How Shared Workspaces gain over Conventional Offices

22 June 2017

How Shared Workspaces gain over Conventional Offices

All offices, whether online or brick and mortar operations, need space to work out from. With improved technology enabling distributed workforces and travel options enabling access to hitherto remote areas of a city, economical office space is not too difficult to find. However, every now and then, the distributed workforce needs to come together and the office in a remote area needs to mark its presence in or near a central business district (CBD). But hiring office space for these infrequent needs is uneconomical.

In CBDs of metros like Mumbai and Delhi, the average rent of grade A office space can be more than Rs250 per sq ft. Add to this the cost of setting up and maintaining the space, and the fact that commercial spaces are usually let out as long-term leases. As a result, prime real estate was considered to be beyond the reach of most start-ups, small business, and even many established professionals.

No more. There are many options to renting office space in a CBD, especially for a small number of people or for short periods. Let’s explore these options a bit more.

 Mint Infographic

Renting options

To cater to emerging businesses, start-ups and professionals, many companies have started offering different types of office spaces such as business centres, or serviced offices, co-working spaces, and even virtual offices. “These office spaces were not very prevalent two years ago but last year the co-working footprint has increased considerably. Currently, more than 160 operators facilitate co-working offices with over 350 operational centres across various Tier I and Tier II cities in India,” said Surabhi Arora, senior associate director, research, Colliers International India. A co-working space is usually an open floor-format office with shared spaces for meetings and networking.

These office spaces try to address the immediate needs of their customers. For instance, if a company organises a meeting only once a month in a city, or has very few employees in a place, or wants to employ some people only for a few months or weeks; they no longer need to get into a long-term lease for these short-term needs.

Mint Infographic1

Just as serviced apartments offer concierge and numerous other services bundled with the apartment’s rent; desks or conference rooms in serviced offices (or business centres) can also be rented along with all the frills—for a higher price—rather than just the co-working spaces,” said Ramesh Nair, chief executive officer and country head, JLL India. While some co-working spaces are as expensive as serviced offices (or business centres), most of the co-working are more cost-effective than the serviced offices, he added.

Apart from the above options, which provide physical space, virtual office space can also be used by home-run businesses and professionals. “They serve those who need mail and call support,” said Sumit Lakhani, chief marketing officer and sales head, Awfis Space Solutions. “Virtual offices are ideal for freelancers or entrepreneurs who spend most of their time travelling. These offices give you the convenience of a registered office address, where you can get your mail delivered and occasionally work from,” said Neetish Sarda, founder and managing director, Smartworks.

The benefits

Cost saving is the biggest benefit of such office spaces (see table). “Companies can save 15-20% by working in a co-working space, which (also) provide…plug-and-play amenities that bring them at par with grade-A offices,” said Nair. These are better suited for those with small teams that need office space in prime areas. “The occupiers of small set-ups, employing 25 to 50 people, can profit from a cost cut of at least 15-30% on capex initially,” said Arora.

The other benefit is flexibility. You can rent these spaces on a monthly, daily or even hourly basis. You could also choose to work out of a cabin space, open space or even a meeting room. “We offer different options. Flexi seat are available at the rate of Rs300 per day per person or Rs. 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per month, or fix seats are available at Rs600 per day or Rs 9,000 to Rs13,000 per month,” said Lakhani. For meeting rooms, his company charges Rs350 an hour for spaces that can seat four, and Rs750 for spaces that can seat eight. The price varies based on location, facilities and amenities, added Lakhani.

For instance, let us assume you have 10 employees and rent a 500 sq ft office at Rs200 per sq ft. It would cost you Rs1 lakh a month. If you opt for a co-working space, it too will cost you about Rs 10,000 per employee. However, while the per month rent may seem to be similar, it does not include the cost of equipping the office. Even if we assume that cost to be Rs 1,000 per sq ft, that is Rs5 lakh upfront you would save with the co-working space. And we have not even factored in the costs of brokerage, lease agreement and the security deposit, and overheads such as the cost of housekeeping, security and other person is also less in case of co-working space. Besides that, co-working spaces offer common receptions, canteen and washrooms, which may be difficult to set up in small offices.

Typically, commercial space are leased out for long-term periods and that need huge amount of security deposits and setting up costs upfront. They also come with lock-in periods. So, if tenants want to vacate at short notice, they would forfeit the security deposit.

“A co-working office space makes more sense if your business is at an early stage, where your team and requirements are limited and you don’t need much privacy to make important business decisions,” said Sarda.

