Sprawling offices out, satellite pods in!

Large office campuses seem to be on the way out in the post-COVID era

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The workspace has undergone significant changes since the pandemic spun life, as we know it, around. Having already consumed a better part of the past two years, experts believe that the pandemic may be nearing its end, giving a green light to the resumption of life as usual. Moving forth, the paradigm shift introduced by the pandemic in the office culture may bring about lasting changes in the way businesses operate.

“It has been observed that the decision- making process is faster when employees are working from one base”

Siddharth Vishwanath, head- human resources, Zivame

Already embracing a hybrid work culture, corporates are exploring ways to open up office spaces. Even though many have got accustomed to working from home, opening office spaces to develop a better work culture is essential for the growth of any company. While some professionals are eager to resume work from office, others wish to continue to work remotely, given the COVID-19 risk involved and the threat of the delta variant in the air. To minimise the risk of infections while trying to return to office, companies have started to develop smaller office spaces. These office spaces or ‘pods’ will serve employees of a particular company congregating together in a common workspace, which will be located in the collective vicinity of their homes. Setting up of smaller offices is an extension of the ‘Work from Office’ culture, which is expected to grow post the pandemic.

“Work-from-anywhere will be the more common practice in the future. That means, Instead of buying a single large office space, companies will be able to operate using multiple smaller seating offices across a city. This will enable employees to access locations close to home”

Adil Malia, CEO, The Firm

Adil Malia, CEO, The Firm believes that the concept of establishing smaller-seating offices in different locations will gradually become more popular among companies.

“Work-from-anywhere will be the more common practice in the future. That means, Instead of buying a single large office space, companies will be able to operate using multiple smaller seating offices across a city. This will enable employees to access locations close to home,” he explains. Limited seating will limit the risk of a COVID breakout and also give a majority of the employees a more adequate working space.

As a part of its employee-wellness initiative, Zensciences has set up one such ‘work-pod’ in Kolkata, and plans to establish more in the near future. As cities gradually open up and it becomes safer to venture out, these pods will act as distributed creative hubs and collaborative spaces for the employees.

Working from under the same roof is no doubt an ideal way to develop better relations within the team. Acknowledging this, Sakshi Gaurav, people head, Zenscienses, says, “Maintaining constant interaction between teams is important to make work easier, and this gets reflected in the increased productivity levels. Keeping communication open allows employees with diverse mindsets to connect and ensures a certain level of cohesion.”

“Large campus-like offices may soon be a thing of the past”

Anish Philip, CHRO, Marlabs

Anish Philip, CHRO, Marlabs, is also exploring the idea of adopting satellite office spaces coupled with remote work or work-from-home for future operations. “We are expanding our locations in Bangalore, setting up more satellite offices. We plan to manage 20-25 per cent of our workforce in remote roles and expand on the concept of working from satellite offices, while moving forth,” he tells HRKatha.

Philip explains that establishing small office spaces in the vicinity of residences of employees will save transportation time and expenses. Additionally, it will also be a beneficial policy for companies, as they may be able to cut down on the office rental expenses with satellite offices.

Further, Philip feels that satellite offices will also be a more lucrative option for companies to improve employee attrition, as it will make it more convenient for employees to balance work-life.

“Maintaining constant interaction between teams is important to make work easier, and this gets reflected in the increased productivity levels”

Sakshi Gaurav, people head, Zenscienses

“Large campus-like offices may soon be a thing of the past,” says Philip.

However, Siddharth Vishwanath, head- human resources, Zivame, says that the startup is not looking forward to distributing employee workspaces across multiple locations. Instead, it will resume operations by seating a majority of its team under one roof. Ensuring better communication between teams will be the priority in order to expand its business. “To maintain the rate at which our startup is growing, optimum collaboration will be the essence. It has been observed that the decision- making process is faster when employees are working from one base,” Siddharth asserts. He emphasises that employee safety is a must for the startup and hence, it will only resume work from office only once the pandemic situation is completely under control.

1 COMMENT

  1. As long as delivery is not impacted and customers not complaining about it , I do not think working from either locations does matter. And when the situation has forced us to stay back, WHF is not an issue at all as long as delivery of work is concerned. But a hybrid model , where in employees getting an option to be in office has other advantages like stress busting. When people meet personally and share personal stuff apart from work creates happier environments , and hence makes people happy and as a result productivity increases. To a very good degree its like a family get together. Other major advantage is offices can cut down a lot on cost as long as having large space in prime locations. In large cities commutation consumes long time. And when the traffic is dense , people also get stressed to travel. So a plus from this point of view as well. This time can be invested in other productive work.

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