WeWork helping big firms adopt flexible work in pandemic: India CEO

By Nishant Arora
New Delhi, Oct 11 As India reopens and organisations of all sizes aim to address the new hybrid-work reality, WeWork is now tapping into the rise in large corporations and enterprises adopting the flexible workspace model, its India CEO Karan Virwani said on Monday.

According to Virwani, the flexible shared workspaces provider has seen a consistent rise in large enterprises wanting to shift to their workspaces and sign long-term deals in India during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

“Over 60 per cent of our member base in India comprises large enterprises and since the lockdown, we have seen a 10 per cent rise in our enterprise portfolio,” Virwani told IANS.

In April this year, WeWork announced a fresh round of funding of Rs 200 crore. This came after an initial round of funding from WeWork Global of $100 million in June last year, “reiterating stakeholder confidence while scaling business and developing the flexible workspace industry in India”, the WeWork India CEO added.

Tata Sky Broadband in May this year signed a one-year commitment to WeWork’s On-Demand service for 250 employees.

“This allows TATA Sky Broadband employees to work from any WeWork location across the country, and using the On-Demand product, teams can choose when and where they would like to come together and collaborate,” Virwani informed.

Colliers India has also recently shifted their headquarters to WeWork at the Two Horizon Centre in Gurugram. This is a specially curated and designed workspace for the company, providing them with the ease of access and flexibility they require.

“Most recently, we signed a long-term deal with global technology giant 3M for their headquarters at WeWork’s Prestige Central building in Bengaluru, offering 400 employees the benefits of flexibility,” said Virwani, adding that there is a definite rise in large corporations and enterprises adopting the flexible workspace model in the country.

In its latest report for the office market, property consultant Cushman and Wakefield stated that the total seats leased by enterprises could cross 50,000 during the 2021 calendar year.

With over 350 employees, WeWork India currently operates at 35 locations, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurugram, Noida, Pune and Hyderabad.

It has more than 40,000 as its members and provides over 60,000 desks to the companies and startups across its locations. Member composition: Enterprises now make 60 per cent of its member portfolio, and startups/freelancers/small and medium enterprises rest of the 40 per cent.

The company provides three types of membership models – hot desks, dedicated desks, and private offices.

Hot desk is flexible, 24/7 access to the workspace, but not the same desk every day. Dedicated desk is fully furnished, ideal for those who like to work from the same spot each day and private offices range from one person to 100 and more people.

Post-pandemic, the company is also offering new products in the country: WeWork On Demand, WeWork Business Solutions, Virtual Offices and WeWork All Access.

“Flexible workspaces will continue to drive the future of work. This is because of reduced fixed costs, personalisation and customisation based on their needs, risk mitigation, collaboration and more,” said Virwani.

It also gives companies the flexibility to scale the size of their workspace as and when needed.

“Organisations of all sizes will continue to make the shift towards adopting flexible workspace solutions that cater to their specific needs, while keeping safety, hygiene and a healthy work-life balance as the utmost priority,” he told IANS.

On strengthening his India base as offices bring employees back to work, Virwani said: “The need of the hour in today’s scenario is to cater to our members by offering them flexibility, safe workspaces, ease of access, community, and opportunities to collaborate, while continuing to focus on our strategy for long-term growth and profitability”.

(Nishant Arora can be reached at nishant.a@ians.in)

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