However, before deciding to rent any of these spaces for more than a few days, ask for a trial period. Depending on your duration and terms of lease, negotiate the price. Ask for references from clients. Avoid service providers that don’t have satisfied clients. Evaluate the services that you will require. Do not pay for facilities you don’t need. For instance, if you know that you will rarely use a meeting room or a lounge, do not pay for regular access to it. Enquire about additional and hidden charges such as parking facilities for employees and clients. The office may be shared, but the money you pay for it is completely your own. Make best use of both—your money and the office.

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Co-working operator Awfis aims to double footprint, add more cities

07 February 2022

Co-working operator Awfis aims to double footprint, add more cities

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Workspace solutions provider Awfis said it has opened its 100th centre, in Bengaluru, with which it now has 4 million sq ft of office space across the country and 62,000 seats in 14 cities.

The company now plans to double its real estate footprint and add more cities going ahead.

In an ongoing pandemic situation, many organizations are on the lookout for workspace solutions that offer safety, convenience and improve productivity while optimizing costs.
Awfis said it has steadily evolved with the shift in demand, addressing the varied needs of large-scale enterprises, where its centres have been tailor-made to suit the requirements of enterprises.

In line with this, its 100th centre ‘Awfis One’ is located in Lido Mall, Bengaluru and is spread across 70,000 sq ft, with 15,000 seats to cater to the increasing demand for flexible workspaces. “We are elated to reach the phenomenal 100-centre milestone in a span of 6 years. Amidst the dynamic work transition that took place almost overnight, Awfis emerged as the partner of choice in supporting organizations towards reimagining their future of work, through its own business evolution. Over the course of the pandemic, Awfis has grown from being a co-working player to an integrated end-to-end workspace solutions provider that is changing the way India works,” said Amit Ramani, founder and CEO, Awfis.

“Awfis’ rise from 5,800 desks across 20 centres in July 2017 to 62,000+ desks across 100 centers in 14 cities and has also reaffirmed its role as a preferred partner for building future-ready offices in the new normal. We are optimistic about the growth of the flex workspace industry this year and in line with that our aim is to double our capacity further in 2022 by launching our next 100 centres and entering new markets to establish a strong presence across 18 cities in India,” Ramani added.

This story appeared in the 19  January, 2022 issue of Mint and was originally published  at : Co-working operator Awfis aims to double footprint, add more cities (

Second half of 2021 to bring new opportunities for the commercial real estate market: Experts

19 July 2021

Second half of 2021 to bring new opportunities for the commercial real estate market: Experts

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

The commercial real estate market will be expecting growth and getting ready for a post pandemic recovery with the roll out of vaccines in India,according to experts.

In the webinar by home-grown flex workspace provider, Awfis, on the strategies that needs to be adopted by the CRE market to successfully navigate the second wave of the pandemic, experts said that traditional sources of capital – banks and NBFCs, will be constrained at least for the next 24-36 months.

From an investor’s perspective, they will think through before they deploy capital to consider the contingencies, they have faced in the past 12 months.

“Last year, the pandemic changed the CRE sector in fundamental ways that no
one predicted. With the pace of improvement driven by the availability
and effectiveness of a vaccine in 2021, the long-term outlook for commercial
real estate looks positive in many facets.

With the CRE industry likely to recover in the coming months, 2021 foresees a strong partnership between occupiers and developers,” said Amit Ramani, CEO
& Founder, Aw@s and Vice President, Indian Workspace Association.
Sanjay Dutt MD & CEO, Tata Realty and Tata Housing said that they have seen
significant changes from an occupier’s point of view.
“Occupiers are exiting leases, which do not meet the new benchmarks of
environment, health, safety and wellness (EHSW) standards and willing to pay premium and renew & consolidate where they do. Majority of occupiers have deliberated on the work from home vs work from office options and a lot of emphasis has been on building the right infrastructure to make sure one inculcates the culture of the organization in the workplace for the people since they want them to come to the office. They are expected to
repurpose the office,” said Dutt.

Experts believe that the latter half of 2021 brings with it a lot of new opportunities for the CRE market with respect to the strategies and planning that is required for the evolving nature of the industry.

“For the short to medium term outlook, the developers must listen to their clients and synchronize their supply to real, tangible demand and redesign/repurpose their products for what is the new normal (post pandemic). Additionally, developers also need to focus on stabilizing rather than chasing growth and be disciplined about the capital they raise and focus on executing to deliver as committed,” said Arpito Mukerji, Managing Director,
Apollo Global Management.

Going ahead, occupier’s health and wellbeing will be crucial to future CRE strategy and investments. Developers need to reinvent their strategies accordingly, although the response to restructuring their portfolios varies from developer to developer.
“The entire focus currently is to stand by our customers and help them tackle the
ongoing crisis. In the long run, developers will need to recognise the importance of digital technology across the value chain, right from investments to design / construction and to operations. There will need to be tremendous focus on green power, energy efficiency, cost optimisation, improving customer experience and health & wellness using PropTech –
developers who will do this will stand out in the market,” said Vinamra Srivastava, CEO, Business Parks, CapitaLand India.

