Smartworks, a homegrown co-working startup, has leased 2,50,000 square feet in Hyderabad’s Aurobindo Galaxy, taking its total operational space in the city to 4 lakh square feet, a senior executive of the company said recently.
This, at a time demand for flexible office spaces has risen after pandemic-induced lockdowns. Companies are weighing a hybrid working model-work from home and office-amid the need to maintain social distancing to reduce the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
In fact, Smartworks is on an expansion spree-planning new facilities in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and more coworking spaces in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Pune.
“We have actually doubled our footprint in Hyderabad. Hyderabad is an important part of our strategy. After Bangalore, it is the largest in terms of size and potential. Our first facility, Purva Summit, is 80-85% occupied by enterprises and high-growth startups,” said Neetish Sarda, founder at Smartworks.
According to Sarda, 30-35% of the new facility has been booked by enterprises.
Centrally located in the city’s business hubs, Aurobindo Galaxy scores on the connectivity front as well, with quick access to Hyderabad airport, metro stations, commercial establishments and residential areas. It is the tallest commercial office tower in India built with precast technology.
“We are witnessing high demand and enquiries from enterprises, our new facility is 35-40% booked already. With the workforce returning to work, they (companies) want to solidify their workspace strategy going forward. We remain optimistic about the flex space growth and momentum,” Sarda said.
Average seat cost in a traditional office space is around Rs. 14,000-15,000 while Smartworks offers a seat at around Rs. 10,000-12,000. The new facility will offer close to 4,000 seats.
Smartworks acquires an entire building and converts it into a coworking campus, unlike other coworking operators that usually acquire a floor or portions. According to JLL, the current market penetration of flex spaces in total office space stands at 3.0%.
In 2021, India is expected to witness deeper penetration of flex spaces as corporate occupiers continue to shift away from long-term capital-intensive commitments. Flexible space solutions will be leveraged to satisfy temporary space needs, support a more mobile workforce and enter new geographies.
“In fact, driven by increased demand from large enterprises, we expect the size of the flex space market to reach nearly 39 million square feet in 2021,” JLL said.
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