Qdesq's Webinar Report Covid-19 VS Co-working

India, April 2020: Qdesq organised an insightful and engaging webinar recently, which covered relevant insights on future of the co-working spaces and impact of Covid-19 on the industry. The expert panel unanimously agreed upon a bright future for flexible spaces. 

Talking about this initiative of Qdesq, Paras Arora, CEO & Founder, said, “These knowledge sharing sessions and webinars are the need of the hour. They provide us a better understanding of current scenario, mapping challenges that we need to overcome after lockdown, and way ahead. We hope everyone would take the adequate measures and stay safe. Awareness is the key.”

Eminent Panel Included: 

  • Samir Desai – Business Head, OYO Workspaces
  • Sumit Lakhani – Chief Marketing Officer, Awfis
  • Ankit Samdariya – CEO, The Hive
  • Karan Singh Sodi – MD, JLL Mumbai, Board member at Qdesq (Moderator)
  • Ankit Jain – Co-Founder & Director, Skootr Office Pvt Ltd
  • Akshita Gupta – Founder & CMO, ABL Workspaces
  • Paras Arora – Founder & CEO, Qdesq
  • Mishu Ahluwalia – Founder & CEO, GoHive
  • Arvind Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Corporatedge

1. Prioritizing Business Continuity plan: A business continuity plan will become a cross-functional response. Large head office will shrink and become ‘strategic corporate office’ for data sensitive function and core leadership team, while others being disseminated in flex workspaces post lockdown. The traditional office holders will look forward to capex conversion and avoid long-term commitment. 

2. Working Remotely: The global “work from home” exercise brought vital observations, while the majority agreed that it could not be the ultimate reserve due to lack of proper set-up and intangible productivity. Although the current period will make ‘work from home’ more mainstream, a balance can be struck between working remotely and out of offices. 

3. New Hygiene standards: Co-working spaces are taking extra measures such as proper sanitization, intricate cleanliness of the common area, thermal check-ups, and monitoring information on travel history of the occupants. 

4. India to become a future investors’ zone: The government took commendable steps to contain the virus. Hence, post lockdown, India will be viewed as a pragmatic entity and, in-turn, welcome more foreign investments and partners.  

5. Client Retention: Occupants are feeling distressed due to the unawareness of the future, which calls upon the need for honest and transparent dialogue. The provider should arrange an open conversation and update regularly. Client retention will be the priority post lockdown, and operators will offer flexible prices. 

6. Four Pillars of Co-working: Fundamentally, co-working spaces have three important pillars: Price, Look, and Feel. The current situation has called for another major addition—Hygiene—as workplace safety and health standards take center stage.  

7. Come together as ‘One industry’: In the time of need, the co-working industry must create a holistic and helpful environment, and come together as ‘one industry’ to help and support each other. 

8. Indian Workspace Association: Operators are joining hands to safeguard the industry and form Indian Workspace Association. IWA will lead the dialogue with multiple statutory authorities for relief/waivers. If approved, the operators can pass them on to the clients.

9. Sustainability is the key: The operators must negotiate with the landlords and work on flexible terms until the situation normalizes. Landlords needs to understand the ground reality and should work towards a mutually beneficial partnership. 

Explore if Salesforce is willing to work on the higher variable amount and incentives compared to lower fixed cost. Leaseback of IT assets, and partner with data center operators by offering them space 

10. The potential MNC’s Shift: MNCs would shift to a ‘Hub & Spoke’ model wherein a significant proportion of their workforce would work from co-working spaces.

The panellist looked optimistic and are ready to overcome the short-term challenges. The flexible workspace industry will be back in action soon, with more people opting for it. 

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