India Inc turns to co-working spaces

13 September 2017

India Inc turns to co-working spaces

  • Hindustan Times

Co-working spaces attract bigger companies looking to save cost

Co-working spaces can save around 20-25% of real estate costs, says JLL India report


Mumbai: Co-working spaces, so far popular with start-ups and entrepreneurs, are increasingly attracting larger companies as well, as mobile work forces and cost savings encourage many organizations to try out new ways of work. According to office solutions providers and consultants, many companies are going for flexible shared office spaces with no long-term leases and without any fixed capital investment. Co-working spaces can save around 20-25% of real estate costs, says a 7 July report by property consultant JLL India.

Media company Discovery Communications, Inc. has booked around 150 seats at an upcoming shared office premises from WeWork at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), two people aware of the development said, on the condition of anonymity. In January, WeWork, a US-based co-working space provider, leased the entire 16-storey ENAM Sambhav tower in BKC and plans to start offering office spaces with 2,000 seats starting September. A Discovery Communications spokesperson did not respond to email queries on the development.

WeWork’s India lead Juggy Marwaha declined to comment on the deal, but said that many large firms increasingly prefer shared work spaces due to the limited availability of quality offices in prime locations and also “to understand and incorporate start-up culture into their organisations.” “We are in a scenario where good quality spaces are not available in the market. Vacancy levels are down in almost every market. Co-working spaces offer a good solution not only to start-ups and freelancers but also to large enterprises for short-term requirements like 12-18 months,” said Marwaha.

In July, WeWork opened its first centre in Bengaluru with 2,300 seats, of which 90% has already been occupied. Two more centres in Bengaluru are in the pipeline, he said. The company has also leased an entire four-storey commercial property at Andheri, which previously housed the headquarters of broadcaster Star TV India, to set up its second co-working office in Mumbai. Marwaha said the new place would start operation by December this year and would have around 800 seats.

Sumit Lakhani, chief marketing officer of co-working services provider Awfis Space Solutions, agreed that many large firms are finding such spaces cost effective. Awfis, which started operations in 2015, operates in 30 centres with total seat of around 10,000 seats. “One of the things that we have seen is that companies do prefer to have their own headquarters where they don’t mind investing in resources and managing the whole space. However, with respect to offices across various other cities, they prefer to take co-working offices,” he said. In the last two years, several big and mid-sized firms have used co-working spaces particularly for their sales force and other mobile staff. In late 2015, apparel firm Pepe Jeans took around six seats at one of the centres run by Awfis in Benguluru. Since then, it has made the space its South India regional office. It also plans to take up few seats at one of the upcoming Awfis centres in Kolkata and turn it into a branch office for the eastern region. This month, Awfis also leased over 23000 sq.ft in Crescenzo, a commercial office building in BKC, Lakhani said.


“Our sales forces are spread across the country and for that, we don’t need a big office. Taking up a co-working space is cost-effective for us. Secondly, leasing an office comes with the additional headache of maintaining the place, additional manpower, deposits, registrations etc.,” said Suvojit Mukherjee, regional manager (South India), Pepe Jeans Ltd, adding he is able to save around Rs 20-25,000 every month as compared to leasing space at a prime office building in Bengaluru.

Gurugram-based food tech company Zomato said two of its teams of 20 each in Mumbai and Kolkata operate out of co-working centres run by Awfis.

“Co-working spaces come with a plug-and-play set-up and offer most amenities that a functional office needs, and the overhead of lease lock-ins, and furnishing etc is also lower since we have smaller teams working out of these spaces,” a Zomato spokesperson said in an email response.

According to Vikas Lakhani, co-founder of Gurugram-based Instaoffice Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd, nearly half of all desks are vacant in large offices and most spaces are underutilised. “Now, they have started to realise this. With co-working spaces, you only pay for what you are using. So, you end up saving a lot of the overall cost of operation, ”he said. Amazon India, Yahoo and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, are among companies which have taken space at his Instaoffice spaces, he added.

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:

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

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Watch the video here:

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