residential flats in lucknow

Future of work and home spaces

We are on a long road to recovery from the initial disruption created by the pandemic. It, however, is sure that not everything will go back to how it was pre-Covid. Somethings would have, perhaps, changed their character forever.

Future of work and home spaces
Future of work and home spaces

The lockdown brought a huge change to the workplace. Work from home (WFH) became the norm rather than exception. As per estimates from industry experts more than 90% of 4.3 million IT workforce worked from home during lockdown. And it seemed to have worked well, contrary to the early skepticism. The best part is that both the employee and the employer seem to be happier with this arrangement. While increased productivity warmed the hearts of employers, employees enjoyed flexible working hours and savings in commute time.

Learning from IT industry’s early moves, other industries also started to figure out ways of getting a portion of workforce WFH without disrupting the work ethics. Employers also saw it as an opportunity to reduce infrastructure and administrative costs. Conferences and meetings went online, helping save critical and expensive commute and helping organisations take swift decisions. Also, employees could be close to families during these uncertain times, especially when kids were home due to school closure. And there has been a vast acceptance of these methods. Even the courts in the country, started using video conferencing as a viable medium to do hearing. 

WFH also helped companies to tap into a pool of talent, which was not available earlier. There were instances when employees were not willing to move places, resulting in shortage of talent of a particular type. But with WFH becoming a norm, this has no more remained a challenge. Also, people who left their homes, leaving ageing parents behind, for a better life, could now shift back and be next to their parents without affecting the work. This means very special for women, who had to sacrifice their careers for commitments at home, suddenly finding new opportunities.

Another defining aspect of the pandemic induced work innovations has been a realization by employers in industries other than IT, that remote work for a large proportion of people in every industry is possible. As organizations tried it under compulsion and found it working, it is expected to become a regular feature going forward. This should result in continuation of these measures as it works well for both the employees and employers. There was an announcement by Deutsche bank with a plan to have almost 40% of its workforce working from home permanently.

However, there has been a flip side to WFH also. It is yet to be ascertained as to the impact it will have on employee morale and loyalty over a longer period of time. The lack of physical contact will affect the ability to group work, ideate and solve complex challenges. This feeling of isolation could also affect the mental well-being and may play havoc with self-confidence of sensitive employees. As non-verbal part of the communication is not possible, the exchange in certain situation could turn unhealthy. We can already hear employees complaining about unstructured and long hours of work affecting their life in multiple ways.

The problem, in fact, extends beyond the mental well-being. The bedrooms and living rooms are being converted to make-shift offices, which is an interference of work life into personal space. Most of the houses in India are cramped and don’t have appropriate office furniture, which may lead to health issues. As personal life is intruded into, a lot of employees and their families may find this experience awful. The ambient noise, at times, create embarrassing situations for individuals and trying to hide from it could result in employees not being at their normal self. Also, a large set of people have an extremely casual approach to work, when in a relaxed setting, which may be off-putting for colleagues in the work group. 

What then is the future of WFH in India? Basis the cost reduction it offers to employers, there will be an increased traction to continue and enhance Work from home. A large proportion of employees on other hand are already feeling weariness of this change and may like to resume the normal office functioning at the earliest possible opportunity. Multitude of work in offices, including the IT corporations, require more than one teams and employees to work together on a problem. Their synchronization has been critical for organizational success. Keeping this and other factors in mind, most of the organizations may be forced to resume operations like pre-covid times, once the scare is over. However, a good solution can be blended office – working from home on specific days and working at office on other days. This could be a winning solution if proper planning with thorough understanding of each role.

This new way of thinking will also result in paradigm shift in other industries. Real Estate industry is the one that is expected to feel this change the most. The market for office sales and rentals may face upheaval in short term. On the other hand, residential developments in emerging and new locations may see an uptick in demand. Challenges of working and managing office work from cramped spaces will force people out of their homes in busy localities to look for new and larger homes increasing the transactions. The noisy buildings located next to a street as standalone building, will lose charm and large complexes away from main road offering less noisy surroundings will gain prominence. It will not be a surprise to see larger homes or apartments with an extra room getting into favor, when compared with smaller homes. The locations with good IT infrastructure will also find more buyers. Also, with travel and other expenses down, the ability of an employee to pay the EMI amount would increase substantially, giving him the confidence to invest in a bigger apartment.

As the impact of WFH becomes clearer, we will know the way it impacts various industries. One thing, however, is sure, that the housing real estate industry is sure to see its best days. The focus will also shift from purely affordable housing to apartment complexes located away from hustle bustle of busy market areas. The large township projects will be in vogue and certainly score over small city centric developments.