The growing demand for more sustainable, smart, and flexible options among occupiers will have an impact on the demand for commercial real estate, as corporates consider a hybrid work culture to reduce excess space from their portfolios.
“Certain developers have taken the decision that would like to offload capital intensive portfolios from their balance sheet and redeploy the capital into their core development business. Most asset owners are focused on rapidly upgrading asset level
technology, processes, and standards,” said Amit Diwan, MD & Country Head,
Hines India.

According to Vinod Rohira, MD & CEO, CRE & REIT, K. Raheja Corp, REITS is a
fantastic opportunity for India and right now it is in the stage of infancy.
“If you look at the developed markets of the world, they are way ahead of us and
there is more to learn from a governance, compliance strategy, development, and asset management level. If we can get this right, it will be a massive opportunity for India, going
forward,” Rohira said.

This story appeared in the May 31  2021 issue of  The Economic Times and was originally published at:


Why businesses need to realign marketing strategies to fit into the new normal

24 February 2021

Why businesses need to realign marketing strategies to fit into the new normal

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

With Covid-19 being the center of all our conversations with stakeholders in 2020, marketing has emerged as the nerve center of a brand’s pandemic response, across sectors. With a need for flexibility and strong internal relationships to navigate changing circumstances, it is imperative for organisations to realise crucial role that marketers play in connecting various parts of any business. From consumer insights and brand positioning, to building engagement and transparent communications, marketing teams, globally have delivered heightened value amidst the pandemic.


Adopting new-age channels of communication

In 2020 brands across sectors invested heavily in online marketing activations as compared to prior years, where marketers seemed to prefer a resource split between traditional and online methods of marketing. Even within digital marketing, content marketing was utilised as a key avenue to engage potential consumers beyond the product and maintain high brand recall. As we make our way into 2021, the marketing media mix will become more skewed towards digital media. While the overall marketing spends for real estate have reduced significantly, there is a shift from high investment channels like print, electronic and OOH to digital for its cost-effectiveness. Conventional marketing will continue to see decreased spend even post Covid but digital will see a considerable increase in spends by 50-60% in the future as brands will learn to look at it as the best marketing tool promising ROI evaluation. Most companies who haven’t experienced the power of digital media yet will use this time to lay the groundwork to engage with customers digitally be it through mapping the customer e-journey, creating 360 views or enabling online payments to attract more customers in the absence of site visits.

In 2021, a prominent trend will be the utilisation of machine learning to filter audiences for targeted campaign outreach. Implementation of machine learning in campaigns will help brands to improve both targeting and messaging by marketing to micro-segments with very well identified needs or interests.

Transparency and continued engagement amidst unprecedented times

This year, information sharing emerged as a key trend within campaigns with the growing universal inclination of customers towards sanitization, hygiene and social distancing. Marketers who were able to remain transparent of their policies and processes whilst keeping the end consumers informed about how their brand will ensure maximal safety amidst these times, emerged ahead of the curve. Brands need to be more cautious than ever in their communication with customers, emanating empathy and transparency in just the right amount. Marketing as the custodian of the brand has taken a centre stage in all kinds of communication going out to customers, partners and stakeholders across multiple channels ensuring consistency in the brand voice. The marketing team has become the first responders, whether it is crafting new ways of communication or being part of a Central Response Team to provide consistent messaging to customers. It can be the anchor, the voice of stability in such uncertain times.

In line with the above several brands adopted influencer marketing and advocacy as a key medium of customer outreach to maintain authenticity whilst also building brand equity.

Marketing will become the primary channel for demand generation

With limited budgets, zero business travel and social distancing norms in play, this is the time for marketing to hustle and step up to become the primary demand generation engine for the organisation. Sales will depend on marketing to enhance their reach and bring prospective customers closer to the table. In line with this in 2021, brands will curate 360-degree campaigns that extend beyond traditional advertising mediums and reflect across teams such as customer service and human resources, which deal with the two most integral stakeholders of any brand.

Embracing Agility

The year 2020 was privy to unprecedented times that disrupted all existing business plans, causing businesses across verticals to realign themselves to fit into the new normal. In line with this the year 2021 too, will be the year of constant re-invention. Brands who manage to stay ahead of the curve by adopting emerging trends and catering to the ever-evolving customer will emerge as successful.

This story appeared in the 5 January , 2021 issue of Financial Express and is authored by Sumit Lakhani, CMO, Awfis. This article was originally published at :  Why businesses need to realign marketing strategies to fit into the new normal – The Financial Express