Pull up a chair: Co-working spaces are changing again

Players are moving into high­-end malls and five-­star hotels to offer integrated ecosystems that let you shop, read, eat while at work.

Updated: Sep 12, 2018 15:34:00

By Lavina Mulchandani

The Hive facility at the VR mall in Bengaluru has a laidback vibe, bright decor and provides an integrated work ecosystem where you can eat, watch a football match and shop in the same building.

Even in the few years that they’ve been around, coworking spaces have changed and changed again. They’ve gone from the café model to the high-tech office model, low-cost to extremely high-cost options. And now, they’re also moving into malls and five-star hotels.

Awfis now has centres at the Taj Deccan in Hyderabad, Nucleus Mall in Pune and Raghuleela Mall in Vashi. The Hive is setting up spaces at shopping centres in Gurugram and Pune and malls in Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad. And the Luxembourg-based International Workplace Group (IWG) has seven centres in shopping complexes across Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Chennai.

The aim is to provide integrated work ecosystems where you can work, eat, drink and shop, while also providing additional footfall for the spaces themselves.

A special perk at the Awfis co-working space in BKC, Mumbai, is the food and beverage counter.

“There are several perks in having workspaces in malls and hotels. You get everything in one place — a desk, a movie, shopping at the stores and food from the food court. We also get in-built security services and maintenance taken care of,” says Ankit Samdariya, CEO of The Hive. Rents are lower in malls that have unused spaces. “You also get ample parking,” Samdariya adds.

In space-starved cities, the trend is also helping utilise space better. “The demand for all-in-one spaces is increasing. Young professionals want a vibrant social environment while at work, and the coworking companies are catering to this demand by renting flexible spaces that come with added amenities,” says Pankaj Kapoor, CEO of real-estate consultancy Liases Foras.

Startups and established corporations are also choosing serviced, flexible workspaces over large, conventional spaces. “It helps malls get steady rent from the spaces that are less popular among retailers too,” Kapoor says.

According to Anarock Property Consultants, over 30 new shopping malls covering 14 million sqft are coming up across the cities. “Developers such as DLF, Prestige, Brigade Phoenix Mills, L&T are building new malls,” says Amit Ramani, CEO and founder of Awfis.

“Mixed-use developments are working well for the real-estate sector, says Pankaj Renjhen, chief operating officer at Virtuous Retail South Asia (VRSA), that rus VR Bengaluru, a high-end shopping centre that also hosts a 1 lakh sq ft co-working space by The Hive.

“Employees working here get an interesting and vibrant workspace at not-so-big a cost and companies are looking to reduce the initial investment, so it’s a win-win,” says Ramani.

First Published: Sep 08, 2018 20:07:08


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