coworking stories

A Mumpreneur’s Thoughts On Coworking and Coworkation

Mumpreneurs are like any other entrepreneur in the business world and they too have as much of a chance to make it big in the market as others. The concept of a chaotic mumpreneur who is interrupted by a crying baby during important calls and is surrounded with incomplete projects is history.

Today, mothers trying to hit the jackpot are taking a step ahead along with the rest of the working crowd. Furthermore, the introduction of coworking spaces has only enabled them to demarcate their work life from their personal life. In short, what were once baby steps have now turned to become giant leaps towards success.

We spoke to Gunjeet Parmar, computer scientist by education, and mumpreneur at Crafty hands by choice, about her coworking experience. Let us listen to what she has to say about her journey.

UnBoxed: What are the problems that you personally faced when you worked from home, coffee shops, or offices?

Gunjeet: It is definitely better to work at a coworking space than at home, in an office, or even a coffee shop, especially when you are a mother. I tried them all. For about 13 years, I worked in a corporate environment and after having a baby, I tried working from home. There were times I would visit restaurants that provided the facility to sit and work. However, I found the right balance between home and work only at a coworking space.

A blurred boundary between personal and professional environment, especially with children in the house is a biggest problem with working from home. This also includes not being able to enforce personal discipline just as someone with a regular job would do by getting dressed and starting his day at a specific time.

As far as going to coffee shops is concerned, even though free wi-fi is available, there will be a lot of chatter and other distractions. So, giving undivided attention to work becomes troublesome.

Another drawback of working in the coffee shop is that the seating is not ergonomic. Chairs in coffee shops are meant for lounging and not for long working hours. Additionally, the technical backup and quick access to office supplies like courier and print are unavailable.

In a typical corporate environment, there is a lack in the variety of people you get to interact with. Everyone is almost always talking about the same issues. On the top of that, you have deadlines and a crying baby at home.

This is where coworking comes in as a breeze. The space offers a mixed energy of various individuals hailing from diverse fields, thinking in different directions, and doing real work. So, it becomes extremely interesting.

UB: According to you, what are your essential requirements at a coworking space?

G: To work, I first need my tools. These days, a laptop serves most of the purpose and since I am a software professional, I carry my laptop everywhere. Besides that, I need a clean, peaceful, and safe environment. It has to be a space where I can get time to think and do my work with ease with easy access to basic amenities like snacks, internet, electricity, and restrooms. I guess that is about it.

UB: Have you heard about the term “Coworkation”? Please share your thoughts on it.

G: Coworkation, for me, is kind of an oxymoron. I am a firm believer in full vacations. I have children. So when I am away from home on vacation and I am working, I’d like to just work. But, if I am with my children I would be committed to having a good time with them and so I prefer not to work.

However, if I was single and just backpacking and travelling then I would probably cowork.  It is a good concept especially when you run out of money during a vacation as you can start working and earn some.

It is understandable why people would opt for coworkation but, considering my personal situation it will not work for me. My children would be disappointed in me. Also, the border that coworking is helping me establish between my work and family life would start blurring.

UB: Why did it click for you at UnBoxed? What caught your attention there?

G: I have been working at UnBoxed since the last  5 months. Prior to this, I checked out other similar facilities and even tried them for a day, but eventually I liked and chose what UnBoxed provided.

From a professional standpoint, UnBoxed gives me access to everything I need to work, but what really worked for me was their huge open spaces.

Here,  many prefer to sit on the floor. We all have access to one another, so there is a lot of interesting discussion happening and you get to know about what others are doing. This exposes us to different kinds of problems and compels us to come up with innovative solutions. The environment at UnBoxed is flexible and casual without unnecessary rules and regulations.

I find it a breeze to work there.

UB: What went wrong outside UnBoxed at other coworking spaces?

G: Like I mentioned, there were obviously space issues. You cannot work freely in a cramped space where others can peek over your work on and off.

Another reason why other places did not work for me was because their managers did not take the effort of introducing new people to the existing members on the floor, unlike UnBoxed. So, you are working with them not knowing what the person sitting next to you does for a living. The same thing applies to a corporate kind of coworking space. Nobody knows anybody. So, unless you are an extrovert and inclined to making connections yourself, there is no scope of any kind of business networking.

With this, we come to the end to our conversation with the mumpreneur, Gunjeet.

Coworking spaces surely are the next generation workspace for the self-starters and freelancers providing them with all essential facilities and amenities. But as in the case of Gunjeet, we can see not all coworking environments are conducive to everyone’s basic needs. So, what are your views on coworking spaces? Do share with us.

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?