The Next Frontiers in Flexible Working – OfficingNow leads the way
OfficingNow:The frontrunner pioneering the convergence of Real Estate, Technology and Enterprise Productivity. Helping Professionals and Enterprises to ‘Work Smart and Move ON’
The technology advancements, being at full tilt have kindled the dawn of a new era; an epoch of innovation that has made the world a better place to live in for the entire human race. This breakneck progress has revamped the global entrepreneurial landscape having pushed creative and enterprising minds to come up with brilliant ideas that have significantly transformed our existence on this planet. With a number of food delivery companies at our disposal, we can have the food we desire home delivered in like ten minutes. We don’t need our own car to travel places; we have Uber serving us 24×7 at low costs taking care of our end to end transportation needs. Enjoying a home like experience while on tour was a dream few years ago; which has now become true with a service like Airbnb. It’s remarkable how imaginative application of technology is redefining people’s experiences all over the world. OfficingNow, one of such innovators and pioneers, is an avantgarde concept, first of its kind in India that aims to not only cater to ever evolving needs of Office usage but define a new normal amidst the paradigm shifts taking place in corporate working. It is an online platform that brings together seekers and providers of flexible working spaces and the entire ecosystem of service providers with an aim of enhancing productivity for organizations. The idea is Officing anytime, anywhere and anyhow for anyone.
Globalization propelled by accelerated rate of developments in technology has not only disrupted markets but also deeply impacted how office operations are performed. Business cycles have become shorter; which entails a drastic change in work habits and the demographics and structure of the workforce. Those times have gone when business owners would get an office to run an organization for entire lifecycle of business that would take years. Rapidly developing economies give rise to headlong competition among businesses in the market. To stand out, organizations need to keep growing and transforming in order to compete. The demand has surfaced for such spaces which could evolve with a business. Traditional concept of Office is not able to meet the requirements of growing businesses that eventually have to struggle with managing business operations and services within the space they have. This has created a wide gap.
“You spend a few hours or days in choosing an office, but Make a career working from the same place.”
Leveraging technology to its best, OfficingNow fills this gap having spearheaded a flexible working revolution that sweeps the entire nation offering space as a service and a productivity tool. The privileges of the concept are remarkable enough to not only appeal to independent workers, entrepreneurs and start-ups; but, it’s also being eyed by large corporates for its noteworthy capabilities boosting employee productivity at much reduced costs. It keeps the needs of the working professional at the core so that all of them could be taken as a basic hygiene factor and he could focus on the task in hand and be more productive, thus giving a frictionless workplace experience. Dedicated proactively towards empowering corporates and professionals, the core team strictly adheres to development of efficient procedures and user interfaces that would serve all aspects of workspace management. During a conversation with Startup City, Mr.MandeepBakshi – Founder & Managing Director at OfficingNow speaks about the firm’s mission and vision, “Our vision is to become the defacto standard of the new normal, where all the stake holders – space users, space providers and third party service providers seamlessly interact with and amongst each other on a single platform to create value for their enterprises. We intend to do this by innovatively deploying technology to create synergies between space related services and productivity enhancing and people oriented applications. Our mission is to free the worker of bondage that a fixed commitment to an office space brings by offering workspaces on demand. We see office space transforming from a fixed asset on the balance sheet locking up valuable capital to a variable cost on the P & L – evolving along with the business and in fact becoming a productivity tool rather than a cost or an asset to be managed.”
The monumental journey
The ideation of a concept as unique as OfficingNow started much before its birth as an organization in January, 2015 in Mumbai. The company is the brainchild of Mr.MandeepBakshi, a veteran professional from IIM Lucknow with expertise in domains as diverse as Sales & Business Development, Marketing, Operations and Business strategy. His profound career encompasses proven record of success in transforming businesses in established, turnaround and start-up environments across a range of verticals namely Real Estate, Retail, Telecom & Consumer Goods. Speaking of what sparked his entrepreneurial journey, he shares, “The Entrepreneurial bug bit me very early during my formative years in the Cradle of Enterprise city of Ludhiana. Having spent more than two decades in the corporate world always on the lookout for the Big Idea, I could well identify the changes happening all around. I could see more and more organizations facing a myriad of challenges with management of workspaces to an extent where it became difficult for them to focus on their core business. During my search for best possible solutions, I got to be aware about the fact that, apart from conventional offices & Business Centers, a lot of spaces were available to be put in use and owners were looking for new ways to monetize their spaces. Scanning the technology world, it was increasingly becoming evident that breakthroughs in technology could be utilized very innovatively to facilitate, not onlyinteraction between space users and providers, but to enhance productivity and service delivery at the workplace during the usage itself. A disruption was waiting to happen. Backed by my Family and Friends, this finally landed me on the thought of creating an online platform.”
“Thoughtful Fusion of Digital and Physical experiences at the workplace driven by customer insights is how we look at making working fun and productive.”
