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Flexible Office Spaces Must Enable Multi-Dimensional Office Experience: Harsh Binani, Smartworks

Sceptics who still go by the traditional, inflexible mode of offices should look at managed office space provider Smartworks which is creating a whole new level of office spaces with workforce demands in mind.

Harsh Binani, Co-founder- Smartworks
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A recent report by JLL India has put in black and white what corporate India has been witnessing over the past two years. The demand for coworking office space has catapulted over two-fold in the last fiscal, reaching 90,200 desks across seven major cities. The change, which trickled in during early 2020, boomed after the second wave of the pandemic, said the report.

Sceptics who still go by the traditional, inflexible mode of offices should look at managed office space provider Smartworks which is creating a whole new level of office spaces with workforce demands in mind. Founded in April 2016, the company was among the new-gen startups who sought out niche business opportunities and today has established itself as the preferred workspace partner for global enterprises with a growing footprint of over 7 million sq. ft. The pandemic didn't just change the game; it took it to another field of play.

"Over 80% of our clients are large corporates and global MNCs, and the base continues to grow. From what we see, enterprises are allocating a higher share of their office portfolio to flexible workspaces not only because of cost savings, agility, and flexibility but also for the value-added services and amenities translating into a multi-dimensional experience. Our pan India presence ensures over 25% of our revenue comes from multi-city clients," said Harsh Binani, Co-founder- of Smartworks.

The hybrid method of work has a spillover effect on client expectations and demands too. The concept of workspaces changed from inflexible reality to environments that are safe, easy to adapt and expand with ease. With improved client interaction facilities, office spaces are now places of investment in community building through idea sharing, partnerships, and executive-client collaborations.

An early bird, Smartworks soared on the opportunity that followed the pandemic-related uncertainties. The company currently accounts for more than 12% of India's total commercial office space leasing. It is in talks with leading property developers to add 3 million sq. ft. of office space in FY 22-23 across Del/NCR, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and tier 2 cities. Last year also, the company leased a similar quantum. Once completed, the plan will take the company's overall portfolio to 10 million sq. ft., the highest among the shared space providers in the country.

"It's no longer just about offering real estate, a desk and chair, and it's about the experience you enable in your spaces. On our large campuses, ranging from 2 lac sf -4 lac sq ft, we offer world-class amenities in a tech-enabled environment such as a sports zone, recreational rooms, collab areas, excellent shopping and food experience, and retail elements such as laundry or grocery. These added benefits are pushing people to come back to the office earlier than before, solving a major pain point for large enterprises," said Harsh.

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Early adoption and updation of technology have played a major role in helping the company achieve its present industry leadership. Smartworks, in December 2021, launched 'Smartworks Technology Services', a data-driven tenant & employee experience workspace management SaaS platform for landlords and enterprises.
Smartworks clients use the 'SW Super App' to book meeting rooms, order food, and book Flexi-desks, among other services and amenities, without using the communal touchscreens. The platform allows landlords to manage their office assets more efficiently.

"We've always had a digital-first approach. Over a period, we've built a business model where we are using technology to deliver a great product faster, at value pricing with high quality. We've seen tremendous growth in the adoption of our product, where our existing clients have expanded with us in multiple locations, considering they don't just see us managing their workspace ecosystem but the entire office experience ecosystem," added Harsh Binani.

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Focusing on catering to the changes in the client and employee expectations in the new normal has fetched rich dividends for the company. Smartworks earned a revenue of Rs. 350 crores in FY22. The company aims to triple it to Rs. 1000 crore in 2022-23. Going by the optimistic trends spotted by market watchers, the target seems highly achievable.

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