network with other entrepreneurs at no extra cost.

Interior designer Anubhav Suri has been working out of a co-working space with a team of three members at Startup Café in Gorakhpur for five months. “Monthly rental for a 200-sq-ft office space would be Rs 20,000. I’d have to spend extra on infrastructure and amenities. Here, I can rent a fully equipped cabin for Rs 5,000 per month,” he says.

The above article was published in Hindustan Times- Mumbai Edition on 30th November 2018

How Traditional Offices’ Loss Became the Co­working Spaces’ Gain

18 September 2018

How Traditional Offices’ Loss Became the Co­working Spaces’ Gain

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

EVOLVING SPACE: Welcome to the world of collaborative working or co­working where your next­door neighbour is not a colleague from the same company but another start up, medium sized company or an entrepreneur

The traditional office space has for long been characterized by lack of flexibility, scalability and affordability. The constraints of conventional work spaces has translated to opportunity for co-working spaces which has indeed become the buzzword in today’s office real estate. Imagine a space with multiple breakout zones, travel-desk, concierge, café, gym, spa, gaming zone, brewery, crèche, shuttle service to last mile metro station and even ‘meditation and frustration’ zones for warding off Monday blues. No, these are not features of an upmarket lifestyle apartments but rather a fast growing brand operating co-working spaces in the country. According to Sudeep Singh, CEO, GoWork, “We believe in giving significant focus to the individual, apart from the work.” Their current clientele includes the likes of Zomato, Paytm, FlyingFur, Impactify, Lifelong, Fixoo, etc. Flexibility is the name of the game with packages designed for use as varied from a daily to a monthly to an annual basis. For instance they have a package called Day Tripper (at Rs. 350 per day), Tourist (at Rs. 3,750 for ten days), Resident (at Rs. 6,500 for a month), Citizen (an exclusive membership, at a price of Rs. 8,250), Minister (one’s personal space at a price of Rs. 10,000) and Virtual Office (at Rs. 2,500).

Welcome to the world of collaborative working or co-working where your next-door neighbour is not a colleague from the same company but another start up, medium sized company or an entrepreneur. Typically, it is attractive to start ups, small and medium companies or work-at-home professionals, independent practitioners who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is not only about the physical place, but about establishing a community.

Why and how did this concept happen? Creators of co-working space have us believe that for a long time small and medium scale companies (SMEs) have struggled existing with the conventional office format. “It’s a correction over all the mistakes made by the providers of conventional office spaces as well as business centres.” According to Amit Ramani, Founder, Awfis, a co-working space spread across nine cities- “It’s a huge refinement over the business centre model which could not deliver on its promises of being either reasonable or flexible work space. A business centre was characterised by minimum 12 month lock-in period, an entry fee, an exit fee, and additional charges for tea/coffee and conference rooms with the basic structure designed to be opaque cabins rather than interactive work spaces. Now everything wrong with conventional office real estate in India is sorted with co-working spaces. Co-working spaces allows you to use a space from as low as one hour to five years. The lowest entry point is one hour. Also the charges are as low as Rs 5,000 for a flexi seat per month and you can even use a four seater cabin for a day at Rs 450 with beverages and wi- fi included. The third factor is they are accessible. Co working spaces are present in virtually every popular micromarket in a city – so if I stay in Vasant Kunj, I want my office to be in Vasant Kunj. Hence we make sure our offices are accessible and we are present in major micromarkets such as Mayur Vihar, Vasant Kunj, Gurugram etc.”

The co-working spaces typically offer four formats of working space. First is the flexi seat which is not dedicated work station but has locker space available for a month at Rs 5,000. Second is the fixed seat which comes at Rs 7,000-12,000/month. Third is the Cabin seat with a two seater, four seater, six seater available for anything between Rs 8,000-20,000/month and finally the Bespoke spaces which are the underutilised spaces in hotels and malls converted to shared workspaces example Awfis has some work- space at Taj Deccan and malls in Mumbai, Pune. However the prices vary across coworking space providers. At GoWork, where a standard single cubicle with a couch at a space of 120 sq ft comes at Rs 12,000 per seat for a professional, there is also a package of Rs 16,000 where one can get unlimited beer* (*3 beers a day). For C-level employees, there are premium packages are available at Rs 30,000- 45,000 per seat.

Another co-working space called Co-Offiz which has office centres at Preet Vihar, Netaji Subhash Palce and Janak Puri has very competitive charges. According to Prachi Agrawal Co-Founder- “Our plan starts at Rs 400/day pass. We also offer free trial for our clients. We charge Rs 7,500 per seat for private cabins and Rs 5,500 for open seats.”

Who are the biggest takers of co-working spaces? The biggest consumers are SMEs or small and medium enterprises. Besides, start-ups, freelancers and entrepreneurs are also target audience. Recently Priti Paul, Director Apeejay Surrendra Group launched a co-working space called ABC at Cyber- hub, Gurugram (after Kolkata and Hyderabad) with special privileges tailor made for women entrepreneurs and those that women-led and women owned start-ups. Says Paul, “I feel that women can thrive only in uniquely positioned work spaces. My co-working space is for WWW or “wonder women at work” who have to juggle it all. My aim has been to create a woman and family-friendly collaborative co-working office space and the ‘ABC for Women at Work’ scheme creates the conditions for life-work-health balance with mentoring sessions, Yoga, wellness, self-defence workshops, besides getting books, grocery and healthy food delivered to their ABC work- space at discounted rates. These are a few of life enhancing services.”

An important feature of co-working spaces is interactivity that is attained through inclusive design, and engaging activities. A wine tasting session on the weekend, a culinary week with MasterChef competitions, to a morning fitness party are all ways to build bonds within the co-working community.

Publication: Hindustan Times
Date: 15th September, 2018