To reflect the soul of the concept, the name and the logo of the company was thoughtfully chosen – OfficingNow emphasizes that Officing is a continuous and a continuing activity as against the conventional notion of one time acquisition of a physical office. Now in italics reflects the immediacy and speed required in the decision making with respect to the space & service mix. Similarly the logo also reflects the 360 degree coverage of the workplace needs and the arrow symbolizing forward motion after achieving the goal. A professional is not just working but is officing. Sticking to that approach, the company’s mission is to be with the enterprise at every step of its Office usage journey. Looking from this perspective, It opens up a huge and wide array of possibilities; whether he wants to add more people and expand the workspace, extend or curtail period of usage or wants to have some amenities as well as needs some add on services. Moreover, he should be able to get a space as and when he wants, for the duration he wants with the services he wants, and in the process converts his fixed cost of an office into variable cost and get the best value out of his investments. OfficingNow offers the platform to just do that and unshackle the enterprise and professional from the “fixed-ness” of a physical infrastructure. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of opportunity in this space.
The journey began with the search for inventories and space partners to be listed on the site. The aggregation didn’t take much time and the workspaces were showcased soon. A startup with a new idea needs to get the word out to its right audience. Hence, the company took some initiatives for publicity through digital marketing and through word of mouth referrals. To the team’s surprise the response was phenomenal. The feedback from customers’ visits revealed the effectiveness of the concept in terms of time and cost saving. “While exploring the training spaces, I felt OfficingNow is a great place to search affordable training locations. We will definitely consider it for our future needs” said Ramesh Sona of GE Appliances. “They seemed to be very relieved thinking about that they won’t have to travel to many places to look for what they want”, adds Mr.Bakshi.
What makes an entrepreneurial journey more remarkable is that it is evolutionary and every experience brings a lot of learning. In this case too, the journey was developmental with persistent progress in design and development of services towards making them more convenient to the user. All the activities of the entire Officing journey were initially disintermediated and broken down into categories and then improvisation on each of them is being carried out, one at a time. Citing one such experience that marked a turning point in the initial phase, Mr.Bakshi shares, “When the company was at a nascent stage, we came across few experiences which helped us identify customer’s needs better. One of our assumptions was that people will adopt to technology interfaces veryfast and do away high touch activities of visiting spaces and negotiating. But, what we learnt from studying the behavior of over 1,30,000 online users of our platform was that while they appreciated and extensively used our technology platform, they still desired to visit the space or speak to a knowledgeable expert before making a final commitment. They also insisted on being supported during the period of usage. Their concern was very high on productive use of the space – much higher than cost of the space or any other factor.” Aparna Nair, who drives Operations and Relationships says, “We then focused more on our customer facing touch points, both online and offline, and started providing on the go and during usage support through our OWCs (Online Workplace Consultants) who are available 24×7 to help clients at any stage of their office search and usage.”
“Our Venue Partner Dashboard is designed to improve Space Provider’s productivity in managing their inventory and occupants from the comfort of a desktop or mobile device.”
While Customer Centricity is at the soul of OfficingNow, Technology is the back bone that is making it possible to provide value to all participants on the platform at every stage. “For us, Technology must solve a real world and real time problem in a scalable manner and add value by either saving cost, time or by delighting the user by fulfilling a hitherto unmet need” says Mr.Bakshi. This thinking permeates the entire organization. ShaileshSaverdekar, CTO and Co-promoter says, “We are continuously scanning developments in Technology space and deploying them innovatively towards meeting customer needs. We are geared to leverage advancements at the cutting edge in Cloud Technology, Automation, Big Data & AI and IOT to redefine processes and value to our Venue & Service Partners and our Enterprise Customers such that they are free to focus on the core of their business and for their Officing needs – there is OfficingNow”.
OfficingNow’s grand portfolio takes care of diverse user needs like Self working, Team Working, Conferences, Board Meetings, Trainings, Business Events, Project works, Workshops. It offers traditional offices, business centers, co-working spaces, training spaces, conference rooms as well as meeting rooms on hourly, daily and monthly basis. The engagement models have been categorized and defined as per clients’ suitability. Placing an array of choices at clients’ disposal, OfficingNow serves a great value for Startups, Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Corporates, SMES, Home workers, Travelling Business Executives and NGOs. On the suppliers’ front, it also enables educational institutions as well as large corporates to share their vacant spaces and monetize the opportunity besides a broad spectrum of real estate providers to list their spaces. To bestow a great and smooth user experience, the procedures have been kept transparent and simplified. Customers visit website and search for spaces; they book and then complete the transaction. Once onboard, the team stands as a great support to ensure a wonderful experience to clients throughout the course of their journey. OfficingNow is rapidly becoming the Hyper Market of Ready to Use Workspaces
“Customer centricity and innovative use of cutting edge technology is at the core of our value proposition.”
