Work from anywhere: The new age of workspaces

23 February 2021

Work from anywhere: The new age of workspaces

  • People Matters

Back in 2019, no one would have anticipated how rapidly the Indian workspace scenario would change this year. However, as they say, unprecedented times lead to unprecedented changes, and that is exactly what we are witnessing – the new age of Indian workspaces. Workspaces have come nearer to us and entered our homes as well and working remotely is no longer a choice but the new normal. All these changes will come to define India’s new approaches to work and workspaces significantly.

The future has already begun

The rise of flex workspaces, the start-up boom and the gig economy had already set into motion changes in the workspace preferences of organizations and the workforce. However, the onset of COVID has certainly accelerated this in a big way. Today, flex workspace options are being sought after even by the most traditional organizations who are seeing the merit in such models as it not only helps ensure the health and safety of their people in this environment but also helps them optimize their costs.

Work from anywhere – The new mantra

The new reality that we are in is here to stay, and we therefore need sustainable means to enable ease and efficiency of work in the long run. Therefore, going forward, I see a combination of different work set ups being more effective instead of placing bets on one alone. A hybrid model that will blend both virtual and physical environments is the way to go. Distributed workforce will lead to distributed workspaces that will cut across physical headquarters, satellite offices and homes pan India. Let’s take a look at the various approaches being explored as part of this new normal.

According to a survey by Knight Frank, more than 70 per cent of companies are likely to continue the work-from-home policy for a percentage of their total staff for the next few months to maintain social distancing and for business continuity. However, for this to be a productive and convenient option at the same time, employees must be equipped with the right tools. Therefore, the need for work-from-home enabling solutions cannot be emphasized enough. According to a recent survey done by Awfis, around 71 per cent of employees feel they would be successful in working from home if they have a dedicated work area. For the home to double up as a conducive work environment, a complete set up is needed right from physical infrastructure to network connectivity and the requisite software. And we see companies increasingly investing in this for the benefit of their people and business operations.

The neighbourhood workspace

While work from home option is a great option, it comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, there are specific job roles that can be performed only in an office setup. However, in the current scenario, travelling over long distances to make it to main offices is not safe. And therefore coworking spaces near home are a preferred option. Coworking spaces have a large footprint thereby offering a lot of flexibility and access to a distributed workforce spread across the country, and are cost effective as well along with offering all the latest workspace amenities and facilities. Additionally, with the workforce increasingly craving in person engagement, more collaboration and a sense of community, flex workspaces are essentially safe spaces to enable this.

Win-Win Workspace models

Today, another challenge that companies are faced with is unutilized or underutilized real estate as a result of their workforce working from home or subsequent downsizing. At the same time, they are also unable to let go of this space due to limitations on lease terminations and future growth projections and expansion plans. This has led to these organizations partnering with flex workspaces like us to redesign and optimize this real estate, while creating an additional revenue source for them. This in turn adds to the network of shared workspaces across the country thereby further fuelling access to nearby coworking spaces for people across India.

Emergence of the smart office

Another emerging trend is that of the smart office concept that provides employees with an environment to unleash their true potential and enhance their productivity seamlessly. Smart office set ups are tech enabled and allow for hassle free operations and maintenance of office spaces with a single point of contact. For example, at Awfis, our app now comes with a touch-free smart scan option, booking of F&B for desk delivery, geo-tagged attendance management and customer first desk for easy reporting and tracking of issues thereby reducing the need for an in-person interface.

Re-designing of the workspace

We have seen office spaces change over the years from the traditional cabins to open offices. In a post COVID environment, we will see yet another wave of change with designs being further modified to ensure appropriate social distancing amongst the workforce.

With all the aforementioned options to work with, organizations will need to embrace models that work best for them – some even choosing to work with a combination of various workspace options that will cater to the varied requirements of their business and people in the best possible way, to offer a productive, convenient and sustainable workspace environment for the workforce.

