Future of Co-working spaces in India post Covid-19 outbreak

The Covid-19 has completely changed the way of work forever with organizations altering their models and work cultures by experimenting with work from home as well as work from office.

Organizations across India are relying heavily on digitization to fight the pandemic, encouraging employees to work from home as well as work from office to sustain these tough times.

According to a survey, before Covid, 67% of all employees preferred working from office regularly. Preference for regular office was more among senior people (above 40 years) with 82% wanting regular full time office. This preference dropped to 56% and 65% in the age group of 30-40 years and < 30 years respectively.

There were about 33% employees, even before Covid-19, who were not going to office regularly. Regular office work was more popular in larger organisations (70%) compared to small companies (55%) who were more flexible according to the survey.

More than a year into the pandemic many new work formats have evolved. As per survey findings, Indian workforce seems to be eager to return to work, following all safety precautions. Coming to office 3-4 times a week seems to be the preferred option for both employees and companies. 55% of employees and 40% of companies prefer this format in the post pandemic times. The other sought-after format is to lease a Co-working space that allows employees to work from near their home. This is a preferred by 30% companies. Permanent work from home (17%) and permanent return to full time office (11%) are the least preferred options.

Additionally, distance of the workplace from home is a major deal breaker for employees. Interestingly, more than 74% of employees prefer an office within 5 kms from their residence with another 20% who prefer less than 9 kms. Post pandemic, very few prefer an office more than 9 kms from their residence. This is because people are afraid to travel in shared public transport.

The outbreak of Covid-19 had a big impact on core aspects of work life: team building, collaboration, networking and road mapping with colleagues have been highlighted as key factors for improving productivity. The survey states that 28% of the employees prefer a “professional work environment” with another 24% mention “superior work-life balance” as most vital factors that improves productivity. “Networking and socialising” ranked third with 21% employees highlighting this as essential for productivity.

The second wave has brought new challenges and the hybrid work model is expected to stay here, as of now. With the slow reopening of offices, organisations will have to respond to these new requirements, opportunities and challenges posed by the new normal to successfully sustain during these times.

The survey was conducted on employees from multiple sectors among 200 mid to large size companies.