Will realtors in the office space, go home if WFH becomes a lasting trend

30 Oct 2020  |   05:01am IST

Will realtors in the office space, go home if WFH becomes a lasting trend

Apart from ‘social distancing’, WFH or work from Home is the next most used phrase which has entered the COVID lexicon of our times. If this becomes a lasting trend, it will leave the office buying and rental market depleted. Café looks at how the WFH trend could make many ‘go home’

Ajit John

builders who have constructed buildings for corporates to occupy must be now
scratching their heads wondering who will buy the units up for sale. For many
corporate which can function with employees working from home, WFH has worked
to their advantageHowever,
for builders and realtors, this isn’t quite music to their ears. Most hope that
this trend will not last.Realtor
Desh Prabhudessai felt it was a stop gap arrangement.  A builder who has
been in the business for a couple of decades he has seen it all. He said “This
is a stop gap arrangement. I think this will last for a year at most. An office
is an office. I believe you cannot give full efficiency from home. Yes, if it
is a big corporate office for sale, then it will be a little difficult at this
point in time. My son is an architect and his staff can work occasionally from
home but even they have to coordinate so much with their colleagues for a
design. I have a construction company and work cannot be done from home. Give
it time, people will return to working from the office. No point in being
scared, the market will bounce back.”Chinmay
Borkar another realtor felt the trend had not hit Goa in a big way. He said “I
don’t think it had a big impact. In Goa we don’t have industries that require
you to work from home. Most of our businesses are in retail or office spaces
are occupied by businesses and professionals. Most of the people working from
home are those in the IT space or consultancies but how many of those do you
have in Goa. You have to also remember, internet services are not convenient,
so this work from home is a stop gap arrangement. I don’t think this is a
permanent trend.”Kulashekar
Kantipudi was a builder for several years and is now on a sabbatical but
intends to return to the business some day on his own terms. He said it was
obvious changes had happened and this was visible in the demand for three
bedroom flats with families now preferring to have an extra room where the
children could study or the parent could conduct his or her online meeting.
Builders were no longer thinking in terms of large projects, he said and this
was a result of the virus. There was anyway he said a large number of
commercial space lying empty in the state and this virus had not helped
matters.      Sunil
Datwani is another long time builder in the state who felt this trend would
have long term effects on the sale of commercial property. He said “The
employee can now sit at home and work and also keep an eye on his children and
his aged parents. He can manage his work life balance better. Yes, there are
days when he may have to work long hours but he or she does not mind that. The
employer does not mind it because, his operating costs have reduced
dramatically. No more high electricity bills or other sundry bills that come
from having an office. Everyone is happy in this equation except the builder.”
He felt the builders would have to think hard and come up with solutions like
offering space for restaurants or coffee shops with space for people who would
like to step out of home and work.  The office of the future he said would
be leaner and smarter.       Denzil Xavier is a long time real estate consultant in the
state. He said working from home was a necessity but was not the first choice
for employees or employers. This was due to necessity and a precaution against
the virus. He said “Employers decided to allow employers for the only reason it
worked very well with all restrictions for first few month. However productivity
reduced and enthusiasm also reduced. Employees are waiting to return to the
office. This will stay until we don’t have a cure.  After that everything
will get back to normal.  It is easier to have a corporate culture when
you are all in one place rather than scattered all over town”. Perhaps
the truth lies somewhere in the middle, with corporate perhaps shifting to
smaller offices with a large number of employees working out of home and some
staff working out of the office. This virus has changed everything and it will
be interesting to see how the situation evolves. 


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