WeWork, Awfis, other co-working spaces to realign to meet new norms

BENGALURU:The co-working and managed office market is set to go through a major overhaul with new lease terms, redesigned office space and reconfigured daily operations as companies realign their businesses to successfully navigate the new business landscape amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Even as clients renegotiate rents, a few serve notices and demand for new office space falls, large firms such as Awfis Space Solutions, WeWork, Smartworks, CoWrks and Skootr are not only incorporating changes to floor space designs but also on-boarding some clients using short term contracts to deal with business losses.

Some of these firms are also allocating more open space to the existing facilities and even thinking of opening office in two shifts.

Awfis Space Solutions is now building spaces that can be filled easily as opposed to pre-Covid days. “Covid-19 will redefine the entire co-working space, with collaboration taking a back seat. We can’t remodel the current offices but the new ones will definitely undergo changes, ” said Sumit Lakhani, chief marketing officer at Awfis Space Solutions.

Changes in work guidelines, with social distancing being the norm, are forcing flexible workspace operators to rejig their business models. They are not only considering short-term lease ranging from four-six months to make up for the loss of business but also relaxing leasing terms.

Earlier, a typical leasing tenure for more than 400 seats was between 2.5 and three years of the lock-in period.

“Flexibility means more than just tenure now. It encompasses the ability to scale up and down, have the option of working from multiple locations, even across cities and different kinds of spaces – covering both focused work and collaboration, ” said Abhishek Goenka, CEO, CoWrks.

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WeWork said spaces in common areas and conference rooms are being reviewed and modified to ensure a minimum of six-feet distance between two people.

“For our enterprise members, the demands are unique based on their business requirements, and we are working with them to create specific layouts of workstations and seating arrangements based on their need, ” said Raghuvinder Singh Pathania, head of operations at WeWork.

According to Skootr and Smartworks, clients are looking for multiple offices instead of one big space to ensure business continuity in case of uncertainty.

“Our clients have started asking for 100 sq ft space ratio per employee to ensure proper distancing between workstations. We see workplace layouts, designs and employee densities being reconsidered,” said Neetish Sarda, founder, Smartworks.


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