Community-driven collaborative workspace WeWork India to foray into Hyderabad10 months ago Saritha Keshamoni
After successfully reimagining the concept of workspaces in four key markets in India – Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, and Pune.
WeWork, the global platform for creators that provides collaborative workspaces is all set to enter Hyderabad.
he company entered India in 2017 when the co-working industry was still at a nascent stage. Over the course of two years, the ecosystem has undergone massive changes. While earlier co-working spaces were considered to be the go-to workspace for just startups & SMEs, this perception has now changed to a great extent. Earlier, the demand was attributed to the booming startup space, but the compelling benefits have now made even mid-sized and large enterprises, move in this direction vis-a-vis traditional real estate.
India is witnessing mass urban migration, and the concerning issue is that our cities are not built to accommodate this sudden rush. According to a report by property consultant Knight Frank, coworking spaces leased 4 million sq ft of office space across eight major cities during the first half of 2019 to meet the rising demand for such flexible areas from both corporations and startups. Moreover, there has been a macro shift towards a new way of working and living, which has spurred the demand for collaborative workspaces in India. WeWork aims to solve this by providing collaborative work solutions and equipping people to get more in less space. India is undergoing a workspace culture shift and WeWork acknowledges this increasing demand for flexible and co-working spaces. It is an ideal place for any individual seeking community, purpose, and the opportunity to create their life’s work in today’s age of changing millennials. The space caters to everyone, from PR to tech, healthcare to finance, fashion to accounting, etc. From catering to 2,200 members out of its first space WeWork Galaxy (Bangalore), the company today has over 35,000 members in the country comprising a healthy mix of large enterprises, SMEs, startups, and freelancers.
Co-working spaces have been steadily gaining pace and is seen to be expanding at a rapid pace today. Hyderabad is a unique market sporting rich culture backed by strong technological expertise, hence the high demand for shared workspaces in the city is no surprise. This year Hyderabad saw a significant surge with net office absorption multiplying almost four times as compared to the corresponding period last year; to 5.8 million sq ft in H1 2019 from 1.5 million sq ft in H1 2018. This pushed the share of Hyderabad to around 27 percent in H1 2019 from 8 percent during the same period last year as reported by JLL in its recent study. This can be attributed to expansion plans by information technology and IT-enabled services (IT/ITeS), banking, financial sector and insurance (BFSI) players and co-working space operators, amid sturdy business confidence.
WeWork model offers immense flexibility for small and established Enterprises with respect to office space design. Memberships are of 3 types – hot desks, dedicated desks, and private offices to suit the needs of both a freelancer as well as a large team. WeWork offers its members the flexibility around work and an environment that caters to improving work-life balance, employee productivity, and talent retention. These are critical and tangible business benefits that motivate businesses of any scale to increase their co-working footprint. Working out of a WeWork reduces the expense of running an office space by approximately 15-20%.
As a collaborative workspace provider, it aims to always strike a human connect through all the initiatives for its members. Over and above the benefits of flexible working space, the advantage of community and services that the membership provides, members also get unmatched benefits that one can’t put a price on. For instance, member engagement initiatives such as TGIM (Thank God it’s Monday) has been a part of WeWork culture since its inception. This includes complimentary breakfast on Mondays to members, which consists of a specialized menu each week, to help beat away Monday blues. And makes the act of getting to work on a Monday positive. Wellness Wednesday is an initiative where WeWork organizes fitness activities every week, right from Salsa to Yoga, Pilates to Zumba, meant both for working out as well as connecting with fellow community members. The community team is dedicated in its objective to come up with varied networking events for members including panel discussions, workshops, seminars to pop-ups by lifestyle brands etc. WeWork also makes available global opportunities by giving members access to WeWork’s shared workspaces across its 528 physical locations in 111 cities around the world.
Right from the early days, the company has witnessed success stories of collaboration among members from across the globe. This can largely be attributed to the ‘Member Network App’ that helps connect members across the globe. Members can leverage community and scale to reach more people across geographies. For example, if you’re a company in India, you can effectively make your presence felt in New York, China, Australia, Mexico, etc. by joining WeWork.
A report by JLL states that 2019 will also set a new benchmark in Hyderabad in terms of new project completions which is expected at about 47 million sq ft. In this regard, Hyderabad is likely to lead with new completions at 13 million sq ft in 2019 followed by Bengaluru and Delhi NCR. The idea of an open space that encourages communication and exchange of ideas is catching up in India in a big way and is these promising numbers further bolsters this concept which is very much here to stay.