How workplace design helps retain talent in India

The emergence of managed spaces is changing the office designs in India, enabling a shift in the workplace culture that is driving workforce engagement.

March 07, 2024

Workplace strategies have been overhauled globally in terms of design, amenities and technology, with a significant focus on sustainability. The change draws heavily on co-working/flex spaces that are already noteworthy in India. Most major corporates in India are also linking modern work culture with collaborative workspaces.

The evolution

With changing work styles and requirements, workplace design strategies have shifted significantly. A key focus of the hybrid working model, which became widely acceptable post-pandemic, is the optimal utilisation of existing office space. The ample availability of cost-effective office design solutions has also provided corporates with lots of options in designing offices as per their needs, while keeping employee well-being at the centre.

Figure 1: Key Elements of Workplace Design

Source: JLL Research


Global firms are taking big strides in building a sustainable environment by reducing carbon emissions through green-rated buildings. The growth in green office assets in India has been tremendous, accounting for more than 50% of the total office stock of 810.5 million sq ft in 2023, compared to 38% in 2021. Institutional owners, large domestic landlords and real estate investment trusts (REITs) are also responsible for the increased share of green buildings.

Innovative design & amenities

In India, biophilic design that aims to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment is gaining popularity in office design. Integrating natural elements such as greenery, natural light and outdoor spaces has been proven to boost productivity and well-being among employees. The changing workspace dynamics and new ways of working have led to the introduction of more meeting rooms, cosy office furniture, seating pods and special conversation zones. All these factors play a major role in retaining the talent pool.

Additionally, the incorporation of natural ecosystems, composed of water bodies surrounded by other elements that blend indoor and outdoor spaces, such as courtyards, open-air atriums, and green plantations, also plays a significant role in attracting talent. Post-pandemic, the much-needed boost that managed workplaces have given to modern workplace design has encouraged corporates to rethink their workplace strategies.

While the operational footprint of flex space in the top seven cities in India was 20 million sq ft at the end of 2018, it grew almost three times in size to 53 million sq ft as of March 2023. This growth is largely driven by the rising demand for managed space.

Collaborative spaces

An open and collaborative work culture creates a sustainable environment and thereby boosts creative work through the exchange of ideas. Collaborative spaces are typically designed for town halls and event-specific gatherings.


The increasing use of technology is helping to create a distinctive work environment, with digital technology as an integral part of effective communication and team building, improving employee productivity. Technology is also important in creating office furniture, smart lighting solutions, room booking panels for dedicated meeting rooms, and smart lockers using smart cards.

Select corporates have created distinct workplaces through the use of new design concepts. For instance, select leading IT firms have offices with flexible workspaces, biophilic design elements, and wellness facilities like gyms and meditation rooms. Similarly, corporates from the banking sector have accommodated collaborative spaces, huddle rooms for quick meetings, and technology-enabled working bays.

While the move to modern sustainable workplaces is ongoing, the adaption to such places will be much more visible over the next few years. The evolution of managed workplaces is likely to bring a sea change to modern workplace design.