India on a Rise in the Global Flex-Office Markets

India on a Rise in the Global Flex-Office Markets

Coworking and flex office space are no longer niche sectors catering to niche audiences; millions of working professionals use them day in and day out.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, these two concepts took the world by storm, including our own nation, with the majority of the workforce opting for these open-layout, dynamic workspaces over the traditional four-wall cubicles. And most important of all, it’s not just niche audiences freelancers or entrepreneurs but small and medium businesses as well as larger enterprises, startups, and all types of working individuals who are choosing these flexible workspaces as their go-to option when working remotely or hybrid.

And with these rising numbers and demands of Indian working individuals also arose the need for more managed space solutions that cater to all their whims.

Henceforth, driven by these rising demands from working professionals as well as businesses across all industries, the country witnessed an exponential growth of coworking and flexible office spaces. So much so that according to statistics, India has now emerged as one of the fastest-growing flexible office space markets globally.

The flexible workspace operators’ portfolio across the top seven cities—Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai, and National Capital Region (NCR) has jumped nearly threefold to 53 million square feet, which atones for a nearly 75% growth from the pre-pandemic stats of around 30.3 million square feet in the last five years, and this number is expected to double by the year 2027, with the combined share of the top three cities like Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, and Hyderabad in the operational flex stock being around 68%.

With the total number of operational flexible desks at 8,39,250, the data shows the rise in the operational flexible workspace stocks to 53 million square feet as of March 2023 from 18.6 million square feet in the year 2018, which equates to around 4.7% overall office stock penetration level, thereupon making India among the fastest growing flex markets globally. 

Owing to this rapid growth in demand, the report from the real estate consultant JJL India further projected the value of operational flex stocks at 106 million square feet, doubling again over the next five years.

As the employees seek to break the past working culture norms and demand more from their workplaces, while the occupiers look for ways to rejuvenate their offices so as to add a greater degree of dynamic space layout to their portfolio strategies, the flex sector emerges as a strong partner.

Keeping up with the changing dynamics of the present working culture, enterprises and businesses across all scales and industries are working to integrate flex into their portfolios by accommodating their primary offices to high-end research and development teams and other business operations. As noted, the seats taken by enterprises (converted to a per-seat basis) in flexible offices in 2022–23 were recorded higher than the combined numbers of the previous two years.

Flex office spaces and coworking spaces offer people a work environment that is professional and not bound by the shackles of the 9 to 5 working hours schedule. 

People no longer opt for these workspaces as backups or temporary options; moreover, with the current workforce focusing more on their work environment and overall well-being, both physical and mental, than ever, they seek places that provide a top-notch employee working experience combined with best-in-class technology and amenities, which results in the creation and growth of modern flexible workspaces that cater to all their needs.

Despite the pandemic being over and people returning to their offices, the rise of managed spaces has been formidable, which has significantly resulted in the overall growth of the flex segment of the country. 

In fact, according to experts, the three-fold increase in the adoption of enterprise seats between the years 2020–21 and 2022–23 closely relates to the widespread acceptance and adoption of managed spaces and the overall flex model.

There, however, still exists a significant untapped potential for the expansion of the flex spaces. The overall demand for flex spaces is on the rise, not only among small and medium-sized businesses but also among large companies.

And due its myriad of benefits, within the flex-space sector, many multinational corporations and larger enterprises are increasingly opting for managed flex-space solutions with many looking to tap into the opportunities offered by the tier-II and tier-III markets in order to expand the talent accessibility and mobility of their workforce.

It has also led to a substantial increase in demand for flexible office spaces, especially in the tier-II cities, as companies and enterprises enter these locations as part of their growth, expansion, and geographic diversification plans.

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This is just the start; as more and more people continue to opt for flexible coworking spaces over their conventional counterparts, the number of flex spaces is bound to increase.

And these flex spaces, which are perhaps the epitome of working spaces, provide the employees with the flexibility to choose how, where, and when they work, world-class amenities, work-life balance, better networking opportunities, and most of all, a working environment that helps them flourish not only as professionals but also as individuals.