Employers were never very open to the concept of work from home, especially in India. When being demanded by an employee, the idea was often scoffed upon or laughed off. Post COVID-19 outbreak, the stature of work from home has increased multifold with both employers and employees acknowledging the effectiveness of the model so much so that many startups have already started giving up real estate or cutting down on their office footprint.
As the pandemic continues to rise in India, the relief is nowhere in sight. Even if lockdown is lifted, small and mid-sized startups are reluctant to open the offices sooner.
Many firms are rethinking their real estate strategies with many smaller ones resorting to lease terminations and bigger players looking at renegotiating rentals if not reducing footprint. With the new found convenience and flexibility that come along with it, many realtors feel that work from home is here to stay.
Giving up or cutting down office spaces is seen rampant as it comes across as a multifold solution. The move saves on real estate expenditure and is helping the firms to save the cash flow. Additionally, these companies feel WFH makes better business sense and it does not affect employee productivity as contrary to the popular notion earlier.
Banking and payment solutions provider VSoft terminated leases for 11 out of its 15 offices pan India post lockdown. The fact that productivity did not dip during WFH gave the firm the confidence to terminate leases of smaller offices that housed 25% of the 1,200 workforce. VSoft is now looking for a more compact headquarter in Hyderabad.
Similarly, InsideView Technologies has ended the lease on its 17, 000 sq ft Hyderabad office housing about 180 people.
“Our internal survey showed employees are enjoying the freedom, flexible hours and the fact that they don’t have to spend 2-4 hours on daily commutes. We asked ourselves why we are spending so much on a facility when everyone is enjoying WFH,” board member Sesha Rao told ET Realty. “We always had a high WFH staff as we never viewed it as an HR benefit but an organisational culture of trusting employees. We went 100% WFH from early March.”
In Mumbai, cybersecurity player SEQURETEK has ended the lease on a 50-seater facility. Pankit Desai, co-founder & CEO, SEQURETEK, who was planning to double the office footprint in Bengaluru, now reportedly feels that work from home has been a blessing. He also said that the worry about “productivity and customer intimacy too have been proven wrong.”
Almost two and a half months of lockdown has shown to the corporate world that work from home is equally effective and that they have been sitting with much more office space than they actually need.
CREDAI national chairman Jaxay Shah however holds a different stand. As per him, the rise and adaptation of work from home is just a temporary phenomenon.