Spaces that are bigger, busier and frillier

28 September 2017

Spaces that are bigger, busier and frillier

  • The Hindu Business Line

Co-working spaces are expanding – not just in size but in what they offer

The boundaries between work and leisure are totally disintegrating. A visit to one of India’s largest co-working spaces, The Hive, in Whitefield, Bengaluru, shows this. This massive integrated collaborative workspace is set inside a mall (VR Bengaluru) with access to a hotel, a fitness centre, a swimming pool, a jogging track, a cinema theatre, restaurants and food courts.

Vidushi Jain, Deputy General Marketing, Virtuous Retail (the real estate firm that runs the The Hive), is a living example of how this space can be used. For the last one year she has been residing at a studio residence at The Waverley, the hotel within the mall with direct access to The Hive, which is open 24/7. She just walks across a corridor to get to her workdesk. In the day, she takes breaks from work to shop at the mall, use the fitness centre, or simply enjoy a coffee at any of the cafes around. She often pops into The Hive at night to work, ordering dinner through the FoodBox app. Does’nt she miss staying at home? The convenience and comfort I get here is incredible, she says.

What’s different?

Co-working spaces are not new in India -but what’s new is the explosion and evolution taking place in the area. According to JLL India, 2016-17 has seen a massive spike in the growth of the co-working industry, and it’s going to evolve further, with occupancies in many centres touching 100 per cent.

Sumit Lakhani, Chief Marketing Officer of Awfis Space Solutions, one of the largest operators in the country, is pretty gungho about growth, too. He says at present the shared office segment (this includes business centres, too) is just 1 per cent of commercial real estate in India. “We believe this will grow to nearly 5-7 per cent of commercial real estate by 2020”, he says. Along with the big growth, here are some clear trends shaping these flexible, collaborative offices.

Bigger and bigger

When they started in India, co-working spaces were cosy little affairs, tiny friendly units with 20-50 desks, mainly catering to start-ups and freelancers. Over the last couple of years, they have been getting bigger and bigger. For instance, when The Hive was built, at

100.000    sq ft, it was for a short while the largest co-working space in India. But then global player WeWork entered India, and grabbed the honours with a l.4-lakh sq ft workspace in Bengaluru, following it up with a 1.9-lakh sq feet area in Bandra Kurla in Mumbai. And if you think that’s big, now there’s GoWork in Guru gram at 8-lakh sq feet and over 12,000    seats.

But we have not seen anything yet. According to a JLL-WeWork report, The CoWorking Revolution, these alternative work spaces are set to grow by 40-50 per cent to reach over l-million sq ft by the end of the year. And co-working is expected to get $400 million in investments by 2018.

Changing user demographics

A big factor in the growth is the change in user demographics with large conglomerates using these spaces. In the early days, start-ups peopled by young millennials, thronged the co-working spaces. Today, as players like The Hive, Awfis and WeWork set up mammoth spaces, big companies are moving in. At

The Hive for instance, Airbus is an occupant. At Awfis, which talks of opening 100 centres with 35,000 seats in the next 15 months, the portfolio of users, according to Lakhani, is “50 per cent SMEs, 25 per cent corporate and remaining are start-ups, entrepreneurs, mompreneurs and independent workforces.

With conventional officer users converting to spaces like Awfis, Lakhani believes this is just the starting point of the shared office industry.

The average age of occupants of these highly social workspaces is also moving up. At The Hive, its CEO Ankit Samdariya says that people of diverse ages are coming in. I would say the range is from 20-50 years old,” he says. At Awfis, the average is 30 across all centres, says Lalwani. The millennial thought process is getting accepted across all generations. And this is clearly getting reflected in our client portfolio as well,” he says.

Space to stay

As the industry progresses, trend watchers forecast co-working spaces with on-site suites to stay in will pick up. In Asia, quite a few coworking spaces such as 47 East offer this.

Samdariya says a big USP for The Hive is the Waverley Hotel

Years ago, in Delhi, a small player like Moonlighting had tried it offering rooms to stay for outstation users. But now the trend is going to firm up. Along with stay options, operators are also offering a variety of social action.

