Large companies now constitute around half of the overall client roster for flexible co-working facilities as collaborative workspaces are gaining wider acceptance in India, according to a new study by Knight Frank.

“With changing perceptions of office, the workplace is now being looked at as an environment that needs to be managed and optimised. It is being viewed as an instrument that could drive a dynamic and vibrant culture of corporate productivity impacting financial, cultural and environmental ethos of the organisation,” Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director, Knight Frank India said.

Flexible workspaces

Globally, the demand for flexible workspaces is set to accelerate as over two-thirds of global companies plan to increase their use of co-working and collaborative space over the next three years.

The research shows global corporates intend to operate increasingly from flexible, serviced and co-working spaces, which create a more collaborative working environment and offer freedom to expand and contract quickly according to market conditions.

The report surveyed senior executives at 120 global companies which collectively employ in excess of 3.5 million people worldwide and occupy an estimated 21.65 million sq mt (233 million sq ft) of office space, equivalent to the total amount in Central London.

Lease model

Despite proliferation of co-working and serviced office operators, a majority of global corporates occupy on a traditional lease model. Two-thirds of companies surveyed by Knight Frank reported that co-working, serviced and flexible office space comprise five per cent or less of their current office space. A small minority, less than seven per cent said that flexible workspace exceeds a fifth of their total workspace.

However, 80 per cent companies expect to grow the amount of collaborative space they use over the next three years. Further, 44 per cent stated that flexible space will constitute up to a fifth of all office space in the next three years. An additional 16 per cent estimated that as much as half of their workspace globally would be flexible space the same time period.

Conventional space

About 55 per cent companies identified increased flexibility as the main driver of this change, with 11 per cent stating that the sense of community fostered among workers was the key benefit. A further 11 per cent said the greater speed to becoming operational was the primary reason for selecting co-working or serviced office space ahead of more conventional office space.

“This research underlines that a decade of global economic uncertainty has reshaped how many of the world’s largest companies view workspace,” Dr Lee Elliott, Global Head of Occupier Research at Knight Frank said.