Changing vistas in co-working

Bindu Gopal Rao
Saturday, 16 February 2019

As co-working spaces expand, they are changing to become more dynamic, ecofriendly and all inclusive

When Raman Kumar decided to start his financial consultancy business, he knew that one thing that would cost him the most would be to have an office of his own. And an office was something that he could not really compromise upon while he was still wondering how it would fit into his capital expenditure. However, he soon chanced upon the concept of co-working spaces or ready to use offices. These have a professional setup and can be simply rented out for a day/week/month/year and are completely flexible. This was a perfect fit for Raman who says that over the last two years, he has been using the co-working space to his advantage.

DO THE NEW
While co working spaces have been around for a while, there have been several new formats and changes to them that are adding to the charm of the concept. In fact today, co-working space has moved into the realm of hotels as well. IndiQube has a big presence in the Leela Palace Hotel and JW Marriot in Bengaluru which houses brands like Red bus, Bluestone, Micromax, Scripbox and Fresh Menu and many more. Sanil Sachar and Ishaan Khosla, co-founders and partners, Huddle aver, “As a co-working space, we are tying up with several partner organisations to make the work and life for all those working at Huddle easy. We have firm partnerships with legal teams like Jyoti Sagar Associates for legal support provided to all, an accountant comes in on a weekly basis to assist startups, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The support goes beyond compliances, and we urge our members to avail the generous benefits provided by hospitality partners like The Lemon Tree Hotels, through whom each Huddler is a direct gold member at Lemon Tree, and can avail their leading hospitality at minimal costs, and with several added perks.” 

Cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi NCR have seen the maximum growth in co-working spaces, followed by Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune. 

COMMUNITY CONNECT
A key differentiator with co-working spaces is that while you could be an independent professional or a freelancer working on your own, you would still be able to connect with like-minded professionals. Tania Jones, Community Director, WeWork opines, “One of the strongest USPs of WeWork is that it is much more than a co-working space. It offers a physical and digital experience that connects each individual member to its over 3.2 lakh global member community through the WeWork member network app. By connecting members across WeWork’s 335 locations across the globe, we are changing how companies, both startups and enterprises, and individuals are charting an international growth trajectory.” 

Their TGIM (Thank God it’s Monday) initiative offers complimentary breakfast on Mondays to members for them to start the week on a positive note. This apart, there is a whole range of fitness activities including salsa, yoga, pilates, zumba and access to gyms and pools for members. 

INCUBATION SPACES
Huddle has started powering universities with incubation support and these collaborations have enabled them to work with startups and engage them with mentors relevant to their industry who can then be a part of the startup journey. “Additionally, we make it a point to assist colleges during their Startup Expos and summits that celebrate entrepreneurship. In order to go beyond showcasing startups to investors, we are working with institutions like SRCC (University of Delhi) and IIM Rohtak, for their respective Startup Expos with the endeavour of shortlisting emerging and promising startups, and take them under Huddle’s incubation to grow,” says Khosla.

BALANCING ACT
Co-working spaces encourage a healthy work-life balance. “Version 2.0 of Social’s evolving co-working space is willing to take the risks with you as you disrupt, co-create and collaborate - and provide a platform for creators to connect and network. Social has very innovative offers that suit the sentiment of startups, entrepreneurs, small to mid-size companies and even large setups for creative off sites. Some of the offers include ‘Call It A Day’ and dip your toes in at Rs 500, or scratch that ‘7 Day P(itch)’ and get a week at Rs 1500, Hit ‘Qwerty 30’ at Rs 5000 and you can work out of this space for a whole month. And with the entire amount being redeemable on eats and drinks, this is one workspace which will keep your pocket and palate happy,” avers Shobita Kadan, Director of Marketing and Strategy at Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality Pvt Ltd. (IEHPL). 

Likwise at Zaga Pune, the first two floors are dedicated to the Art Café & Bar while the next two floors are dedicated to home décor with local and foreign designers showcasing their work as well as a studio space for artists and dancers.

ERGONOMICS AND DESIGN
Co-working spaces are focusing on biophilic design which is an architectural framework that weaves patterns of nature into the built environment. The trend incorporates natural elements such as stone, wood, water and plants into the interior environment in the form of hanging gardens, recycled wood furniture and water features. 

Furniture too plays a very important role in the workplace. The main factors to be considered for office furniture are design, functionality, and ergonomics. “ The one element which makes co-working space different from a traditional office is the layout and furniture design. Co-working space furniture is designed to encourage movement, collaboration among teams and has inbuilt functionally while having ergonomic elements incorporated which helps for better body posture. 

As co-working workstations are designed in a way to be more informal (fewer partitions, the absence of cubicles, open layout), furniture is designed to be more home-like and attractive, making it comfortable for discussions, teamwork, and collaborations,” says Radhakrishnan Nair, chief operating officer, Dovetail Furniture Pvt. limited.

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