Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How co-working spaces helped me afford an office

In a city like Mumbai, real estate is the most expensive thing ever. No wonder, every house is like a match box. (Apart from some old colonies, which to my envious enlightenment, are mammoth at a few thousand sq feet!). In such a scenario, it's almost impossible to find an office space for a start up. Unless you have deep pockets or your papaji has left you a fortune to throw away. The expense of real estate has always been the reason why I couldn't run a business that requires physical space. So I did the next best thing. I went and bought virtual real estate. Which was not just cheaper but also gave me the flexibility to adorn it the way I want.

While setting up my blog has been a great experience, it is also constant work of bringing in ideas and writing them down in a unique and interesting manner. And to be able to let the creative juices flow, I had to have a space which binds me in the discipline of working. I realised I needed some actual real estate as well to be able to do that. To get me away from the din of household affairs, ringing door bells and the bane of every woman - the ever overflowing laundry basket! But knowing the Mumbai real estate scene, I kept ignoring the demand till it became too pressing to be ignored anymore. And that's when I considered getting my own space through this brilliant concept in Mumbai called Co-working spaces. Or shared offices. Or community workplace, as I'd like to call it.  I had been to one of those about a year ago for a meeting and instantly fell in love with the space. And the time had come to explore it. Research showed that there were quite a few places which had the same - some even better - concept. I went with the one I already had seen and it was also closer home.

How do co-working spaces work

One can rent out a single desk or take up 2-3 desk space for a team. There are cabins available for people who may want closed spaces for the whole team or who have meetings frequently. Each requirement is covered under a different plan. The office space is done up with infrastructure and is maintained for you. There's fast wifi, coffee machine, a common meeting room, pantry to limit the aroma of awesome food and well maintained toilets. 

I love my new office - technically, it is my 'office'

My little corner in my new office

What I love about co-working spaces

1. Affordable: It's bright with motivational posters on the walls. And there are lockers to leave your stuff in. It's a real office! And affordable in a place like Mumbai. I have a flexible plan where I can use it for any 10 days of the month. This works fine for me since I need to get my own space and time to ideate and get work done in a block of few hours. 

2. In office without a boss: I am in an office but I don't have to bother about a boss. Sometimes, in the lethargy of post lunch drowsiness, I have a sense of deja vu about sitting in my old office in a similar state. The low din of office noises adding to the sluggish ennui. I get the same feeling but I don't have to hide in some cubicle to catch a wink if I wish to do so. I can just put my head down on my desk and have a shameless nap right there! :) 

3. Peek into others' office spaces: While I work there as an individual, I can see the office life of other teams around. The chit chat during lunch break, sharing their food and the banter during work. I may sit quietly in my space but the people around do perk up my work life with their conversations. In fact, shifting to a slightly noisy space felt more comfortable than the desk I used to sit at with people working quietly on their laptops. 

What I don't like about co-working spaces

1. Sitting among strangers: While this is not exactly a con, sometimes I am acutely aware of sitting among strangers. I know no one, I talk to no one and just sit there doing my work. That gets a little odd sometimes. Hopefully, it will get better with my regular visits and some friends. 

2. Public phone calls: Some people have no phone etiquette. They'll step out of their cabin to take a call not realising that there are others who are sitting and working at our 'common' desks. That irks me a bit. 

As you can see, I have more positive things to say about co-working spaces than against them. 

The good news is that you can find this option is many cities across the country. There are a lot of options to explore like The Playce (also on Facebook), Breathing Room and many more. You can choose from multiple options and plans to suit your needs and have an office of your own! 

Drop in a line if you have been to one such place and how has your experience been.

PS: This is not a sponsored post and views of my own


  1. Quite a neat concept this!! Better than working out of a starbucks?

  2. Better and a lot less expensive!