COVID 19 has changed our life in more ways than one and going to office is one such change. Gone are the times, when working out a large office in the central business district (CBD) was touted as a status symbol. Today, people want to stay away from any mass gathering. People are also wary of long office commute; especially in a public transport. Both these fears are for real. Organisations are working overtime to balance their needs with that of their employees. In this backdrop, Coworking is slowly but definitely emerging as the future of workspace in the post COVID era. I present here a few facts in support of this argument
#WorkFromHome (#WFH) is not practical in Indian context
#WFH has several limitations in the Indian context. The average size of Indian house (in cities) is 900 to 1,000 SqFt and our average family size of around 5. There is less space per square feet to enable seamless work for 8-10 hours every day. Interpersonal dynamics also starts to play an important role in a joint family system which could be distracting to say the least. Added to it, poor connectivity and data security make #WFH extremely difficult and far less productive.
However, if you are able to work from a high end Coworking office, close to your place of residence, it is a win-win for both employees and employers. Limitations associated with #WFH do not apply in the case of Neighborhood Coworking(NCW) and hence it is fast gaining traction.
Movement from centralised to distributed workspaces
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Business continuity in several organisations was impacted when COVID cases were reported from their offices in 2020. The offices had to be shut leading to loss of revenue and momentum. Companies are now considering moving from large centralised offices to de-centralised or distributed offices to prevent such incidence. Since it not practical for each company to open 4-5 smaller offices in different parts of each city; they rely on Coworking operators like The Office Pass (TOP) to provide this service. By using our offices, companies are able to save valuable time and effort and provide comfort to their employees in time of pandemic.
Regular sanitisation and cleaning as per MOH guidelines
Today’s workspace is not the same as before. You have to provide contactless temperature checking for each employee, maintain social distancing while employees are at work, sanitise the work areas, meeting & conference rooms, cafe and other common areas regularly. Deep cleaning of offices is required after office hours as per MOH guidelines. These steps are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID but many companies do not have the trained manpower to handle them. The Coworking companies on the other hand are far better equipped to manage these – as they are part of Coworking’ core function.
Lower Rents & CAPEX expenditure
Acceptance of anything new is much faster if there is convenience factor coupled with an economic benefit, Coworking is no different. Companies and MNCs typically spend 9% – 12% of their total operating costs on office related expenses. This amount is more for start-ups& small companies. One of the main pros of coworking spaces is that they are around 20% cheaper than working out of a traditional office.
10 Ways to Promote Employee Happiness at Work
Happy employees are the foundation of a good organization. Businesses that value their employees are more likely to outperform those that don’t.
Satisfied employees are also open to new ideas or new methods to achieve their work objectives. Employees who are happy and engaged not only do their best but also motivate and encourage their colleagues to perform to their full potential.
Firstly, the monthly rents& maintenance charges of coworking offices are lower and more affordable, helping companies to keep theiroffice costs to the bare minimum. Secondly, the offices come fully furnished – you don’t need to worry about furniture that fits the space or looking for professionals to build cabinets or do interior designing. Nor do you have to concern yourself about overheads, such as security, electricity, air conditioning, and housekeeping.
Coworking spaces were gaining popularity in India even before COVID pandemic. In 2019, absorption of real estate by Coworking operators reached 10% of the overall absorption. COVID-19 has fast-trackedthe movement from traditional offices to Coworking Spaces. Corporate are benefiting from it due to its cost-effective, flexible, safe and professional nature. Employees love it due to ease of commute and better work life balance. Given the positives, it is reasonable to expect Coworking in general and Neighborhood Coworking (NCW) in particular to be the future of workspace in India.
About the author
Aditya Verma is the Founder & CEO of The Office Pass (TOP) a Neighborhood Coworking provider with 8 offices in Delhi NCR region. He has over 20 years of experience in the internet industry in India. Prior to founding TOP, Aditya was the Co-founder and CEO of Makaan.com a leading India real estate website which was sold to PropTiger (a NewsCorp investee company) in 2015.
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