This story appeared in the 26 September, 2020 issue of People Matters and is authored by Amit Ramani, Founder and CE0, Awfis. This article was originally published at: Blog: Work from anywhere: The new age of workspaces — People Matters

Shifting focus: Why decentralized workspaces are emerging as the new normal

23 February 2021

Shifting focus: Why decentralized workspaces are emerging as the new normal

  • Posted by Arathy Nair
Many organizations have begun to reevaluate their real estate portfolios and rethink their approach to the concept of ‘office space’. An idea that is rapidly gaining prominence is the decentralized model, in which companies are looking to move away from a single centralized office space in favor of multiple, smaller satellite offices.

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown introduced a high level of isolation into each of our lives, especially for regular office goers who had to transition their way into the new normal rather swiftly. As the lines between work and home began to blur, technology served as a dependable medium that enabled us to engage with colleagues utilizing varied methods. These introductions helped companies to reach out to and comfort employees at a time where stress levels were at an all-time high and employee motivation was on a steady decline, given the sudden shift in lifestyle.

In fact, many organizations have begun to reevaluate their real estate portfolios and rethink their approach to the concept of ‘office space’. However, as time passes, working from home has started to show its downsides i.e. isolation, burnout and monotony aside from the recurring infrastructural and logistical gaps. In light of the same, managers have begun to seek alternatives to the current situation that are in adherence to the safety protocols. One idea that is rapidly gaining prominence is the decentralized model, in which companies are looking to move away from a single centralized office space in favor of multiple, smaller satellite offices that are strategically located in new and emerging markets.

The decentralized approach has become a viable option for addressing the challenges associated with working from home. Organizations have seen the merit in this and are now readily partnering with flex workspace providers for sustainable solutions to work from home and work near home.

Let’s look at why more and more organizations and employees alike are seeing the merit in this new way of working.

Collaboration is the essence of all organizations

While digital tools are enabling seamless performance of tasks while working from home, the workforce now longs for an environment that fosters collaboration which is not being met by working in silos/isolation. As time passes, employees wish to step out of their homes and relive the memories of water cooler conversations and tea breaks that not only leads to collaboration but also might spark innovative and intellectual ideas that help the organization grow.

Coworking centres as decentralized workspaces are the hub of collaboration, networking and growth.

Different job roles, Different requirements

The pandemic forced organizations to overnight adopt work from home despite the job role or sector. Most employees were quick to adapt to this change while others faced difficulties to manage the same due to varied job profiles or requirements. Sending out work related couriers, applying for visa, faxing or photocopying documents is an additional trip to the market while also managing the work for the day. These simple tasks have turned into a tremendous burden as said facilities are not available at the stretch of a hand.

Shared workspaces are equipped with best in class hospitality and concierge services to facilitate easy access and smooth functioning of day to day activities and much more. Round the clock access to work spaces, meeting rooms, contactless services and multi-cuisine restaurants while maintaining the highest standard of hygiene provides a synchronized work environment which is both smart and safe.

Savings on Real Estate costs

Ever since the restrictions were imposed, many offices are running on minimum capacity while others are completely vacant due to work from home. Since the pandemic is far from over, organizations are looking to optimize costs by letting go of their office spaces and partnering with coworking spaces.

Now, more than ever, individuals are seeking the experience and the feeling of an ‘office’ space, after being isolated for months. They’re looking forward to leaving their personal problems behind when entering a workspace and align their focus towards work, which will in turn enhance organizational productivity as well. Given that it is too early to assess when things will return to the way they were, decentralized workspaces are emerging as the preferred way of working amid this new normal.

This story appeared in the 26  November , 2020 issue of AdGully and is authored by Sumit Lakhani, CMO, Awfis. This article was originally published at :

Workplace 2030: How the future of work will look like

20 February 2021

Workplace 2030: How the future of work will look like

  • Posted by Arathy Nair

Since the last few years, the contemporary workplace has been undergoing a series of rapid changes. Modern technology has made it possible for the workforce to work from anywhere, thereby reducing the necessity of physical work-desk. This, coupled with the swelling real estate prices across the globe, is compelling large corporations to rethink their workspace strategy.

