India’s coworking industry has taken a major hit as demand for these workspaces has dwindled due to the current pandemic, in some cases by over 30%.
According to Arjjun Chander of Karya Space, the negative impact reached its peak in March when lockdowns first took place and it lost 50% of its leads. But now, things are looking up as companies look for new ways to provide its members services.
“Fortunately, we have customers who use our “Business Address Service” (Virtual Office Solutions), so we do have a trickle of revenue flowing in,” said Gargi Shah, founder of Mumbai-based The Playce.
Many companies have been forced to offer discounted memberships or rent waivers, leaving some unable to make rent and entering renegotiations with landlords. For now, several operators are trying to reduce costs by laying off or furloughing employees and consolidating their spaces.
While things seem grim, coworking experts are optimistic about the future of the industry as companies turn to offices with more flexible, short-term leases.
“The beauty with these coworking players is that you can take a one month contract, a 15-day contract or a 3 month contract unlike your conventional deals where you have to sign a 5-year contract and you are committed,” said Karan Singh Sodi, Regional Managing Director of JLL Mumbai.