The Hive, in fact, is selling this proposition heavily. It’s so easy for a member to move from his workspace at 6 pm to the rooftop bar area and carry the team meeting there. Over weekends we get many of our members coming in with their families – while the family shops and watches movies, they get their work done, says Samdariya.

Chains versus standalones

Co-working is currently a very fragmented space in India. The JLL report notes that there are about 300 co-working operators in the country operating around 1,000 centres. And less than 100 are branded spaces. Lakhani believes there are more than 500-plus players. But barring 6-7 players, rest everyone is operating at less than two centres and are more unorganised,” he says.

The advantage with chains is that users when travelling can avail centres in other cities. For instance, if you have an Awfis or InnovS card in Delhi, you could use it in Mumbai, too. This is a winning proposition for the user and the reason the big players are expanding rapidly.

Samdariya says a second Hive is coming up in Anna Nagar, Chennai. It will also be housed in a mall-VR Chennai – and have a mix of facilities from fitness centres, cinema and shopping. The company has plans to set up more such centres across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad.

Designed to collaborate

As these co-working spaces grow big, is the warm cosy friendliness going to be replaced by the impersonality of large offices? The operators are quick to point that the very design of these spaces, however large, will encourage collaboration and meetings.

At Awfis, the aim is to design and provide a space that is vibrant and minimal, at the same time a well-defined collaboration area with interesting furniture, flexible settings for events, enclosed spaces with good acoustics, flexible meeting areas that can be easily reconfigured, says Lakhani.

Samdariya says there has been a lot of art and science and curation put into the designs at The Hive.

“They provide natural light, greenery, are vibrant, open and inspiring”, he says.

Also, even if there are 800 to 10,000 occupants, there is a huge community building effort put in by the operators. Many co-working spaces have apps to connect members, encourage networking over knowledge seminars, events like jazz nights, sufi evenings, food experiences and so on. One thing is for sure – they have totally changed the way we work.

Book a plug-and-play office for ₹300 a day

25 August 2021

Book a plug-and-play office for ₹300 a day

  • Posted by awfis

Now, hire an office space for the price of pizza.

Targeted at nimble and sprouting start-ups across the country, Awfis Space Solutions has launched a mobile-based application to book office space with Wi-Fi and other basic facilities at ₹300-500 a day in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Promoted by Radha Kapoor, daughter of Rana Kapoor co-founder of YES Bank and emerging entrepreneur Amit Ramani, Awfis provides 1,500 office cabins, table space and meeting rooms for as low as one hour to 11 months across seven centres in three cities. The promoters have made an initial investment of ₹65 crore and plan to enhance capacity to 3,500 seats by March.

The company has drawn plans to set up 10,000 seats across 60 centres in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata by end of this year. It plans to raise $40-50 million (about ₹330 crore) by the end of next year to fuel growth.

Awfis has also tied up with Trident, Hyatt and Lemon Tree to list 100 meeting rooms at select locations on its platform.

Speaking to BusinessLine Ramani, CEO and Co-founder, said the just-in-time office space concept has already received good response with 12 start-ups in Bengaluru hooking in through Awfis.

“In fact, some of the venture capitalists before investing are insisting the start-ups to use our services as they do not want them to splurge capital in deposit, rentals and maintenance of own office space at the initial stage,” he added.

This apart, he said, Awfis is also in talks with top insurance company and audit firm to lease out space for their marketing staff.

It has also signed strategic partnership to provide allied services such as accounting, legal, recruitment, payments, web services, mail management, healthcare and insurance.

Interestingly, Ramani said about 60 high networth investors, who invested in real estate boom have approached Awfis for partnership as it assures steady return for them.

“Unlike other office space providers, we do not insist on one year rental agreement or take any security deposit in advance. With the planned 10,000 seats, our business has the potential to generate revenue of ₹10 crore a month and break-even with 40 per cent occupancy,” he said.

