Office space.. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, April 14 : Demand for office space has declined in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19, as leasing volumes plunged by 30-35 per cent in January-March, according to an Anarock report.

The report, however, noted that the prospects of commercial office leasing for 2022 is positive, going by the recent-past hiring trends of large IT/ITeS firms which will spur office space demand.

The second Covid-19 wave coupled with extended work from home period may further prolong office leasing recovery in India, it said.

Anarock Property Consultants Director & Head of Research Prashant Thakur said: "The top four Indian IT/ITeS firms - TCS, Infosys, HCL and Wipro - alone hired around 42,000 employees in the first nine months of FY 2021. Also, multinational majors Cognizant and Capgemini hired nearly 39,500 employees in CY 2020, with bulk hiring plans for CY 2021." He said that they plan to hire about 23,000 and 30,000 employees, respectively, in 2021 and many other IT firms are on a hiring spree amid acceleration in their overall business post the pandemic.

As per Anarock, the hiring spree bodes well for overall office space demand in 2022 and 2023, with the gradual return of normalcy coupled with the newly-added workforce.

"The IT/ITeS sectors are among the prime drivers of overall leasing activity in the top cities. Bulk hiring by these firms will influence the demand for large quality office spaces," the report said.

Despite increased flexibility and rostered work timings, firms will need to adopt de-densification measures to accommodate the new social distancing norms and increased health measures, it said.

The per-employee space requirement is likely to increase from 80 square feet space during pre-pandemic times to at least 120-130 square feet per employee post Covid-19, it added.

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