In­dia Inc bats for openof­fices

AD­VAN­TAGES More cor­po­rate spa­ces are be­ing de­vel­oped as open of­fices be­cause their su­pe­rior de­sign and struc­ture pro­mote in­no­va­tion and con­vey an at­trac­tive youth­ful ethos while al­low­ing easy and smooth em­ployee in­ter­ac­tion

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Sukhdeep Aurora letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com The author is Chief Peo­ple Of­fi­cer ­ ANAROCK Prop­erty Con­sul­tants

Open of­fices are a new-age com­mer­cial spa­ces trend which is catch­ing up across the globe, in­clud­ing in In­dia. Im­prov­ing wire­less tech­nol­ogy to suit chang­ing busi­ness re­quire­ments is truly an en­abler for this trans­for­ma­tion.

Mil­len­ni­als and globe-trot­ters today ac­count for a large and ever-in­creas­ing share of the In­dian work­ing pop­u­la­tion - they op­er­ate on a very col­lab­o­ra­tive wave­length and are, by and large, not at home in the tra­di­tional cu­bi­cles model that so far de­fined most In­dian of­fice spa­ces.

To cater to the evolv­ing mind­set of a Gen Next work­force - and to achieve bet­ter pro­duc­tiv­ity and em­ployee re­ten­tion - an in­creas­ing num­ber of pro­gres­sive firms are now trans­form­ing their of­fices into trendy, happening, open spa­ces that pro­mote in­no­va­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

AD­VAN­TAGES OF THE OPEN OF­FICE CUL­TURE

· Em­ploy­ees can in­ter­act and col­lab­o­rate eas­ily, which not only im­proves pro­duc­tiv­ity but also fos­ters a stronger sense of ca­ma­raderie

· Col­leagues can dis­cuss and seek ad­vice with­out sched­ul­ing for­mal meet­ings

· Col­lab­o­ra­tive of­fices are vi­brant spa­ces that emit pos­i­tive en­ergy and there­fore up­lift the in­no­va­tion quo­tient

· Mak­ing the spa­ces where em­ploy­ees spend a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of their day­more­vi­brant and en­er­getic makes them look for­ward to hit­ting the of­fice

· Open of­fices re­duce the cost of con­struc­tion as walls, cu­bi­cles, etc. are no longer needed

· Im­proved­flow of air an­d­light re­duce op­er­at­ing costs in the long run.

· Open of­fices make for bet­ter uti­liza­tion of spa­ces so that they can ac­com­mo­date more em­ploy­ees.

The In­dian open of­fice trend was spear­headed by IT/ITeS firms.

This is not only be­cause many of the above ad­van­tages are cen­tral con­cepts to their success, but also be­cause they are pop­u­lated by young peo­ple who are fully-aligned with this con­cept. By now, many other cor­po­rate busi­nesses have fol­lowed suit an­dopenof­fices have­be­comethe lat­est rage in com­mer­cial spa­ces across In­dia Inc.

Apart from the above-men­tioned ad­van­tages they of­fer, there are also var­i­ous crit­i­cal ra­tio­nales at play when In­dian cor­po­rates adopt the open of­fice plan.

With ris­ing prop­erty costs, many firms have been con­sol­i­dat­ing of­fices to achieve bet­ter economies of scale.

More cor­po­rate spa­ces are be­ing de­vel­oped as open of­fices be­cause their su­pe­rior de­sign and struc­ture pro­mote in­no­va­tion and con­vey an at­trac­tive youth­ful ethos.

STRIV­ING TO­WARDS GLOBAL STAN­DARDS

Global IT giants like Google and Face­book have taken the con­cept of open of­fices to an en­tirely new level. The tran­si­tion is a lot more grad­ual in In­dia - here, New Age of­fice con­cepts must tact­fully coex­ist with more tra­di­tional ones be­fore they even­tu­ally can re­place them. Also, there is no doubt that the open of­fice for­mat is not suit­able for each an­de­v­erycon­ceiv­able busi­ness. How­ever, the need for change is very ap­par­ent, and cor­po­rate In­dia is wak­ing up to it.

In the con­stant quest to at­tract and re­tain qual­i­fied and highly col­lab­o­ra­tive mil­len­ni­als and younger pro­fes­sion­als, many com­pa­nies are now re­vamp­ing their brand strate­gies to de­pict a more youth­ful and in­clu­sive im­age.

Th­ese ef­forts in­clude re­pur­pos­ing ex­ist­ing of­fice spa­ces to dis­play align­ment with pro­gres­sive of­fice en­vi­ron­ment con­cepts. We are wit­ness­ing this trend in a va­ri­ety of busi­ness fields which have col­lab­o­ra­tion and youth­ful, tech-savvy tal­ent as their cor­ner­stones for success.