In a short span of three years, OfficingNow has hit several milestones that have made this journey stellar. With over 5 lac page views and over 1.3 lac online users, the firm thrives as the most preferred destination for workspace search & Usage Support in India. It boasts the widest network across Pan India; which is already gone beyond double of any large fixed shared space provider. Having collaborated with 360 venue partners,the firm has successfully established its footprints in 34 cities spread over 36 million square feet of workspaces aggregated across 2500 inventories. It has assembled an extraordinary seating capacity of 60000 that is worth 7 billion.
“We at OfficingNow strongly believe that the next-gen enterprises will do away with fixed workspaces as we today know and will need Thinkspaces that allow them to collaborate, brainstorm and interact while continuing to work from anywhere and anytime.”
The firm has been entrusted by nearly 350 leading entities across diversified industries and this has led to building a star studded clientele. Yeh China started its Mandarin Teaching classes in 2015 by taking classrooms and offices thru OfficingNow. Three years later they have spread across multiple cities without investing a single Rupee in long term leasing or renting classrooms. A True Example of converting High Fixed cost Real estate cost into a business variable. Many more stories like this can be heard when you speak to the team at OfficingNow. Some of the other corporates and SMEs who have used OfficingNow are GE Appliances, Bajaj Electricals, Carl Zeiss, TLC, Tech Mahindra, Urban Clap, J JImpex, Nucleus Commercial Finance, Maverick, Fantonn Media, Mesco, and many more. On the supply side, it has listed and provided clients to well-known Shared Space Operators like Awfis, EFC, Access Serviced Offices, iPlexiKeva, WorkSquare, Regus, Workamp and many more. The firm receives massive appreciation for its commendable job in each and every assignment it handles. The ground breaking features such as Zero Touch & Assisted booking, time and cost efficient processes, backed by uncompromising commitment to service has won customer loyalty with more than two thirds of business already coming thru repeat and loyal customers.
Proactive, Productive and Progressive Work culture
The foundation of OfficingNow is laid on the pillars of customer centricity, team work, innovation and work ethics based on strong core values of honesty, integrity, transparency and problem solving approach. The company resorts to scanning the latest developments in technology and enterprise productivity domains and picking the ones for adoption that stand a good chance of solving real problems of its customers and venue partners. The work environment encourages proactive thinking, experimenting with technologies, benchmarking and extensive use of data for the development of critical strategies and decisions. Standing at the vanguard of innovation and industry best practices, the company envisages leading the space by anticipating newer workspace needs and opportunities and moving fast to provide solutions that work. However, the offerings remain wrapped in human touch to connect well with clients and fulfil their needs efficaciously. Expounding about the mantra that drives organizational growth and success, Mr.Bakshi says, “We see ourselves as always Thinking Big yet remaining a customer centric organisation looking to do things and activities that maximise our clients’ officing experience; supporting them at every stage- when they need, for aslong as they need, wherever they need, howsoever they need”.
The very essence of employee culture at OfficingNow lies in its positivity, loyalty and commitment to work. Employees get to work in an atmosphere that empowers them with the freedom to perform their best in their own ways bringing new ideas which are monitored under the guidance of the expert core team. Failures for them are experimen-tations; this boosts their creativity and productivity further grooming them to deal with critical challenges. Speaking of his perception of failure, Mr.Bakshishares,”I always encourage my team to keep innovating and accept the failures that come your way as a stepping stone to building the right solution. As long as effort has been put and homework is done well, there’s an assurance that things would work out. However, what turns out to be a tough nut to crack is predicting the market response. The process of experimen-tation has to go on to get things right; and once you get things right market rewards you with acceptance. If there is something that we revere more than anything else – it is customer feedback and hard data. For us it is not about physical or digital experiences – it is about fusing them in a manner that works and if solution gets adopted with minimal effort – that’s absolute validation of our efforts.”
“Through quick and fast aggregation on our platform our goal is to become the largest provider of Workspaces and Enterprise services”
Unfolding the future
The success and achievements that adorn and glorify OfficingNow’s magnificent portfolio have already opened avenues for global leadership in this landscape. “We have been able to build the widest network pan India without investing much in marketing. We take pride in the fact that our footprints are larger than any other organized service provider. All the same, we are not complacent about where we’ve reached. For us the journey has just begun. We must keep doing the good work in perpetuity and stay inclined to our motive.” The company has been following a strategic roadmap to achieve a consistent growth towards ensuring sustainable leadership. The planning for growth encompasses aggregation of more and new types of workspaces. The coming financal year is assured to witness broad expansion with the company penetrating into the fixed and long tenure workspace segment aggressively offering the widest choice of workspaces accompanied with bouquet of support services and with the aggregation mantra of ‘YahanNahin to kahinnahin’. Adding more to the growth plans, Mr.Bakshi briefs, “At some stage, we will want to take our platform to address overseas customers; meeting the workspace needs of those visiting India and Indians travelling overseas.”