Lucknow housing market – Opportunity for investors and end-users

Lucknow is capital city of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India. Lucknow is always known as the cultural hub of north India and is also fast emerging as the biggest commercial hub of North India outside of Delhi NCR region. The infrastructural facilities in the city rival the best in the country in all aspects. It is the safest town in Uttar Pradesh with state-of-the-art policing protecting its residents. The medical facilities available in the City both in public as well as in private sector promise to protect people of the city from any eventuality. Lucknow city weaves a magic encapsulating traditional ambience with Rapid and ambitious futuristic growth. This unique blend of culture with social infrastructure defines the charm of the city and entices large swathes of population to make it their home every year.

Lucknow housing market – Opportunity for investors and end-users

While Lucknow has always been known for its culture, it has witnessed some of the best developments in last one decade. The ubiquitous metro rail covering the serpentine lanes below has a place of pride and convenience. The expanded airport connecting its citizenry to destinations across the world has opened the gateway to commercial centers of the world, while the newly constructed expressway connects this airpot to the pockets of commercial excellence within the city. The modern highway to Agra, connecting further to Delhi gives wings to the ambitions of ever-so-eager entrepreneurs from the city. The health infrastructure here stands shoulder to shoulder with any city in the world, what with Sanjay gandhi post graduate institute leading the medical facilities in this part of the world. The private investment has reposed its faith in these initiatives and contributed to creation of job opportunities in different sphere. The swanky complexes of IT companies stand a testimony to these efforts. While Lucknow has never been a manufacturing hub with that title belonging to its twin city Kanpur, the new age industries are finding an elevation to their pitch here.
Lucknow of yore was dotted with flea markets, but the new buzzing Lucknow challenges the hegemony of traditional retail centers with the giant shopping complexes that balance the nawabi charm and the poetic humdrum with the hustle and bustle of modern busy life, ever so delicately. The Atal bihari Vajpayee international cricket stadium has added to the charm and utility, occasionally acting as a magnet to the city. Quality education is another pillar that has supported the residents of this boom-town in achieving their dreams. From foundation schools to a world class university bringing out the best in its students, the city embraces students from all nationalities and faith and gives them the values that highlight their achievements years later.

The thriving economy and an ambitious middle class population has resulted in this city growing. No wonder then, that it has reported to have one of the highest growth in disposable income in the country in a decade. Exposure to modern life style and a high disposable income has upped the propensity to invest for a better way of life. Residents of adjoining towns and cities and also from rest of Uttar Pradesh always invested in Lucknow city. The state being an agrarian rich region, has seen the incomes going up in small towns and cities, resulting in citizens looking for better life-style and therefore heading to Lucknow. A home in Lucknow is a matter of pride for anybody living in any part of of eastern Uttar Pradesh. It has become more so in recent times as both the business as per the job opportunities give fast in this city. Earlier Kanpur used to be the business hub with Lucknow the Cultural Centre, but now Lucknow holds both these titles.

Lucknow has also seen significant political stability for almost A decade now. It has helped the infrastructure projects to complete in time and the town to grow in a planned manner. Private developers of national and international repute have also launched various residential and commercial projects in the city with world class amenities and architecture. This has also enticed old residents of the city living in crowded and less developed localities to buy a home and live in modern housing societies. Therefore, while most of the urban centers in India have struggled to maintain the speed of sales of houses and the prices, Lucknow real estate market has seen a consistent growth, both in terms of price appreciation and number of units sold. Localities like Gomti Nagar and Kanpur Road have seen significant traction from buyers. A lot of these projects which were launched a few years back have been completed and residents have shifted in. This has further boosted the confidence of end-users to invest in new properties. This, in turn, has offered incremental returns on investments for investors and therefore they keep flocking to various projects.

Other factors which have influenced this trend are – availability of land within a reasonable distance from City Centre, relatively low cost of construction and availability of comparatively cheap labour. This has enabled the developers to offer excellent propositions to buyers within their budget. Buying a property in Delhi NCR have continued to be unaffordable for a middle class buyer and the same customer finds excellent choices at affordable price points of between 40 and 70 lacs here. Lucknow city has seen multiple large investments in the real estate housing sector and it is expected to continue to see the same going forward as people across the cities restart their life after the pause due to covid-19.

Lucknow housing market is expected to see hectic activity, as people are looking to stay near the places where educational and medical facilities offered meet the word standard. The availability of ever increasing employment opportunities makes Lucknow even more attractive. The administrative reforms initiated by the present government in last two years have started yielding results making the Civic infrastructure in Lucknow reach newly developing localities. Lucknow reality market is slowly turning into the proverbial gold pot for the investors and the best place to live in for the end user.

