WeWork contributes Rs 6,788 cr of GDP across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore
Collaborative spaces – led by global giant WeWork’s expansion in India – are having a real impact on the concept of workspaces and therefore the economy. A new report assessing economic impact has outlined interesting insights that point to India’s work-life moving in a new direction.
Democratization of neighborhoods
Intensive urbanization and growing population density in a few areas have made the CBDs of metropolitan India practically inaccessible over the past two decades, especially in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. NITI Aayog foresees the growth of the Indian real estate sector to jump over fivefold to $650 billion by 2040. As commercial real estate become more expensive, flexible workspaces are democratizing access by reducing the prohibitive barrier of price. This is re-injecting vibrancy to these locations and enabling businesses and individuals to benefit from proximity to business areas. In fact, the report found that 76% of WeWork members in Mumbai, 74% in Bangalore, and 67% in Delhi and did not work in the neighborhood prior to joining WeWork.
This has also had an impact on associated activities in these areas; 9-15% of WeWork members have moved closer to the WeWork location since joining, especially in Bangalore where 1 in 4 (37%) members visit neighborhood restaurants, cafes and businesses daily. In Bangalore, the WeWork economy directly contributed INR 1,957 crore and in total supports INR 2,002 crore (INR 44 crore indirectly) of GDP in the city.
Mumbai comes next in terms of impact, where the WeWork economy directly contributed INR 1,692 crore of GDP and in total supports INR 1,737 crore (INR 45 crore indirectly) of GDP in the city. Economic contribution of WeWork in Delhi is the highest, where the WeWork economy directly contributed INR 2,986 crore of GDP and INR 62.7 crore indirectly, resulting in a whopping INR 3,049 crore GDP impact.
Knowledge workers, entrepreneurs are the biggest beneficiaries of co-working revolution
Growing automation is driving a shift towards knowledge work, and these contributors are the biggest beneficiaries of the growth of collaborative workspaces. Flexibility and low capital commitment helps encourage entrepreneurship, with 17% of Mumbai WeWork entrepreneur-members, for instance, pursuing their first startup project at WeWork.
Likewise, over 77% of WeWork members in Bangalore are in the innovation economy, and a fifth of WeWork member-entrepreneurs are taking the plunge to self-employment for the first time. In Delhi, 53% of members are in the innovation economy while 11% of entrepreneur-members are first-timers.
Flexible working correlated to the rise of women in leadership roles
The flexibility, access and convenience that collaborative workspaces offer have an impact on women rising to leadership positions, and India’s WeWork members are ahead of the curve.
Led by Mumbai, where a significant 41% of senior roles (executives, senior managers, managers and sole proprietors) are held by women, followed by Delhi (29%) and Bangalore (26%), India is far ahead of the rest of Asia, where the percentage is at 23%.
Companies grow faster with better collaboration, global access
Across cities, collaborative working has had a direct impact on company growth, with 65% members in Bangalore and 58% in Delhi stating that WeWork has helped accelerate growth. This is especially true among small and medium companies, who benefit from the national and international network of member companies, ease of collaboration and world-class infrastructure access. In fact, the average growth rate across SMB WeWork members in Bangalore is 25% compared to 4% for all companies in the city. The difference is even starker in Mumbai, where SMB WeWork members have grown at 37% on average compared to 2% for all companies in the financial capital.
Flexible workspaces more efficient, sustainable
Easier access to flexible workspace has also increased the viability of sustainable forms of commute, including walking, biking or public transport. In Bangalore and Mumbai, over half of WeWork members use sustainable public transit modes. Members also tend to switch from self-driving to sustainable public transit, with 15% in Bangalore and 25% in Mumbai reporting that they’ve done so since joining WeWork. In Delhi, over 60% of members use sustainable transit options and about 29% have given up polluting cars since joining WeWork.
Karan Virwani, Co CWeO WeWork India says, “WeWork as a community enables its members to collaborate with each other, which has led to the creation of efficiencies in terms of increased creativity, productivity at the workplace and innovation. This process has effects that go far beyond individual considerations as it also sparks the development and support of local communities, neighborhoods and businesses, a culture that we as an organisation look to actively imbibe, encourage and promote. This is true for WeWork across countries around the world and in India.”