An individualistic approach to work is now passe. Thanks to the rise of ‘co-working’ shared spaces, professionals are no longer caught in the warp of ennui.
Be it entrepreneurs, freelancers, HR executives, writers or artistes, they work under one roof and comfortably so. They hobnob at co-working spaces, conduct meetings, attend calls and work exactly like how they would in a run-of-the-mill office. By all accounts, Bengaluru seems to be the right city for such a co-working culture with its mushrooming start-ups, space constraints and a cosmopolitan lifestyle.
‘BHiVe Workspace’ is a popular co-working space in the City. Currently operating in Koramangala and Indiranagar, Shesh Rao Paplikar, its CEO, says that the lack of quality co-working spaces in the City drove him to start ‘BHiVe’ last year.
He says, “A co-working space essentially creates a conducive environment to work in. It calls for a functional, flexible workspace. People can come in any time with their teams and employees, and work at their will. Freelancers, founders of start-ups, content writers, venture capitalists and HR executives are some of those who frequent ‘BHiVe’.”
Arpit, one of the co-founders of RoadRunnr who worked out of ‘BHiVe’, feels that a co-working space symbolises a dynamic environment and creates a motivational atmosphere for start-ups. More than a trend, he believes that it is a requirement.
He says, “It’s important to have a bifurcation between the aura that one has around them with respect to their personal and work life and a co-working space gives one that aura. This is mainly because when one puts in a lot of effort into one’s startup, one needs a change in the environment to keep innovating. It’s useful as many entrepreneurs don’t have the capital.”
Another co-working space that has grabbed eyeballs and is popular especially among student entrepreneurs, is ‘TechHub’ in Koramangala, which houses technology based-startups. Manoj says, “Our aim is to help professionals build contacts along the way and not tread a lonely path. It doesn’t give the feeling that one is working out of a garage or a bedroom. We are looking to expand our office to other areas and cities as well.”
The attractive aspect is the concept of networking and building connections as eclectic people are able to meet under one roof and collaborate, brainstorm and discuss various ideas. Pratik, one of the core team members of ‘Zo Rooms’, says, “Help is always at hand in such a space. For example, we work in the hospitality industry and approach a start-up if we find that they cater to delivery services and can help us.”
However, there are two sides to this functioning model. Lakshminarayana, the founder of NetAnalytiks, feels that though co-working spaces are extremely viable and have the right facilities, just like an office, there is a need for value-added services such as mentoring at such a space.
“One lacks privacy as the space can get too crowded. We can’t use conference or meeting rooms always as they may have been booked. Entrepreneurs may also discuss topics that may not be relevant to another company which can create some amount of irritation.” Glen, the founder of ‘PayPerCup’, which sells tea cups to vendors, adds that the success of a co-working space depends on what the start-up is selling.
“I need a godown or a warehouse to hold inventories, so a co-working space isn’t ideal for me but I have collaborated with many people from co-working spaces.” However, despite such challenges, such spaces are a boon to professionals. “We started with about 25 customers and now have more than 300 people. I meet some interesting millionaires everyday,” Shesh laughs.