Remote working helping employees save 1.47 hours travel time a day: Survey

23 February 2021

Remote working helping employees save 1.47 hours travel time a day: Survey

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

Survey conducted in June, July across 7 metros and 1,000 employees; 3/4th of respondents willing to work from home

Awfis, India’s home-grown flexible workspace provider, unveiled the Awfis Remote Working Report, to offer a glimpse into the changing needs and preferences of the urban Indian workforce concerning their place of work post the Covid-19 lockdown.

The online survey has highlighted various challenges and opportunities that employees have faced while working remotely.

The pandemic is only the tip of the iceberg that the country’s cash-poor airlines — both regional and national — have run into

The survey was conducted over a period of two months (June and July 2020) across seven metros in India, and analysed inputs from 1,000 employees across diverse industries.

According to the survey, 74 per cent of the respondents are willing to work remotely, and 80 per cent pointed out that their job roles can be performed from a remote environment.

It revealed that 29 per cent of respondents reported saving ₹3,000-5,000 a month as a result of working from home, which was otherwise spent on commuting, clothing, and food, among others.

Sixty per cent of the employees usually spend more than an hour in commute to and from office. Therefore, due to work from home now, on average, an employee saves 1.47 hours of travel time every day. This translates to time worth 44 additional working days in a year.

Key challenges

Work from home has its challenges, too. The survey said 27 per cent of the employees felt they lacked opportunities for engaging with colleagues and developing strong networks. The inability to meet and collaborate may have impacted employees’ creativity.

The survey also said 43 per cent of the employees reported the inability to maintain their work-life balance while working remotely.

While 47 per cent of the employees surveyed report a lack of comfortable desk and chair, 71 per cent felt they would be successful in working from home if they had a dedicated work space.

Commenting on the survey, Amit Ramani, CEO & Founder, Awfis, said in an official release: “The current situation has given way to a new style of working — Work from Anywhere. Organisations and individuals are gradually adjusting to this new normal. To be effective, organisations across diverse industries need to understand the changing requirements and challenges faced by their employees and provide them with the required resources.”

He added: “By means of this survey, we were able to deconstruct the employee perspective and share critical insights that would help managers and organisations devise sustainable remote working strategies.”

This story appeared in the 1 September , 2020 issue of Hindu Business Line and was originally published  at : Remote working helping employees save 1.47 hours travel time a day: Survey – The Hindu BusinessLine

Awfis turns profitable, set to expand to 5 more cities

18 March 2019

Awfis turns profitable, set to expand to 5 more cities

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Awfis, the co-working spaces and solutions provider, has turned profitable in little over three years since its commencement .

The company, which could be considered a startup, has grown to 30,000 seats across 10 metros and cities with 63 centres up from 3,000. It is now looking at entering five more cities with its co-working spaces.

Amit Ramani, Founder and CEO of Awfis, said, “Awfis spaces and ‘Autonomous Work Space solutions’ have been now operational across 10 major metros and cities and we are looking at making entry into five Tier II cities during the year.”

These cities include Indore, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Kochi and Jaipur. This will enable us to take our presence to 15 cities with over 100 centres with total seating capacity of 60,000 seats, he said.

Explaining how the company, which employs about 210 people, is working towards its growth plans, Ramani told BusinessLine, “We have turned profitable and expect to close the current financial year with revenues of ₹160 crore up from ₹1.2 crore, ₹18 crore and ₹56 crore respectively over the past four years. And we are on course for a turnover of over ₹200 crore logging about ₹17 crore per month.”

“Our plans is to grow the business at a rapid pace and take the company to an IPO within the next three years,” he explained.

Mentioning about its Autonomous Work Space Solutions, Ramani said “a registered user can check into and walk out of a workspace without any human interface and carry out his business. By simplifying processes, we have acquired a strong customer base which includes the likes of Amazon and Microsoft among 1700 other companies and firms.”

In India co-working space is poised for growth and the enormous opportunities it presents Awfis will enable us to consolidate and expand at a rapid pace. We had raised over $ 51 million and the growth momentum continues, he said.

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