While some tech companies are surrendering their office spaces partially or wholly, some others including financial services giant BNY and global electronics company KLA Tencor have signed up real estate deals during the lockdown to enhance their city presence.
Between April and August when the city was either fully or partially locked down due to Covid-19, more than 12.55 lakh square feet of office space has been lapped up, mostly by tech companies. While Omega Healthcare signed up for 41,000 square feet at Chennai One IT park, banking giant BNY pocketed 6.25 lakh square feet space at Embassy. Desi payments company NPCI and Nine Stars, too, joined the space hunt, sources said. BNY did not respond to a TOI questionnaire, but sources confirmed the deal,
“These are encouraging deals in the city. The companies, though mandated before the pandemic, decided to go ahead with the transactions, indicating their keenness to expand or set up operations in the city,” said Srinivas Anikipatti, senior director at real estate consultancy Knight Frank.
“While companies were talking about cost saving and productivity improvements due to work from home (WFH), creativity appears to have taken a back seat, our clients tell us,” he said. Real estate industry sources said that WFH is effective when it’s training related, but when its R&D or manufacturing design, collaboration with colleagues enhances quality. “Cost saving is from productivity and not quality. We will get to see return to campuses or a hybrid model. This full WFH may not work in the long run” sources said.
“These deals indicate that there is nothing to panic, as earlier thought. Since January nearly 2.2 million square feet has been absorbed and we may end 2020 with 4.2 to 4.3 million square feet. (In 2019 Chennai absorbed 5.8 million square feet) ,” said Rajesh Babu, Chief Consultant, at real estate consultancy Asset Advise.