Work from anywhere: From hotel rooms to cafes, professionals are turning to innovation

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A young professional settles in a five-star hotel in the suburbs of Bombay. She’s not here for a business meeting or a mid-week break. By registering at the front desk, she cross-references the amenities in the room to help her get to work: Wifi, adapters, comfy desk chairs, everything that goes with a personal desk in the office.

The hotel as an office

Working from home has gone so far that well-placed, well-paid employees are now discovering the landscape not too far from home.

“These customers have different requirements than regular customers. They focus on an in-room workstation with a good network, backup power, availability of adapters, first aid facilities, healthy power and , above all, a tranquil view of indulging yourself,” says Farhan Hamidani, Sales and Marketing Manager of Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach. They also need flexibility in housekeeping to ensure that their working hours in room are not hindered.

The result is that luxury hotels, like this one, are seeing a surge in business. Novotel Mumbai says it has seen an increase in people looking for relaxing ways to make the most of the newly embraced flexibility offered by their businesses while keeping pace.

The location-independent office

For those not interested in a fancy workcation, local cafes or coworking spaces make for a nice change of pace.

Privileged decentralized spaces

Starbucks, for example, has seen a marked increase in people choosing to work or have a team meeting at their local Starbucks.

“Early on in the pandemic, we found that customers felt safer coming to a Starbucks because they knew we were following all the safety protocols,” says Sushant Dash, CEO of Tata Starbucks. “We are seeing the Starbucks labor phenomenon quite strong in pockets of metros (Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Pune and Bengaluru) as well as Tier 2 markets like Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and Nagpur.”

Coworking spaces have also seen an increase in the number of people after the reopening of offices. “With reverse labor migration, decentralized workspaces are becoming a preferred option for employers and employees. On the back of this trend, many companies are seeing opportunities beyond metros and expanding their footprint in Tier 2 cities,” says Sumit Lakhani. , Deputy Managing Director, Awfis. While 65% of their members belong to the over 50 seat cohort, Lakhani says that over the past few months they have seen a higher number of new sales from the under 50 seat cohort, which which indicates increasing adoption. distributed teams.

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“Post-pandemic, at Awfis, we observed that 60% of seat occupants (corporate employees) in Tier 1 moved to emerging metros in the country such as Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Chandigarh,” he adds.

Awfis says it has also seen an increase in demand for its “Awfis Now” remote working solution, which allows professionals to book an office or meeting room anywhere and anytime on the network of workspaces. Awfis work in 14 Indian cities through a single service. redemption of credits. “We’ve seen an increase in bulk credit buying from repeat customers, which indicates the effectiveness of this product, especially for the work-from-anywhere customer base,” Lakhani says.

Office without borders

In some cases, work from anywhere is so popular among employees that companies are even using it to redefine how they structure their “hybrid office.”

E-commerce platform Meesho, for example, announced in February that it would permanently allow all its employees to work from any location of their choice and the response was so good that CHRO Ashish Kumar Singh said that plans were underway for annual work assignments in places like Goa, Shimla and Manali. “Depending on employee demand, the company will also set up satellite offices at locations with higher talent density,” Singh said.

Artificial intelligence and analytics firm Fractal is also considering satellite offices, primarily in Chennai and Pune. “After Covid, we observed many people returning to their hometowns or Tier 2 cities to be close to family,” shares Rohini Singh, HR Manager. “These clusters have emerged more organically in places like Pune and Chennai, creating the need for us to bring co-working spaces to these places to enable hybrid working. We recently opened an office in Chennai and looking to open another one in Pune shortly.”

Office on the go

The trend towards decentralized workplaces, which took off as the pandemic ushered in a hybrid work model, left many employees behind.

While initially forcing professionals to reorient themselves towards hitherto untapped workspaces, it opened the doors to experimenting with new forms of work interactions.

In 2021, about one in five customers said they use Airbnb to work remotely while traveling. OYO’s fourth annual year-end index, released in December 2021, found nearly 48% of Indians worked from home during the year, with 85% preferring to take vacations or work away from home in a scenic location. Enter: The extended workcation.

Between March and June 2022, hotel start-up SaffronStays averaged 35% weekday occupancy, with properties in Lonavala, Pawna, Kamshet, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Karjat, Nashik, Palghar and Alibaug registering the more jobs.

“As long as there is Wi-Fi, a swimming pool and a lawn in a fully equipped house, people do not hesitate to spend days or weeks together working in these private houses”, explains its founder Devendra Parulekar .

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