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COVID-19 has been a shock to the global economic system, and also to coworking spaces across the world. Our business of shared office spaces for rent is based on the need for people to come to an office, to feel a shared sense of purpose and community, to hold meetings and connect with colleagues, partners and suppliers. COVID-19 has forced most workers to work from home, and meetings and connection has been replaced by online interactions. This has also been difficult to manage for Redbrick Offices, as we operate coworking spaces across Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.

However, I think we’re going to see a huge resurgence in demand for shared office spaces, serviced offices and coworking spaces once this lock-down is lifted, and the COVID-19 crisis abates. There are 3 main reasons why I think we will see a huge surge in demand for flexible workspaces:

  • CAPEX cycles will be delayed: All businesses will look to delay or curtail capital expenditure like that spent on fixtures and fittings for an office space. In India, the costs of furnishing an office space to a decent standard can cost anything between Rs.1500/- to Rs.5000/- per sqft, depending on the amenities, materials and design one chooses to execute on. For a 30 person office, this could mean an (average) capital outlay of around INR 100 Lacs. For comparison, a 30-person coworking space at Redbrick Coworking Space in SLN Terminus, Hyderabad, would cost around 450,000 per month. The capex spend alone would be equal to around 20 months of all-inclusive, ready-to-move-in workspace in Redbrick SLN.
  • Flexibility will be paramount: COVID-19 has increased business uncertainty beyond measure, and this is likely the new normal for the next 12-18 months. In this environment, businesses will require the flexibility offered by coworking spaces and serviced offices, probably more than they did before. Our ‘privates’ offer clients with enclosed workspaces for smaller teams, up to 20 people. Redbrick Magarpatta in Pune, and Redbrick WTC in Kharadi, Pune and the upcoming Redbrick House in Aundh, all have great private offices for smaller teams, and these are offered with flexible terms.
  • Pandemic-preparedness: While coffee shops and/or hotel lobbies worked for small business meetings and freelancers, these type of workers will likely move to ‘work from home’ or more established coworking environments, which will be well equipped and prepared for post-COVID era workspace norms. At Redbrick Offices, we will be enforcing social distancing at all our coworking spaces, temperature checks at entry points of all offices, limited deliveries and low-density meetings, increased cleaning and sanitisation, HVAC based disinfection techniques to name a few. This will be difficult to achieve in coffee shops, retail environments which are not inherently meant for ‘work’.

These are the three main reasons why I think our coworking spaces in Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai will flourish post-COVID. Follow us on our social channels to keep up to date with new developments, opening of our spaces and steps taken to ensure compliance with WHO norms in post-COVID coworking environments.

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