Co-working companies eye banquet halls, lounges for office space

Co-working startups are eyeing unused spaces such as banquet halls, lounges and meeting rooms to provide seats to companies or individuals at prime locations.

Co-working cafés can be the ideal launchpad for startups, but eventually, such firms will require a more professional, formal, secure and safe business environment at a reasonable cost, property consultant Anarock said, explaining the reason why co-working companies were looking for different types of office space.

My HQ, a Delhi based on-demand and shared workspace provider, said it had transformed more than 60 lounges or cafés in the National Capital Region into coworking places and would expand to other cities as well.

“We get into an agreement with the café owner and a portion of the space is dedicated as My HQ place. The charge is as low as? 200 a day. The cafes are usually available in the day time as they don’t have many customers. The booking happens through the app,” myHQ cofounder Vinayak Agarawal said.

My HQ has transformed a banquet hall into a co-working space at Mahipalpur, which is near to the Delhi airport. My HQ has a total of 160 such spaces in Delhi-NCR.

A meeting room is always in demand and can be used by different companies on different days, said Delhi-based FlexiSpaces, which offers shared office spaces across India.

“Someday it is used as a yoga training center while on another day for group classrooms. We have a lot of demand for meeting centers and have many of them on our platform. Companies can book them as per the requirement and location,” founder Sandeep Singh said.

Singh said the estimated number of on-demand spaces was more than 1 million in India. “Business of any size prefers conducting a meeting in a professional space rather than restaurants. They just struggle with discoverability and over-pricing. Demand from tier-2 cities is growing for the last 2-3 years. We are exploring cities like Pune, Hyderabad, Kochi, Indore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Surat, Chandigarh, etc.,” Singh added.

Agarawal said bloggers and coders were among those looking for shared spaces. Companies also take such spaces and offer it to employees who want to work from a place near to their homes.

Anarock said rising real estate rentals and operating costs in metros, and diminishing brand loyalty among millennials had been brewing trouble for innumerable cafes operating across India.

Given the changing dynamics and brands facing a deluge of competition, it is imperative that cafes remain upbeat, creative and ahead of the pack. This has given rise to the co-working culture in coffee bars or cafes, leading to a stupendous rise in the number of not only the usual coffee chains but also concept cafes or bistros across cities.

The co-working segment in India has seen strong growth in recent years and is now a catalyst of sorts for modern workspaces, according to real estate consultancy firm JLL.

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