A combination of ‘work from home’ (WFH) and cost cutting has resulted in companies vacating up to eight lakh square foot of office space in IT parks in Chennai over the past 100 days.
While many companies are renegotiating rentals with developers, some others have vacated offices partially or fully. In 2019, Chennai registered an office space absorption of 5 million sqft. SaaS startup ChargeBee backed out after signing up for nearly 40,000 sqft of space at Brigade Vantage, Perungudi.
“We had plans to move into the new WTC (the Perungudi complex) that was to be ready by April, but it got delayed. We extended our lease with Brigade till the end of June,” said Krish Subramaniam, cofounder Chargebee. “We intend to move into a hybrid model of office plus remote setup in a few quarters when it is safe. We believe this situation has opened new possibilities of working from anywhere, and everyone is adapting to it,” he said.
Chargebee believes it can save up to 40% overall in the short term. “But as a growth stage company, we will reinvest the savings in talent,” said Subramaniam.
Unimoni Global Business Services, a money transfer and foreign exchange company, has vacated its nearly 83,000sqft office at DLF in Manapakkam, while Sutherland has surrendered its 55,000sqft office in Shriram Gateway (now called Xander) in Perungalathur. Auto parts maker Wabco has vacated a 46,000sqft office in RMZ at Taramani. Mails to Wabco and Sutherland went unanswered.
Online matchmaker Bharatmatrimony has vacated its offices at Adyar and MRC Nagar. “We have rationalised our offices as many employees are now on WFH mode and some have been relocated to other offices,” said Bharatmatrimony founder Murugavel Janakiraman. “We will opt for a hybrid model once things settle down.”
While the move is more from small IT companies and startups, sectors like warehousing, data centres and e-commerce companies have increased their interest in taking up more space. “While IT companies are figuring out which model suits them, we have a lot of inquiries from warehousing and e-commerce companies and some transactions may start happening soon,” said Srinivas Anikipatti, senior director, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Knight Frank.