More­and­more­busi­ness­esare em­brac­ing the ben­e­fits of open of­fices, and this con­cept has be­come a key success tool for fos­ter­ing a young and en­thu­si­as­tic work­force brim­ming with en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm to cre­ate some­thing path-break­ing. In­no­va­tive open of­fices help to at­tract and re­tain such tal­ent.

OPEN OF­FICES - IN­VEST­MENTS, NOT ADDED COSTS

The new type of open of­fices may seem to be cap­i­tal in­ten­sive due to the vi­brantly de­signed in­te­ri­ors, cut­ting- edge fa­cil­i­ties, break-out ar­eas and other in­no­va­tive work­place de­sign fac­tors. How­ever, in the long run open of­fices are more cost-ef­fec­tive not only in terms of re­duced cost of op­er­a­tions but also by ways of im­proved em­ployee re­ten­tion. Also, the re­duced use of walls, cu­bi­cles, meet­ing rooms, etc. can ac­tu­ally com­pen­sate for the fitout costs while si­mul­ta­ne­ously ren­der­ing the of­fice vi­brant and ‘happening’.

While the over­all de­mand for mod­ern of­fices is ro­bust in the larger cities, many suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies are also look­ing to ex­pand into the smaller cities. Land and de­vel­op­ment costs are lower in the tier II/III cities, and de­vel­op­ing built-to-suit open of­fice spa­ces in such cities makes a lot of fi­nan­cial sense.

THE PER­FECT BRAND ENTRENCHMENT MEDIUM

Land and de­vel­op­ment costs will al­ways play a role in de­ci­sions of what kinds of of­fices to de­ploy or oc­cupy. How­ever, an­other factor is the brand stand­ing of large com­pany chains. Large cor­po­rates want to be known for an ex­cel­lent work­ing en­vi­ron­ment re­gard­less of wherethey­openup or ex­pand into, and con­sider a cer­tain con­sis­tency across the board im­por­tant. This is why stan­dard­ized open of­fice plans are usu­ally not city-spe­cific but brand-spe­cific choices, even in­clud­ing the com­pany’s brand colours in the over­all of­fice de­sign.

The psy­chol­ogy of brand colours is well-known– they play an im­por­tant part of cre­at­ing a strong and last­ing brand im­pact, and the po­ten­tial-laden can­vas that anopenof­fice for­mat af­fords can­not be ig­nored. Open of­fices are there­fore not only in­vest­ments into work­place com­forts, con­ve­niences and pro­duc­tiv­ity, but also into the brand it­self. TheTa­jMans­ingh­wa­sopenedin 1978 af­ter Tata­group­fir­mIn­dian Ho­tels en­tered a33-year con­tract lease with NDMC. Af­ter the con­tract ex­pired in 2011, In­dian Ho­tels op­er­at­ing li­cence was ex­tended nine times. Fi­nally, in an ef­fort to raise more rev­enue, NDMCde­cid­edtofin­d­anew­op­er­a­tor through an auc­tion, giv­ing In­dian Ho­tels the right of first re­fusal. This was chal­lenged by In­dian Ho­tels in the Delhi high court and then the Supreme Court. The apex court gave a go-ahead­fortheauc­tion, turn­ing down In­dian Ho­tels’s plea to ex­tend its lease term.

What is the cur­rent sta­tus of the Taj Mans­ingh auc­tion?

The auc­tion dates for the ho­tel, also know­nas­theTa­jMans­ingh, have­been­re­visedtwi­ceinthe­last six months. Ini­tially sched­uled for 30 Jan­uary, the auc­tion was post­ponedafter­se­veral hote­liers ob­jected to the strin­gent bid­ding norms. While 3-4 play­ers were ini­tially be­lieved to bein­ter­ested in the auc­tion, which was fi­nally held on 20 June, only two ul­ti­mately par­tic­i­pated. ITC’s bid was elim­i­nated on tech­ni­cal rea­sons. As In­dian Ho­tels was the sole re­main­ing bid­der, the auc­tion had to be an­nulled.

Why is In­dian Ho­tels chal­leng­ing the Taj Mans­ingh auc­tion?

Many hospi­tal­ity groups have their eye on the lux­ury ho­tel, Thewin­ner­may­beopen­toin­t­er­pre­ta­tion, but the loser is cer­tainly NDMC. A suc­cess­ful auc­tion could gen­er­ate an up­front amountofRs300-400crore­an­dan an­nual lease amount of Rs 30-40 crore, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates. NDMC’s an­nual bud­get is about Rs 3,600 crore. The push to auc­tion be­gan be­cause it hoped to mon­e­tize the as­set on bet­ter terms. Asthings­stand, that’s not happening.

MINT/FILE

Em­ploy­ees can in­ter­act and col­lab­o­rate eas­ily in an open work en­vi­ron­ment

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