• The future of office spaces

    22nd June 2022

    The word unprecedented has never been so widely used ever in history. And here I am, using it again – yes, these are unprecedented times for every one and not very different for commercial real estate. So what is the future for office spaces – what lies ahead. Do we have an objective answer to this question – I would vehemently say “No” and dive deeper into all the possibilities before comfortably answering this question.

    The pandemic has forced a “forced work from home” strategy for most of the employers.It used to be that working remotely was a perk. These days it’s about survival. Some experts go on to say that remote work may be the most influential legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic. With all the modern comforts of home beckoning for our attention, it would be understandable if employers saw a dip in productivity, yet the opposite is true and employers have seen a good productivity increase while working from home.However, researchers also found that working from home can be more stressful than working at the office. So how it is going to fare in the long run is yet to be seen. There has been an increased discussion on how it would impact the mental well being as well.

    So, with the advent of this new normal – what is the future for office spaces. What happens to the large commercial buildings getting built in the future. Will people ever come back to office ?

    I honestly feel it is not as important to ask this question, but more important to ask what office real estate strategy the employers will follow. It is very important to understand how the business continuity plan would change for companies from here on. Flexibility in real estate is what all the businesses would seek from here on.

    Many businesses have already moved to flexible offices, while after this pandemic more and more businesses will seek flexibility in their real estate strategy. Businesses will all the more adopt a flexible workplace model for a long list of reasons, including:

    • Protection from market volatility like the current one
    • Savings on the huge capex investment
    • Avoiding fixed long-term leases
    • Ability scale staffing flexibility
    • Leakages due to high operating costs

    The office has long been lauded as a place where workers can collaborate and be productive, but insight into the benefits of Coworking have changed that perspective.In interaction with the top 10 Coworking spaces in Bangalore we happen to conclude that “ Flexibility will be the key for businesses large and small as they provide cost efficiency, help companies reduce their carbon footprint and offer flexible, short-term leases”.

    In wake of the current pandemic, it has become clear that solely in-person and home office working both have their shortcomings. Being forced to work from home has revealed the need for face-to-face interactions and active participation so adopting a hybrid of two could be the ticket to a highly productive and connected workforce.

    We at UrbanVault have seen a similar trend where clients have moved out from their long term leased offices and moved into our centres seeking flexibility in their real estate. When speaking to representatives from other coworking spaces as Wework or even Bhive , they have been seeing similar trends.

    A pertinent question that needs to be asked is – who is going to provide this flexibility to businesses. Will, there be a major shift towards co-working spaces or people would look at working with managed office providers or will the landlords themselves look at providing such flexibility. So, while a complete remote or a complete office strategy might not be the answer in the future but the answer for the workplace strategy is “flexibility”.