In just 18 months since its launch, co-working space provider WorkEZ has taken pole position in the Chennai market. The company has leased an additional 1.3 square feet of office space in addition to its existing 2.75 lakh square feet portfolio of shared workspaces, which puts its cumulative shared workspace portfolio at over 4 lakh square feet and 8,500 seats across three micro-markets.
“Our 8,500 seats in Chennai gives us a good market share. So, we are touching about 30 percent in Chennai’s managed office space market,” Prathap Murali, Business Head, WorkEZ said. “We cater to clients looking to customize their space and are completely light on capital and operational expenditure,” he added.
To put the numbers in perspective, WorkEZ’s 8,500 seats put SmartWorks (6,274) in second place and Workafella (3,100 seats in leased workspaces) at number three. WorkEZ has also reported an average occupancy of 93 percent across its centres in Anna Salai, Guindy and Old Mahabalipuram Road.
“Most of our clients are enterprising clients and we customize the space,” Prathap said, adding that “about 10 to 15 percent of our clients are short-term freelancers and designers. Our average lock-in period is about three to four years.”
The company is also plotting an expansion plan, hoping to set up a footprint in Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Cochin and Hyderabad in the next six to eight months.
“In Hyderabad, we are considering places like Hitec city; in Bangalore, we will look at Outer Ring Road, the CBD and Koramangala,” Prathap said.
“We can go upwards of between 2 to 2.5 lakh square feet in each city, we are hoping to start with about 1 lakh square feet in each of these cities.”
‘Co-working spaces doing better since COVID-19’
Despite concerns at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the shared workspace market has done rather well for itself in the months that have followed.
While initial projections held that co-working spaces would end up turning irrelevant or see less of demand with the focus on social distancing and staying at home, real estate experts say the work-from-home boom has actually given co-working and flexible workspaces a shot in the arm.
“Contrary to my initial thinking, a number of prospective tenants, instead of centralizing their workspace in one location, are now looking to decentralize it,” said Anuj Puri, Founder and Chairman, Anarock.
“For example, a large corporate in Bengaluru recently said it wanted 15 lakh square feet as head-office space, which is centralized, while it opted to have a lakh square foot in 10 different locations which were close to employees’ homes,” he added, “Those 10 lakh square feet are being taken in flexible workspaces.”
It is precisely because of this de-centralization, Puri says, that flexible workspaces stand to perform exceedingly well in the months ahead.
Most experts also predict co-working spaces in tier-2 and tier-3 towns to perform better than before owing to the large percentage of the workforce that has returned to smaller towns to work from home—potential occupants of co-working spaces in a new decentralized model.
(Edited by : Yashi Gupta)