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Return to work: After a gap of two years, 35% companies see 75% employees returning to office

Consulting and telecom companies have the highest rate of return to office; 80 percent of e-commerce companies have witnessed only up to 50 percent rate of return among employees

Representative Image (Awfis)

Representative Image (Awfis)

After almost three waves of COVID-19, about 35 percent of office occupiers have seen almost 75 to 100 percent of employees returning to offices. This includes the hybrid way of working wherein employees come into the office a few times a week, according to a C-Suite Survey conducted by Colliers and Awfis.

Telecom and Consulting sectors see the highest (75-100 percent) rate of return to office. Sectors with the lowest (0-25 percent) rate of return are IT and new technology companies, it noted.

As many as 41 percent of occupiers stated that up to 25 percent of their employees have returned to office. Mid-sized firms have reported a relatively higher rate of return, stating that 75-100 percent of employees have returned to work, the survey said.

As many as 80 percent of e-commerce companies have witnessed only up to 50 percent rate of return among employees, it said.

About 53 percent of occupiers prefer working from home and office as their preferred workplace portfolio strategy. About 49 percent of the occupiers are likely to adopt flex centres to enable distributed workspace, followed by setting up their own offices in metro and non-metro cities, it said.


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In H1 2022, flex operators leased about 3.5 million sq feet, accounting for about 13 percent of the overall leasing, in line with the surging demand for flex space by occupiers. Almost half of the occupiers said they will prefer to adopt flex spaces as a mode to enable distributed workspace. Interestingly, even non-metro cities are seeing a growth of flex spaces as occupiers look towards distributed workspaces, the survey said.

The Colliers and Awfis Survey explores the status of return to work across different sectors. It delves into how occupiers are likely to choose distributed workspaces and devise flex space strategies by understanding their current usage patterns and preferences.

The survey was conducted during May-June 2022 for occupiers across different sectors such as IT/ITeS, BFSI, engineering and manufacturing, and others. A total of about 150 responses were received from C-Suite executives spanning founders, CEOs, COOs and CHROs of various companies. The company size of the respondents varied, starting from the range of 1-500 employees to companies having over 10,000 employees.

“The survey has made it clear that a distributed workspace strategy is the way to go for occupiers in this new era of experiential workplaces, as occupiers emerge from the after-effects of the pandemic. Flex spaces, in particular, are leading this growth, as occupiers from varied sectors are housing teams in flex centres across cities. This shift in strategy also reflects in the leasing by flex operators - flex operators leased about 3.5 million sq ft of space in H1 2022 across the top six cities, almost three-fourths of the flex leasing in the entire 2021,” said Ramesh Nair, Chief Executive Officer, India and Managing Director, Market Development, Asia, Colliers.

Further, the survey reveals that as occupiers straddle business goals and employee wellbeing together, about 74 percent of the occupiers are looking at distributed workspace, and more than half of the IT/ITeS companies (the largest occupier group) prefer a distributed work model for their employees. Therefore, we can see opportunities for flex spaces not only in metro cities but also in non-metro cities. In fact, in non-metro cities, total flex spaces are likely to grow more than two-fold to 5.5 million sq  ft by the end of 2022, he said.

“The findings of the survey are a testament to the success of the distributed work model and subsequently of flex spaces in catering to the ever-evolved workspace needs of India Inc. The survey unveils that currently 74 percent of occupiers have adopted flex centres for their workspace needs, given the multiple benefits associated with flex working. Going forward, 77 percent of occupiers will include flex spaces as part of their workplace strategy. We expect exceptional demand in the future, driven largely by large corporates for de-densification of existing traditional offices,” said Amit Ramani, founder and CEO, Awfis.

“About 90 percent of the occupiers from e-commerce and consulting sectors are likely to include flex space in their current portfolio. Occupiers see dual benefits arising out of distributed workspaces. They view time and cost-saving benefits followed by better work-life balance for employees,” said Vimal Nadar, Senior Director and Head of Research, Colliers India.
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first published: Aug 3, 2022 06:25 pm
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