Ode to memories

Ode to memories

There are many reasons why companies, especially the startups, choose bungalows as their office space...

Ode to memories

The vibrant office of Paper Boat, the popular drink brand, makes one believe that not all workplaces need to be dull and boring. Even a charming bungalow in the City can be your office, if you design it right, discovers Pooja Mahesh

Our idea of what constitutes an office space and how it is used is changing. This is especially true today as many companies are looking for office spaces that exemplify who they really are. And this does not constitute the dull, perhaps lifeless, multistorey building in an IT park.

There is a growing demand for spaces that can add a dimension to the company’s personality and also meet the shifting needs and expectations of the new generation of employees. This explains why companies like Hector Beverages Pvt Ltd (makers of Paper Boat, the popular drink brand) are choosing bungalows as office spaces in  serene residential areas that are far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the City.

“One of our core values is to make people feel special and treat them with respect at every interaction. Selecting the bungalow was a big move towards that value. Every element in the office makes you want to belong to that space. Every nook and
corner has a memory one has possibly lived in the past,” says Neeraj Kakkar, co-founder & CEO, Hector Beverages.

The perfect balance

When one steps into the office located amidst lots of greenery in Whitefield, one is greeted by the two resident dogs at the gate, Hector and Beverages, named ubiquitously after the company. Entering the castle-like structure feels like a mini-adventure that you eagerly look forward to embark on. One of the first things that catches your attention is a giant tree bark designed with various coloured pinwheels.  Not only is it a welcoming sight, it also sets the tone for the rest of the office’s interiors: childlike but sophisticated. And, as you go by each of their office rooms, you are taken back even further into your childhood.

The best part of the decor is that it doesn’t stay the same; it changes every two to three months and often reflects the season’s tidings. In such a happiness-exuding
environment, work stress is alien concept, especially with the dogs around. If someone ever feels overwhelmed, all they have to do is to step out to the front porch, where abundant greenery makes you forget about stress. The lush foliage promises cool breeze all the time, despite the sweltering summer heat. “What I like about working here is that I can move around and work anywhere; I particularly like working on the bench outside as it’s breezy and calming,” says Natasha Varughese, a marketing trainee.

Keeping in mind the company’s motto of spreading happiness and childhood innocence, every room here has perfect artistic illustrations — a good way to bring in a company’s ethos and philosophy into the interiors. What makes the premises ‘happy’ is its beautifully decorated interiors dotted with a variety of murals that are enticing and reminiscent of one’s childhood. It’s essentially about striking a perfect balance between functionality and staying true to the structure’s authenticity. “Office spaces should be a reflection of the people and the brand. For instance, much of our office’s premises has something associated with our drink brand. As a result, it evokes a sense of nostalgia and old-world charm,” adds Neeraj.

“The space gives you more ownership to what you are currently doing. It feels like an environment that you would want to work in. In fact, it doesn’t feel like work here,” says Ashley Dsouza, chief sales officer. And, it’s hard to disagree. As opposed to a
templatised corporate structure, there is a greater degree of personalisation that can be seen here, both in terms of design and employee interaction.

Bungalow effect

There are various reasons as to why companies, especially startups, take to bungalows as their office spaces. First, it’s cost-effective and allows the company to focus on delivering quality products.

Second, it has more space as opposed to a corporate structure that usually has limited spaces. Finally, it allows you the freedom to design according to your budget. For
instance, much of the wall designs here have been done by the company’s employees with the help of two Bengaluru-based illustrators. Many of the wall paintings reflect things from one’s childhood — Malgudi Days, paper boats, ‘Shooting the Balloons’ game, Pacman and so on.

And don’t be surprised if you see some employees trying their hands at origami or paper art during their free time. “Working here is very different from the larger corporate offices that I have worked in earlier. This is not a standard office as it has been made like a home,” avers Ashley.

Every room here has been made differently to reflect the people working in that particular space. This leaves great room for personalisation. Take for instance, the various quirky, vintage items that are placed across the office space such as the vintage typewriter and payphone. Or even the Natraj pencil that has been painted onto one of the pillars on the balcony.

The bungalow makes for an easy space to work in, and at most times, for several hours without any disturbance. There is the freedom to be alone with your work, if need be. The employees sit facing each other, allowing for ease of communication — to ideate, pitch ideas as well, making it possible for everyone to get involved.

Over the years, this is perhaps the most defining change that has occurred in office spaces. Such bungalows reflect a working culture that is welcoming. Not only does this increase productivity, but also nurtures a healthy work-life balance.

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