The conventional idea of what constitutes work will continue changing and with Gen Z set to join the workforce, it becomes crucial for the existing workspaces to transform and cater to the requirements of the new-age workforce. We will witness a host of changes to create favorable work practices to suit their work style, their social conscientiousness and work-life balance. Young employees want to work with organizations that provide them with smart solutions, know their unique preference and requirements.

Amongst all the factors, technology will play a pivotal role in shaping the workplace culture in the coming decade. Technology will be more focused on providing experience and augmenting interactive employee engagement; in turn, creating an ecosystem of enhanced productivity, creativity, and culture. While it is impossible to predict the future with certainty, here are my two cents on how the workplace of 2030 will look like:

Customization using wearable technology & artificial intelligence

The traditional office setup will cease to exist within the next five to ten years. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets will become redundant and will give way to voice-activated assistants; the Internet of Things (IoT) will play an important role here. With the help of wearable technology such as embedded chips and wearable glasses, there will be a customized reflection in all parameters of an individual’s style of working. No more one-size-fits-all approach.

Moreover, the data provided by these devices will also personalize the furnishing as per the individual requirement. For instance, chairs will now be better suited to the user’s preference, comfort, and working style while keeping in mind the ergonomic requirements. Workspaces, too, will see a change based on specific conditions like brainstorming, meetings, and corporate sessions, networking or leisure time.

Video technology will reduce the need to travel while ensuring connectivity

Video communication technology in the past decade has evolved from the conventional video conferencing to holographic 3-D technology, enabling a face-to-face interaction that negates the actual need for physical presence.

These advancements will facilitate the ability of an individual to communicate, collaborate, contribute and deliver results remotely. There is also a scope of virtual reality to further enhance work-productivity by imitating the required environment. Thanks to high-speed internet connections, wide-scale interaction via video-connectivity is no more a buffering game, which will further heighten work efficiency as well as productivity.

Creation of smart buildings with interconnected smart workstations

With constant technological advancements, the future will bring an interconnected ecosystem. With the IoT analyzing the data received from all the public and private infrastructure in real-time, it will aid in understanding the individual preferences and factors important to the well-being of the people. The real-time analyzed data will allow workspaces to transform, adapt, and react to users instantaneously with health and safety being the centerpieces of infrastructure design and execution.

These spaces shall also be explicitly designed to maximize the lighting and ventilation, complementing the worker’s seating arrangements. Even the idle time for spaces such as desks, conference rooms, and training areas can drop to zero, ensuring optimized usage of space and asset deployment that can help shrink the real estate cost per square foot.

Naturally, we will also witness artificial intelligence become more accurate and automate repetitive, mundane tasks. Automation of these tasks will ensure better utilization of time and resources by directing it to more meaningful tasks and outcomes.

In summary, technology will enable wider, more profound, real-time connectivity and productivity gains by designing ‘individual focused office solutions’ that deliver near-zero idle time. These will drive business organizations to move away from traditional workspace solutions that offer much lower productivity in the congested, far from home, and one-size-fits-all workspace model. Over time, we will witness the workspace solution providers transition from being organization-driven to individual-driven, thus changing the fundamental concept of working.

This story appeared in the 24 February , 2020 issue of People Matters and is authored by Amit Ramani, Founder and CE0, Awfis. This article was originally published at: Blog: Workplace 2030: How the future of work will look like — People Matters

The changing definition of work-life balance

20 May 2019

The changing definition of work-life balance

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

9-5 desk jobs have become redundant and been replaced by flexible work timings. With the increasing complexity of work, extensive travel requirements & hyper-connectivity facilitated by technology; the lines between work & life are blurring more than ever.