Urbanisation – Opportunity for smart growth

Countries like India are witnessing a very fast migration of population from rural areas to urban areas. It is also showing in the reducing weightage of agriculture in the GDP. This has been a phenomena observed worldwide – today’s developed world had seen it in the middle of last century coinciding with the industrial revolution. There are lessons to be learnt from those examples and plan for it in advance. Communities across country will be compelled to adopt technologies and processes keeping this reality in perspective.

With more and more of population living in cities, urbanization is bringing in significant changes to social and economic structure of these. It’s also exerting significant pressure on infrastructure and resources and potentially opening the door to urban catastrophe if prior planning is not done. At the same moment, it gives local governments an opportunity to plan and correct the infrastructural and social disparities of past.
If cities don’t work for entrepreneurs, employers, and citizens in the same breath, then the related flows of trade, technology, infrastructure and employment will be squeezed. Creating a master plan of fast growing cities, taking into account also the rural areas that it is likely to swallow, is just the first step. If administrations can harness data-driven intelligence to identify appropriate opportunities and priorities and create a smart plan it will ensure an equitable and futuristic development. Another opportunity which this phenomena offers is to get the data of all the various departments to talk to each other through smart algorithms and use it to create a seamless urban perspective. It will help in deploying predictive services ensuring right services to the right population group, at the right time.

Latching on to this idea, a number of cities, ably pushed by central government, have started working to create smart cities, though with varying understanding. Some look at it as use of technology to optimize the urban infrastructure and traffic flow. Others look at it as a push towards initiating smart governance, where policy making is more driven by data and logic and oriented towards its citizens. Some technologically advanced administrators are planning to use Internet of Things (IoT) platforms to monitor city infrastructures, which means managing everything from traffic flows and parking to water and air quality through centrally controlled and data driven approach. Data generated thus, can be used to further enhance environmental sustainability and creation of renewable energy resources.

Most urban centers in India are struggling with a creaking infrastructure and legacy planning issues. Therefore, this opportunity to reorient and plan for fast urbanisation opens new roads to set it right. A data based smart planning will help orient cities around a couple of central themes and can deliver a citizen-centric development. The planning for employment opportunities, future patterns of flow of people and more equitable social development will set these cities on a growth path. If we miss this opportunity now, our cities will end up being chaotic masses which will be a social and economic disaster. The choice between a smart growth and an urban mess is to be made now.

Home buyers’ expectations in post Covid era

Corona virus pandemic has affected every aspect of our life. We are forced to spend more time indoors than outdoors. A lot of people have to manage their offices from home while children attend their online classes from the next room. This has created unique situations and new requirements. Homes becoming the center of all activities have resulted in being seen as alternative locations for doing many more things which were not considered earlier. Homeowners are now looking at shifting to a new and bigger home or buying another small home in the same project/ floor depending on how have they been affected during this time.

The pandemic forced people to make changes to their lifestyle and to their home designs as much as possible. However, everyone has realised that buying a home with an extra room is a better decision than to cut a size. This has also been aided by historically low interest rates and low housing prices. Homeowners looking out to buy houses are looking more for 3 BHK or spacious 2BHK houses than the smaller 2BHK ones which were the best selling earlier. It can be expected that buyers will look for buying homes with spacious designs and larger room sizes. Independent floors, villas and penthouses are expected to be back in vogue. A number of home-owners may also look for buying a second home within the same project, which can be used as a makeshift office under similar situations.

Buyers are also expected to look to buy homes which make living in them more relaxing. Larger balconies and outwardly facing home designs rather than apartments looking into each other will be more in demand even, if these will be a bit costlier. As everyone settles down and adjust to these new realities where even leisure activities will be inside one’s home, buyers will be willing to pay extra for well designed units with good circulation plans.
The preference for amenities is also expected to change fast. If a buyer has to choose between a Jacuzzi and an air-conditioned gym vs. open air sports and gym facilities, buyers are expected to prefer latter over former. Buyers are also likely to select a project basis the kind of amenities available. A simple and functional format where there are shops meeting daily requirements will be preferred over provision of a café or restaurants. A large green with multiple sitting and exercise options will top the list of a prospective home buyer.

Location of the project will also be scrutinised more than ever. A project location that avoids areas which are congested will be preferred even if it is a bit away from city center. The areas with good health care facilities and sanitation infrastructure will command a premium. As customers will be more concerned about their well being, they will prefer housing societies with good housekeeping facilities, even if it means paying a higher maintenance charge.

As all of us get more aware of our health, home buyers will be keen to ensure they understand each related aspect with respect to shortlisted projects before they buy a home. It may mean some extra cost, which will not be a constraint. Functionality of amenities rather than style will be in demand.