coworking for all

Why Do Coworking Spaces Work?

Today, a larger number of people are working for themselves more than ever. More and more are freelancing or opting to bootstrap their own venture. Whatever be their choice of work, what bothers them is the availability of a space they can work uninterrupted while still having fun.

Freelancers with projects that do not require them moving around usually opt for either coffee houses or their homes as their workplace, while startup owners with small teams rent offices. Both options prove unfeasible in the long run - if one is not  distraction-free, the other is not cost-effective.

So, what does a feasible option look like? Something like coworking spaces. According to DeskMag, in 2014, there were more than 110,000 people working in one of the 2,500 coworking spaces available worldwide. It was also seen that there was an increase in the number of coworking members by 245 people on an average on each work day.

Why coworking spaces are clicking for so many people? To answer this, we picked brains of a bunch of coworkers and the following are our findings.

Making Success Stories

FACT: If, as a freelancer or a small team, you are considering moving into a coworking space , then the good news is that entrepreneurs and freelancers exhibit a higher level of success when operating out of a coworking zone.  

The coworking concept was unheard of 5 years ago. Yet today, it is trending in the industry. Further, if the modern class is seeing this as a stepping stone for their business, this trend holds potential to become a norm in future.

Ishha Ajmera, Founder of White Crow Consulting, credits joining UnBoxed, a wonderful coworking space, for her success,

"I do not know how to quote in terms of numbers, but being at a coworking space has played an integral role in channelizing my energy into my core area of work. It's not expended into arranging tea or coffee or taking care of the electricity for my team. My energy is only focused on doing my work. So definitely I would say, that coworking has given me freedom and an increment of about 30% in my efficiency."

A recent study done at the the Global Coworking Unconference conference states the fact that 84% of people felt more engaged and motivated while 67% confessed an improved professional success at coworking spaces.

Creative Collaboration

Coworking spaces like UnBoxed, which are membership-based, accept anyonewho needs affordable work space. The members range from architects to web developers, entrepreneurs to freelancers, and even artists, all working in one big shared space.

"If you are sitting with a small group of people, doing the same kind of job everyday, you will never have interaction with other folks. There would be no synergy. However, if you talk to different individuals, you realise different kinds of problems and develop an innovative approach to their solutions.
The environment at UnBoxed Coworking is flexible and members are equally open, and the atmosphere is very conducive to my process of ideation. It's perfect!" exclaims Gunjeet Parmar, Entrepreneur, Crafty Hands.

Many feel the difference of work style right from the first day itself. Additionally, the chance to meet interesting people coming from different professions and backgrounds makes this concept all the more inviting.  

At a coworking space, people don’t have to match a company’s criteria and hence, they feel more relaxed and free to work in the way they find most suitable. Without holding anything back, they bring their entire selves with them.

Financial Feasibility

As we have established, these collaborative places are highly affordable financially.

"People should definitely opt for coworking spaces. If I consider the finances, unless I am a team of 10 and I need a separate cabin for private team discussions on an everyday basis, there is no point in renting an office", says Ishha.

Managing everything, from furniture to food  to the office infrastructure just for a team of 3 or 4 is not wise. At Coworking everything is taken care of- Most of the amenities are free and all you have to worry about is your work.

Pankaj, Founder of Payona, quotes:

"While looking for a workspace for my team, I was looking for a fully furnished place with a great ambiance. I discovered UnBoxed online and decided to check it out. I liked the place. It suited my team's preferences and I am quite happy with what I found here."

When coworking can make life so easy, then surely one should give it a try.

These are only some of the reasons why these spaces work for most startups and individuals.

Today businesses do not require the same level of infrastructure as they did in the past. This is the reason for increased number of independent workers and micro-businesses.

So are you still asking yourself  why coworking spaces work?

What Made A Travel Writer Open Up His Own Coworking Space

There are countless blogs and websites out there on the internet, which are dedicated to every imaginable approach to travel, and the most successful ones get paid to do what most of us spend months saving up for. While browsing through some of our favorite travel sites, we got in touch with one blogger who combined his love of the open road with coworking. If you are one of the lucky ones and travel is not only your passion, but also your main source of income, it is important to find a way to combine adventure with productivity. There are no guarantees when you are on the road, so finding a coworking space might be just the perfect solution.

Travel writer and founder of Nowhere Travel Stories, Porter Fox, spoke with Deskmag about his own experience traveling the world while using coworking spaces. In fact, Fox likes coworking so much he has recently launched his own space in New York City. 

As a travel writer, you have to embrace uncertainties while on the road. In many ways this can benefit one's writing. What are some of the challenges you face as a writer while on the road?

