WFH leads to surge in demand for office furniture rentals: Industry experts

Corporates and independent consumers are renting ergonomic curated products to make working from home more efficient, especially in metro cities, resulting in surge in furniture rentals, according to industry players.

Work-from-home (WFH) has become a norm since the nationwide lockdown in last week of March and is expected to continue till the foreseeable future due to social distancing norms, making it stressful for working professionals as most are not equipped with comfortable office furniture, Fabrento founder Sidhant Lamba told PTI.

"As soon as Unlock 1.0 was announced in June, we got a huge number of queries for desks for WFH and our desks were soon sold out and we had to immediately manufacture new ones.

"There is a high demand for desks and comfortable chairs. Some people are also opting for rentals for recliners as well as home appliances," Lamba said.

Purchasing a new luxury furniture may not be a viable option for many, and furniture rental subscriptions are a secure and convenient way of setting up a temporary office at home, he said.

The concept of renting furniture for a particular period is being welcomed by employees as well as many companies, Lamba said.

"Hence, this trend has created a large new opportunity for us as we can manufacture and customise for these companies to provide a better office solution to their employees at their homes," he added.

Many companies have also tied up with Fabrento for providing comfortable office set up to their employees, Lamba said.

Headquartered in Delhi, Fabrento is a start-up, backed by the Continental Group (a multinational group with over 60 years of industry experience), operating in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Pune.

According to a recent survey by Knight Frank, more than 70 per cent of companies are likely to continue with WFH policy for a percentage of their total staff for the next six months to maintain social distancing and for business continuity.

Company productivity has not been affected due to the forced WFH arrangement since the lockdown, it added.

According to market players, the concept of furniture rental began in 2011, but took off in 2013 with few start-ups, mainly in tier I cities, catering to mobile young professionals.

Meanwhile, City Furnish founder and CEO Neerav Jain said the company has witnessed 40 per cent increase in demand for WFH solutions like study tables and chairs, both of which have been in huge demand post-lockdown as companies continue to encourage their employees to WFH because of the pandemic.

City Furnish is an online rental marketplace for furniture, furnishings, appliances and fitness equipments,

Furniture categories which are in demand currently are mostly WFH essentials, and it is expected to grow as more and more people realise this situation is here to stay for some more time and requires comfortable set-up at home, Jain said.

Besides, demand for home appliances and basic furniture categories like comfortable beds and recliners is also showing positive signs, he added.

The companies which are providing these facilities to their employees are usually multi-nationals or conglomerates, he said.

"We have observed that a part of the demand is being fuelled by employees setting up home offices because it is sponsored.

"With people living in small compact apartments, we have always been prepared with products matched to provide comfort and ensure that space is not a constraint to any individual or family," Jain added.

Staffing agency CIEL's HR Services Director and CEO Aditya Mishra told PTI that for better productivity, companies have resorted to incentivising their employees either to rent or purchase ergonomic furniture to suit their needs.

"In many cases, companies are utilising their capital expenditure to set up comfortable offices with ergonomic curated products for their employees at their homes either through rentals or purchase. This resulted in a huge surge in demand for office furniture set up at homes after Unlock 1.0 began," he added.

These incentives are mainly offered by large multinational companies, IT, consumer products and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) companies, mostly in tier-I cities, by either full or part sponsoring of furniture, Mishra said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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