The wide-screen desktop that sits on Tarun Katiyar's work table chimes with a timely reminder. It is 8am in Bangalore, a cue for the 44-year-old Technical Architect to carry in his breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit to his workstation, sit back in his swivel chair and dial into a project status review conference call with co-workers around the globe. The only difference: he is doing it from his villa in Bangalore. For Katiyar who has worked out of a traditional office most of his career, the work-from-home holds definite charms. "I don't have to battle the Bangalore rush hour for one", he quips. "And my home office is kitted out with everything I need to feel connected with my team even if I'm not in office".
Until recently, India lagged behind many other countries in supporting a remote work culture. But if recent studies are any indicator, it appears those times are changing. More than half of Indian workers (53%) polled in a recent study said they prefer telecommuting. The same study found that the vast majority of workers (61%) are seeking a better work-life balance with less stress – stress that comes in part from a long and crowded commute and time away from family. Another recent study by global research company IPSOS found that 57 percent of Indian employees telecommute on a frequent basis and nearly one-third work remotely every day.
Cutting down Commute: A recent research report has found Bengaluru to be the most congested city in the country with office travel time up by 6% over last year. The city’s work force is spending more time in traffic than ever before with the worst hit areas being Whitefield and Outer Ring Road. Bangalore’s professionals don’t want to waste valuable work time in the long commutes of the city’s ever increasing traffic woes. This is giving rise to a trend where an increasing number of professionals are choosing to telecommute instead of waste a significant portion of their day.
Rising Office Real Estate Costs: The commercial office space witnessed a bracing upsurge of private equity inflows in 2017, and this trend is likely to continue in the coming years. With commercial office space costs rising in tandem with office overhead expenses, a rising number of companies are exploring the work-from-home option to cut down on the workforce they need to support. These organizations are encouraging remote work with a view to controlling these costs while providing flexibility to the employees.
Stress and Work Life Balance –The focus on work-life balance is sharpening across the globe. Several major companies such as Volkswagen and BMW have also implemented their own restrictions on contacting employees out of hours. The German Labor Ministry banned managers from contacting staff outside of work. Car manufacturer Daimler installed software on its systems which automatically deletes emails sent to staff out of hours. Companies are realizing that keeping employees happy by allowing them to spend more time with family is a way forward to success. India may be behind but is catching up on this trend. With Family and Flexibility being the 2 Fs that companies are stressing on, Work-from-Home is turning out to be one of the ways they are building trust amongst their work force. Professionals today are able to strike a better work life balance that is easier to achieve with remote work practices.
Distributed work force – New age work practices are seeing teams distributed around the world. With conference calls where participants are dialling in from different time zones, it becomes more convenient for team members to participate from home. Traditional office spaces and timings are making lesser sense to companies who encou age the work from home practice to harness the skills and talent available around the sworld.
These changes in work practices are influencing the choices that home buyers are making. Bangalore’s professionals are opting for homes where work-from-home experience is more than just a cramped desk in the corner of the guest bedroom. There are an increasing number of potential buyers who are seeking a home that enables work from home as a regular practice, rather than an after-thought. We are seeing the lines between living and working spaces blurring at a rapid rate. Apartment club houses are morphing into business centres where teams can work out of. On the other hand co-working spaces are incorporating living quarters. When it comes to apartments and villas, not only is this impacting the design, many real estate companies are looking at this as an opportunity to differentiate in a cluttered market. “Being professionals ourselves, we understand the need of today’s executive who is looking at a home office set up”, says Vivek Garg, Director of NVT Quality Lifestyle, an award winning villa specialist with projects in Sarjapura and Whitefield. “That’s why we’re creating living spaces with areas that have a workspace flavour to it”.
The aspirations of the executive are evolving and real estate offerings need to keep pace with it. This trend will affect choices made by both villa makers and villa buyers. We are poised at the beginning of the curve where age real estate companies are acknowledging the rising remote work trend and acting on it.
The designs of NVT Quality Lifestyle’s villa projects account for the fact that the home is likely to be a workspace. Here is how:
Quiet Zones in Villas: Desginated work space created on the last floor, the area ensures minimum noise disturbances from within as well as outside. Also, all uPVC windows from Germany aid a noise free environment to work freely
Fibre-optic cabling for high speed communication: High Speed Communication Networks with robust network of Fibre Optic cables in the community and all around the office space ensuring high speed network of voice and broadband
Floor Design of Work area: Spacious enough to let you manage office clutter and important documents without comprising on your family `s living spaces. Spaces that have potential to be scaled up to meet any short term workspace requirements- With another room facing the office space, gives a flexibility to scale up for any requirement
Networking with a Community of Like-Minded Professionals: The villa communities are becoming networking opportunities for likeminded professionals for career advancement, assistance, mentorship and growth
Randstad Survey on Work Practices: https://www.randstad.in/about-us/press-releases/press-releases/1-in-2-indian-employees-prefer-telecommuting-randstad-survey/ Data from 11 lakh trips conducted by MoveInSync, an office commute automation platform conducted in Q1, 2018 https://www.thehindu.com/real-estate/trends-in-commercial-real-estate/article24172628.ece