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KOCHI: Though the office space market is hit hugely by the Covid pandemic, the coworking space providers are finding an increased demand for small spaces from corporates, who are scaling down their operations either temporarily or permanently in Kochi.

“We are getting nearly 25 inquiries every month from the corporates who want to move to our business centre. Corporates are finding it as an attractive solution to bring down their overheads. Also, if the economy is sluggish, they could move out of a business centre, without any liabilities,” said Monlash Business Centre chief executive Jackson Mathew. A British academic publishing house and the credit card division of one of the largest nationalized banks have decided to leave their own offices and move to Mathew’s business centre.

“This trend started just after the first wave of the pandemic, sometime in September,” said Centre A Offices director Joe Francis Alapatt, who introduced the concept of a premium business centre in Kochi. Since then, a French electrical giant and a German pressure-cleaner company moved to Alapatt’s business centre on MG Road.

A couple of the existing players have decided to scale up during the pandemic itself. During the third week of April, Incuspaze, a co-working space provider, added 500 seats at their Kakkanad facility, while Vistaara, a similar provider of managed office space, added 12,000 sq ft at their Cannon Shed Road facility.

Vistaara CEO P G Gopakumar said that two leading brands in the country — an airline and a credit-card company — moved to his facility, ditching their rented offices.

According to Mathew, the concept of business centre or coworking spaces is going to catch up further in Kochi market. “Now there are only five or six organized players in this segment and in the coming years, many might set up facilities here,” he said.

When asked whether the corporates are permanently scaling down their operations in Kochi, Incuspaze business partner Sanjay Chatrath said, “The corporates are not scaling down their operations; it is just that due to the pandemic the market has become a little vulnerable. This takes a toll on their businesses, due to which they turn towards coworking spaces to seek more flexible options. We all know the short-term commitments as well as the little investments needed in terms of commercial expenses in the coworking spaces. In such times, these factors make managed offices and coworking spaces a viable solution for several businesses. They provide easy scalability, offer flexible commitments, wider reach, and good facilities even in tier-2 cities”.



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