While the pre-pandemic years saw the migration of tech graduates from the small cities to the metros in search of jobs, the recent pandemic years have forced a kind of reverse migration. With employees being assigned to work from their homes, people have returned to their hometowns indefinitely till normalcy is restored. Quite naturally, the small towns buzzing with people working remotely have become hotspots of office space for rent in Bangalore developing rapidly. With the future of the pandemic situation still quite indefinite, co-working seems to be a lucrative and feasible option on both ends. It is also a possible alternative future for companies willing to hire employees working from remote spaces.

Remote Work Propelling Flexibility In Work Culture

During the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies were forced to shut down their onsite businesses and shift to the Work-From-Home model. The shift initially showed a rise in productivity. But, as months passed, the depression induced by isolation, long hours in front of the screen, and a lack of social interaction started taking a toll on employees’ health and productivity.

As Flick Spaces tried to find a middle path, they adopted the concept of co-working to allow employees to travel short distances from their homes and work in an office-like environment while interacting with their co-workers. Such setups have not only proven to be sustainable and cost-effective but have also turned out to be flexible.

Employees from different companies can interact while sharing the workspace, facilitating a collaborative environment and promoting healthy communications and recreation. With the pandemic still posing a threat to the country, these flexible setups allow more productivity within the given circumstances and promote a healthy work-life balance. 

The Idea Of Shared Spaces Are Expanding Into The Smaller Cities

 Earlier, the idea of co-working or sharing commercial buildings was limited only to metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Companies could hire the space of one or two floors, or small businesses and start-ups could rent a few desks in a co-working space rather than renting the whole building. This is a highly feasible alternative, saving costs and helping companies of all scales find working spaces in a nation already facing a lack of enough land and real estate to cater to the entire population.

Since rental prices are constantly increasing, it is difficult for organizations to rent the entire commercial working space in urban areas. The problem gets more challenging for smaller organizations with insufficient funding and unstable cash flow. Co-working spaces reduce the cost of maintenance, electrical instalments, furniture, reception, etc., by a huge extent.

Gradually, the pandemic years have expanded the idea of co-working from the metropolitan cities to the smaller cities Surat, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Nagpur, Vadodara, etc. The rapid development of collaborative working environments is also giving the right push to new business start-ups. Especially, the Tier II and Tier III cities are experiencing a boom in new start-ups due to the availability of collaborative working spaces at low operational costs.

Operators Tapping The Lucrative Opportunity For The Long Run

The co-working operators in India are all set to encash this sudden expansion of remote working opportunities in the small towns. They want to tap the most of the situation, especially to help small-scale startups flourish and the IT sector stream into the Tier II and Tier III belts. For instance, HCL Tech had plans to expand to the Tier II cities, while Cognizant, Infosys and TCS had already started to expand their growth into the smaller cities like Coimbatore. The pandemic years, or the post-pandemic phase, have further propelled the expansion for the apparent benefits. The times seem lucrative enough for the co-working operators who have helped several organizations reposition their growth over the last two years.

Operators like Smartworks have successfully expanded the co-working industry in the Tier I cities where the demands for such shared workspaces were sky-high. They are targetting around 10 million square feet of co-working spaces across the country in the next five years as they can see the demand for such flexible work environments to see a boom.

Other leading co-working operators like Tablespace has set up 60,000 square feet of shared workspace in Thiruvananthapuram alone. Such demands seem ripe in other small cities like Ahmedabad, Nagpur, etc. Companies like Awfis, MyBranch and ABLWorkspaces have elaborate plans to establish co-working centres in most Tier II and III cities. Incuzspace has plans to set up 0.5 million square feet of shared workspaces in small cities of Gujarat alone, such as Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat.

Co-Working: A Significant Step Towards An Alternative Future

The pandemic has shifted us to adapt to a new ‘normal’, changing our old concepts and attitudes and embracing newer theories and alternatives. The immediate ideas to tackle the present situation at hand have also opened vistas to an alternative future that may completely revamp the work culture for the better.

The migration of tech graduates from the small towns and cities to the metros was mainly because of job opportunities. Even though it gives them greater exposure, the added costs of living in metros in rented apartments was a fact that pressurized most employees leaving their families back in the smaller cities. Furnished office space in outer ring road saves the living and travel costs since the employees can stay back with their families and work remotely from a nearby shared office space. On the other hand, companies can hire employees from remote cities, pooling in more talent than only the metro cities can offer, and that too at slightly lesser salary packages.

Conclusion

Innovation and expanding the scope of working is the key to development. Co-working spaces being built in the smaller cities of India is a vital step towards development all across the nation. These spaces shall provide young and talented individuals with opportunities to flourish regardless of their location. Needless to say, top companies expanding their human resources into the smaller belts of the nation shall lead to talent integration and vast development for the bigger picture.

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