Shared office spaces provide opportunities for many entrepreneurs to set up their own office at an early stage in their business in a cost effective manner.
In the last one decade, the concept of shared office space (also known as serviced offices or business centers) has become quite popular in the city. With entrepreneurship becoming big and start ups gaining momentum, there is a significant rise in the demand for such spaces in Chennai today.
A business center is a professionally managed commercial facility that offers end-to-end business infrastructure for short to medium-term duration. One can choose from a wide range of flexible options that suits one’s needs. Based on specific requirements with respect to space and infrastructure, people can enjoy the advantage of customized, unbranded serviced offices. The business centers offer tenants a private, often glass-walled office on a floor, which is also occupied by other firms. Amenities such as cafeteria, boardrooms, meeting hall and reception are shared between the firms. An organization or an individual entrepreneur can rent a desk, if they don’t need or can’t afford a huge office of their own.
According to Satish Chander Narayanan, associate director, investments, Cushman & Wakefield, “It is increasingly becoming a preferred choice for companies that operate on a small scale. For large scale firms, these help as temporary solutions until they move into their permanent facility. Additionally, these spaces were high on demand during the recent floods and almost all business centers were packed with more than their usual capacity during the months of December, and January.”
The occupancy rates are also high for this kind of property. Geethapriya R, general manager, Regus says, “People are looking at cost effective offices with good infrastructure, as real estate costs are escalating. Hence shared offices are being looked at as a viable option as it doesn’t involve infrastructural cost and initial investment. The prospective clients range from start ups to Fortune 500 companies. There is surely a good demand in this office space category.”
Sathish adds, “Over the last few years, a change is being seen in the attitude towards a serviced office, which initially posed a challenge for firms that were used to operating in their own office. With real estate costs going up, the need for a serviced office is seen as advantageous to a tenant who might be testing the waters with his new business. Besides, business centers have come in handy to provide long-term customized solutions for a number of firms who prefer operating from a serviced office than getting to invest in a full-fledged office space which would warrant them to invest in interiors and pay a significant amount as advance towards the premise. It isn’t surprising that there are firms which have been operating in these serviced offices for more than five or six years, though they have grown substantially.”
Puneet Murthika, senior business development executive, Lema Labs says, “Shared office spaces allow the company to enter a market without making a big financial commitment in an area that’s often unfamiliar. At the same time, employees get a wonderful and professional working environment. We look for work spaces that allow us to innovate and motivate us to work better. Shared offices provide such a platform.”
The story is set to be better with demand rising from domestic and international players. “For firms that place a lot of importance on convenience and flexibility, these spaces are being much sought after. With flexible options like single seat occupancy, many start-ups are also preferring to go with a cost per head arrangement.” says the spokesperson from Doxa Business Center.
“Features such as cost being calculated per workstation, convenience, ease of accessibility, flexibility, lesser planning, lower capital investment, hassle-free maintenance, professional reception services, high-speed broad band and single in voice attract entrepreneurs as they allow them to concentrate on their work. It also gives room for scalability. These are valued highly by emerging enterprises,” adds Puneet.