Porter Fox: I would say that uncertainty is one of the most exciting parts of travel. There are always challenges…where to sleep, where to eat, where to work. You get out of your world and into a foreign one. It is great for your writing because it's always easier to describe something foreign rather than something familiar. It is much easier to describe a place you've never been than the house you grew up in.

Before you set off on a trip, do you contact coworking spaces in your specific destination beforehand?

PF: I actually don't. I like to run into them as I go. I usually do so through friends, contacts, and strangers. Sometimes it is something informal; sometimes it's more structured. Predictability breeds tedium.

As a professional travel writer what does a coworking space give you that a coffee shop can't?

PF: People go to coworking spaces to get things done. It's always good to be around folks who are productive. In a coffee shop people can be catching, listening to music, anything… folks in a workspace are there in order to accomplish something. In the same way, if there are people in the space who are not working, they can also affect your productivity. The best scenario is to be around folks whose work you admire.

Do you have any specific examples of positive (or negative) experiences that you have had while coworking while traveling?

PF: I worked in one space with a wealthy guy who was in between jobs. He texted on his phone all day long, went out to a fancy lunch, came back and texted some more. His paintings were terrible, mostly because he never worked on them.  He sat right behind me and it was like a giant black hole sucking creativity out of me.

I would think that coworking might turn off some travel writers, because they might find it takes away from spontaneity. Do you agree with that?  

PF: Not really, because when you are a travel writer your work is walking around through the country. You simply need a place to sit down, be quiet and write at the end of the day. They say they you forget 80% of most detail within 48 hours so you need to get it down quickly...

Today, I think many find professional writing a daunting prospect. As things are changing drastically, I think people are afraid that journalism is no longer a lucrative field. Do you think that coworking can help aspiring bloggers and writers find a stable community, and ultimately succeed?  

PF: It helps because it's not just a coworking space, but also a collaborative space. Like-minded people are typically brought together there and you can benefit from that. I've worked for several folks that I shared space with it always goes very well.

Tell us bit about why you decided to open your own space?

PF: I've worked at coworking spaces in NYC for almost 15 years. I had a lot of ideas while I was working there so I decided to design exactly what I wanted. Outdoor workspace, garden plots, flex project space, kitchen/living room, event/teaching space, large communal area, wood-burning stove. It's going great... 

The interview was first published on Deskmag.

Why Coworking Makes Sense - Tangible and Intangible Benefits

Do you remember how, a few years from now, the Indian metropolitan crowd faced and resisted the concept of shared cabs?

This concept involved sharing your taxi with other passengers, usually strangers, who were headed in the same direction. Initially, travelling with strangers was not a welcome experience. It meant stepping out of one’s comfort zone. So, if someone owned a car, he/ she would prefer using it over a shared cab.

After all, having to step outside of one’s comfort zone is a scary thing. Just as Neale Donald Walsch once said,

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Some early adopters stepped outside of their comfort zone to catch glimpse of life into shared cabs, and through word of mouth, this concept started selling like hot cakes. Today, it doesn’t make sense to people to hire individual cabs or buy a second one for occasional needs.

Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to rent a complete office if you happen to have a team of only five or even smaller and are just starting up. Further, what if you are a one-man-army or freelancing? Why rent an office or work at home when you can share an office and pay just for your workstation?

Cowork, that’s your answer. A fairly new concept of shared working spaces with independent individual activities going on. Like the shared cabs, you don't need to worry about the directions, getting the tank filled, or pumping the air in tyres or even drive. All you have to do is ride till your destination arrives. Similarly, in a coworking space you do not have to worry a bit about maintenance, electricity, or anything else. You have to arrive at your workstation and just work.

These coworking spaces are different from a typical office environment, and are generally shared by individuals coming from different organizations and professions. These professionals and individuals are mostly strangers to each other, initially, and pay a small fee for the facilities received at these shared spaces.

Coworking Spaces - Do we really need them?

One of the many factors that has led to the sprouting of coworking spaces is the multitude of youth populating the modern workplace. The workplace is more connected than it has ever been before. Employers too, have given ear to this connectivity and heightened amount of human interaction, and have recognized that these factors can actually help foster productivity and innovation.

Let’s talk Benefits

An increasing number of social media groups, WhatsApp groups, cafe meetings, startup meets and conferences, greater use of collaboration options like Slack, Asana, Trello, and such indicate how offices are moving out of the four walls and occupying spaces in places where people want to work at their own comfort and still not lose their motivation.

Trends like these have led us to believe that people are no longer interested in working with a small in-house teams or hiding behind tiny cubicles anymore, nor do they like anything coming in the way of their work, be it commuting or taking care of their offices. Simultaneously, they have an increasing urge to build new social connections with like-minded individuals.

