Pune: an emerging flex space hub in India

May 16, 2023 / By  

Co-working spaces or flex spaces in India have gone from being preferred by freelancers and small startups to becoming a choice of large corporates. They have evolved considerably in the last five to six years. Starting from a plug-and-play co-working set-up offering limited customisation to the users, operators nowadays are creating managed offices for MNCs with significant space requirements.

Over the years, the co-working sector has adapted to the changing trends, making it more attractive over a conventional office space. The growth of this sector was quite strong post-pandemic, with cities such as Pune emerging as significant co-working locations.

Pune witnessed remarkable growth in the flex space footprint. The share of co-working operators leasing office space in the city grew from 12% in 2017 to 31% in 2022. The flex space stock in Pune has grown from less than 1 million sq ft in 2017 (6.6% of the India flex space stock) to over 6 million sq ft in Q1 2023 (11.5% of the India flex space stock) – a 7.5X growth.

Figure 1: Share of co-working sector in the Gross Leasing Activity of Pune

Source: JLL Research, 1Q23

Figure 2: Pune’s share in India Flex Stock

Source: JLL Research, 1Q23

The pandemic altered the work culture of many companies as the concept of remote and hybrid working became popular. In times of uncertainty, companies were looking for a flexible work set-up that allowed them hassle-free scaling up or down, along with shorter lock-in periods compared to conventional offices. Another important factor that makes flex spaces attractive is that companies do not need to invest in capex involving fit-outs and other amenities.

Co-working operators are shifting towards providing a more tailor-made product to occupiers in the form of managed offices. Smartworks, Table Space, Indiqube, AWFIS and WeWork are among the top five co-working players currently operational in Pune, accounting for 62% of the total flex space stock in the city. Locations like Baner and Balewadi in West Pune have seen a striking growth in the flex space stock, followed by Viman Nagar and Kalyani Nagar in the East. Baner and Balewadi together make up around 35% of the total flex space stock in the city.

Figure 3: Distribution of Flex space stock in Pune

Source: JLL Research, 1Q23

Leasing of seats in flex spaces has seen tremendous growth in Pune in the last two years. In 2021, ~19,000 seats were leased in the city, which grew by 30% to ~25,000 seats in 2022. Most of this demand is driven by the IT sector, followed by manufacturing, industrial and consultancy businesses. There is an obvious acceptance of co-working set-ups by large corporates such as Google, which has opened its first office in Pune in a managed co-working space which will house over 1,300 employees. Pune has seen phenomenal growth in demand, and subsequently, we observe a robust supply of flex spaces, which is expected to continue growing in the future as well.

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