NCUBE Planning & Design (formerly NELSON India), a coworking design specialist, has designed 40 such spaces in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai over last two years. The company’s COO Sandeep Roy shares his thoughts on what is driving preference for this new office genre.
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
It is a win-win situation for all the parties. A coworking company like Awfis does not own the space; they lease it from developers and add value to it. The values are of two kinds: design and service. So companies like NCUBE design space or create an ambiance to acceptable norms, expectations and brief, and Awfis provides the service and manages it. Most of our coworking office properties are situated in lucrative real estate places. But, sometimes these spaces may not get the value despite their prime locations. For example, a property located at the corner of the two prime streets of Kolkata – Park Street and Camac Street – did not have a frontage but had an alleyway to the plot. Despite its address being 1 Camac Street, it could not generate the value it deserved. We moved into the plot, changed the façade, put up signages, painted the whole building, and redid the interiors. Now, people feel good when they go into the place. Added to the value of design was service that Awfis provides. This enabled the landlord to raise the value of the property to a par with others on the street. The landlord is happy! This space has 80% occupancy; it has attracted clients such as Zomato and CNBC to set up their operations. These companies do not have to lock in their monies for setting up maintenance and service infrastructure that is involved in any office. Besides, companies can simply book additional space within the cooworking space as they grow.
Demand by HR
Traditional offices have fixed numbers of cubicles, cabins, large and small desks for non-managerial employees, general managers, vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and others. These spaces can accommodate a fixed number of each of these staffs and senior executives. I often hear from human resource heads that if they want to promote a GM to VP, they cannot find a VP cabin. We are designing our new corporate space and I am taking myself out of the cabin into an open office space. Because I do not know how many senior executives I would require in the future, and what kind of growth will we record. A person sitting in the open space can easily get into two, three, or four-chaired meeting pods located 10 seconds away for spaces meant for in-person or telephonic meetings
Coworking space does not only attract funding-starved young entrepreneurs or startup guys, but also the corporates. These days many corporates are on the quest to discover how to utilise their workforce better and want to reinvent and transform their offices. They recognise that workspaces are enablers for enhanced productivity of their employees, and coworking space often fits the bill. So, they are moving their back offices as well as their front offices into these spaces. This situation also busts a myth that coworking is ideal for millennials alone, as corporate bring millennials and older generations together.