The new age office

‘A room, set of rooms, or building used as a place for commercial, professional, or bureaucratic work.’ The definition of ‘office’ in the dictionary might not have kept up with the changing times, but organizations today are striving to make their workplace the ideal environment for employees to flourish. The archaic concepts of rooms, cabins, and hierarchies are now redundant. The modern offices now comprise of chatty colleagues, music, bean bags, exciting experiences, personal-interest groups, open spaces and cutting-edge technology that gets work done more efficiently and less stressfully. Modern workplaces are fluid, casual and where ‘work-life balance’ is championed. With a blended workforce in place, modern offices in the form of coworking spaces are more responsive to workers needs and not tied down to physical locations.

9-5 desk jobs have become redundant and been replaced by flexible work timings. With the increasing complexity of work, extensive travel requirements & hyper-connectivity facilitated by technology; the lines between work & life are blurring more than ever. Traditional workspaces are unequipped to cater to the work-life balance needs that restore sanity to the insanely hectic life of today’s workforce. Coworking or Flexible Workspaces are filling this need gap and providing the perfect milieu to today’s generation of workers to thrive at work as well as life outside of work and balance the two well.

Importance of work-life balance

In order to ‘get it all done’ at work and home, people are torn between juggling workload, managing relationships, family responsibilities and squeezing in their interests. This leaves them stressed with plummeting productivity.

Work-life balance is one of the most often used jargons in present times, however, it is not a new concept. It does not mean splitting one’s time into an equal number of hours for professional and personal life, which is unrealistic and far-fetched. It is about striking the right balance between work life and personal life. Personal time is often misunderstood by family time. While time with the family is essential, it is necessary to have some ‘me time’ as well. Spending time on hobbies & experiences, doing what one likes, and time used on self-care is also personal time. Several studies over the years have highlighted the need for a healthy work-life balance that includes time with family as well as the pursuit of personal interests. This aids in increasing productivity at the workplace and makes work more rewarding. In constant pursuit of striking the right balance, companies today are encouraging employees to take up activities like walking to work, working near home & introducing facilities like paid time off policies, gyms & creches at the workplace. Mobility and flexibility is being inculcated in every step of the way. The core idea is to satisfy the need for ‘Achievement’ and ‘Enjoyment’ as far as possible within the workplace itself.

Coworking spaces – The right solution

The rise in remote work and supporting the coworking industry is evolving the way people work and perceive work-life balance. Coworking has become the new phenomenon of urban life. Collaborative workspaces are tastefully designed to cater to the needs of employees that range from millennials to Gen Z. Graffiti walls, snooker tables, curated experiences, events, collaborative communities, meeting pods, health & fitness avenues, brightly lit cafeterias fostering conversations over coffee & food are hard to miss at coworking spaces. They are focussed on providing the members with a strong work-life balance and to feel at home even while at work. Moreover, coworking spaces have the potential to serve as platforms for collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and demographics. The flexibility and mobility available allow members to choose the ‘where’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ of work. They provide an atmosphere for hyper-focusing and maximizing time and effort. Apart from a wide range of activities to choose from, members can take advantage of social opportunities to de-stress and pursue personal interests.

With a large number of new age workforce preferring the revolutionary style of working and thousands of workspaces evolving to fit the needs, enterprises are putting a lot of thrust on offering the work-life balance at work itself. Coworking spaces are designed in a way to not only soothe the eyes but also ease the employee into a work setting that is comfortable yet motivating. If people are only viewing a coworking space as a space to work, then they’re missing a big part of its value.

A significant portion of today’s workforce prefers to work for an organization that offers the perfect mix of professional and personal life. And organizations, on the other hand, are determining the best way to appeal to them by compensating in terms of community initiatives and engagement activities. There’s a lot more to offer and it’s only growing as ‘work-life’ balance is not losing its buzz anytime soon.

Author – Amit Ramani (CEO & Founder at Awfis)

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