As software companies push their work-from-home model beyond the immediate response to the Covid-19 pandemic, when it had become imperative, techies may choose to move into less congested areas, encouraged by expanding metro connectivity, and away the city’s technology hubs such as Mahadevapura, Whitefield, Electronic City, Bellandur and Sarjapura.
Apartments and plots have commanded a premium in these areas precisely because they have been the first choice for developers planning new residential projects.
Developers will respond with new strategies after waiting for a few more months to see whether the work-from-home culture will catch up and spread among technology companies, sources in the real estate sector said. In the weeks following the lockdown, Bengaluru’s IT services industry began shifting from campuses to homes, with about 85% of its workforce working from home currently, even as industry leaders said it would significantly alter the way services are delivered.
India’s largest IT employer TCS has already indicated that three-fourths of its nearly 5,00,000 employees will work remotely by 2025.
Bengaluru makes up for the largest share of India’s export in software services.
This approach of software firms, which has already met with some degree of success, may eventually lead to some equitable development of the city, experts said, as people move into the periphery seeking better standards of living and lower costs.
“The stretch between Central Silk Board to KR Puram in Bengaluru may look deserted if work-from-home picks up and succeeds as a serious work culture,” said V Madhu, who headed the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation, and years later, a private budget housing firm. “The plots of land on either side of this road has been one of the favourite picks for developers.”
Kishore Jain, the Bengaluru president of real estate developer body Credai, said people would move into less congested areas only if the government moves to improve infrastructure there. For instance, on Kanakapura Road in the south of Bengaluru, the metro rail network is reaching beyond the city limits, and this type of transit-oriented development would benefit a large number of people, driving real estate investments as well, he added.
According to Madhu, who also headed Karnataka’s infrastructure development department for some time, the government should make haste in encouraging development of socioeconomic infrastructure like schools, supermarkets and malls within 6-10 km radius of metro terminals like Challaghatta, Gottigere and Bommasandra.
“The government should revisit its development plan for Bengaluru, align it with changing urban dynamics and encourage private players to participate in creating necessary infrastructure in areas around metro terminals,” he said.