Let us go ahead and see how a coworking space can serve this new breed of workaholic generation.

Freelancing Freely

Perhaps, some of us, as freelancers, are utterly productive and focused to be able to get up every morning and go into the work mode even while staying at home. Yet, the truth is that a majority of freelancers find the idea of working from home a challenging and unconducive way of getting things done. While at home, our mind tends to divert towards many other things, like the laundry, maybe the baby, the cooking, the cleaning, the nagging mothers, and so much more.

This is the reason why we see many freelancers flocking their surrounding coffee houses. But, that too does not save them from distraction as the guilt of taking up a seat for too long catches up on them. So, where can a freelancer go? A coworking office!

At a coworking space, all you get is focus. You can give undivided attention to your projects and not worry about a thing in the world. Having a workstation in a coworking environment is a luxury at a price of a penny. You have the comfort and flexibility of your work and work hours while enjoying the focus a regular workplace offers. Plus, no guilty feelings of occupying the seat for far too long.

And as a bundle deal, you get to expand your connections, learn from others, and bag more freelance projects.

Concentration, Collaboration, Creation

The problem with many individuals of the the new working generation today is that they want to work. However, to find a place where one can concentrate without being distracted, and execute what has been planned is a pain. This same crowd finds ‘working from home’ an isolating experience and their visit to the coffee shops, a distraction. Coworking space offers them the best of both worlds.

The best place to work is one where people are motivated and dedicated towards their work and believe in collaboration as a tool to amplify each other’s strengths. That is where coworking comes into picture.

In a coworking space, you are constantly surrounded by passionate, self-motivated individuals, which positively affects your motivation towards your work. According to a recent study,  coworking spaces have increased by 400 percent in the last two years because they provide community and collaboration which is a much emphasized aspect of working by the upcoming, forward thinking entrepreneurs.



Real Life Social Networking

A great coworking space engages with its surrounding audience and external community. This space is not renowned because of the pre-existence of  some desks or free wi-fi. Coworking spaces are thriving communities of talented and self-confident people who come not only to work, but also to create real connections that can help them personally as well as professionally. The atmosphere is welcoming, interesting, and beneficial to one, because of the chance to be able to connect and meet with fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Coworking spaces attract myriad members from diversified backgrounds and industries and so, they promote innovation. According to Martin Ruef, a sociologist at Princeton, it was discovered that people who widened their list of contacts from small groups of familiar acquaintances to larger, more loosely-connected networks of people turned far more innovative than their counterparts.

And imagine going on a vacation with your small team of three. How fun would it be if you could team up with other teams, board a big bus and enjoy a hearty gang of guitarists, singers, dancers, card wizards, trekkers, chefs and photographers?! Cost sharing and happiness multiplying - doesn’t that sound fun?

Budget - “Wise”

On a serious note, coworking spaces ease the process of starting a business. Usually when a company is just at its doorstep, it has to focus on many factors like having to hire a workplace, maintaining the employee payroll, cost of facilities, and many more financial expenses which can rip your energies apart in directions that may not be beneficial for the business initially.

Moreover, if you are a startup and the head count of the employees is below five, then hiring a workplace would just be a waste of precious resources. In such cases, coworking spaces allow the opportunity to save up financially, taking into consideration the minimal fee a team has to pay in comparison to the cost of an individual office. Additionally, you get access to enough workspace and other added facilities such as the internet, snacks, drinks, and a lot more.

Again, not just because of the free amenities, the clear benefits of the space is the wealth of human resources present in that space. After all, as a founder of a company that is just at its grassroot level, what would your preference be?

Today, if we can use the  simplified and well devised web tools, a beautiful collaboration can be attained. This way, no one would require to book office spaces or rent residential apartments or work in garage while they are at a premature stage of their business.

Final thoughts

As the saying by Gordie Howe goes -

You’ve got to love what you are doing. If you love it, you can overcome any handicap or the soreness, or all the aches and pain, and continue to play for a long time.

Enjoyment of our daily working culture can have a positive impact on work ethics, well‐being, and productivity. Coworking might be the buzz in India today, but it's sure a buzz for good.

The concept promises more than just the resources and a place to do business. It is a community, and a growing community at that. This is the future of how businesses are going to be carried out. Entrepreneur, startup, or freelancer - no matter who you are, coworking space is the perfect match for you.

Don't forget to tell us what you feel about this new concept in your comments below.

Till then enjoy the following infographic summarizing all the tangible and intangible benefits of choosing a oworking space over other arrangements. Have a look and make up your mind!