Just as I was about to leave for my WeWork space this morning, I received a notification in the App that there is an Internet issue at the work space with the chance that there might not be any Internet connectivity for the entire day. I had a choice of staying back at home and working, or proceeding to WeWork.
I ended up taking the latter option. While walking to the space, I started thinking – what is the intrinsic value of a co-working space, especially for freelancers?
Clearly it’s not just the Internet connection. Almost everyone these days has a reliable internet connection at home or through their mobile devices. It could be the work desk, but then again, most people these days have a space at home to keep their laptops and work. It could be the coffee, though nothing beats the cheap and tasty filter coffee served at Udupi restaurants, at least in Bangalore and Chennai.
My opinion is that, at least in the case of WeWork, it is something else that is more than the sum of its parts. Yes, we know that WeWork has had its issues, but my experience from the past three weeks is that they definitely offer something of value that is not easy to break down. And that is what Brand is all about. It’s the whole experience that’s of value, not specific components such as Internet or coffee (though those definitely help!).
And I think there’s a lesson there for all businesses looking to build their Brand. Brand building is not about splashing a lot of money in advertising. It’s about finding your unique value proposition and delivering that consistently. That will drive the virtuous cycle of satisfied customers, positive work of mouth and more new customers.
And, by the way, the Internet connection was back up within thirty minutes!
This is the end of Week 2 at my newest co-working space. Following on from stints at CoWrks and 91Springboard, I moved into a WeWork space located close to my residence. The prime motivator for the move was definitely the location; this is the first time in my nearly 20 years of professional life that I can walk to office!
Not only am I new to this space, but this is a new space for WeWork itself. It is claimed as the largest WeWork space in India and definitely feels like it. Some of my thoughts from my first few days here:
The spacious, bright and cheery common area on the ground floor sends out good vibes!
The decor is typical new age start-up – exposed concrete and brickwork with a Scandinavian theme to the furniture
Excellent collection of books at the common area. Wonder how often these are refreshed…
And, I must mention, one of the best coffees I have had in India so far. Shout out to the special blend from Blue Tokai coffees!
One of the things I was concerned about before moving to WeWork was whether the constantly playing background music might be a disturbance. I must say that it has not been so thus far.
I was working out of a 91Springboard co-working space for the past couple of months. This was my second experience of a co-working space, following a stint at a CoWrks space for a few months previously.
I have enjoyed the experience of co-working so far. It is good to be surrounded by other people who have also decided to co work, typically entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-up employees, etc. I find that it establishes a sense of routine and discipline to my working life, compared to working from home. I must say that I do have a good set-up to working at home, so the benefits I am looking for are largely around networking, events and, hopefully, a good cup of coffee!
A quick note of appreciation for the staff at 91Springboard, Mahadevapura. Right from the time I first visited the space they were always very helpful and professional. As I move out of this space (for now!), I will miss interacting with the guys there. So, for the team at 91Springboard, wishing you all the very best!
This company, a start-up, decided to base themselves out of a co-working office, rather than rent their own office space. And they are not alone – I know of a few other organisations who have decided that they would rather work out of co-working spaces.
The attraction of such an arrangement is fairly obvious – excellent work spaces with multiple break-out areas where individuals, small teams can work out of, the usual office amenities such as meeting rooms, snack and coffee facilities, lounge areas, etc. Most importantly, the management team is not burdened with the administrative overheads of facilities management. And this itself outweighs the slightly higher costs of such an arrangement.
As a worker in one such space, I find the environment quite stimulating. While you are definitely part of one organisation, you feel yourself part of the larger ecosystem based around the space. The flexibility to work anywhere within the premises (or in another premise of the same co-living space) is so liberating, especially for people of an older generation who have worked in organisations where you are literally tied to a specific desk (along with a land-line phone :-)). In fact, the desks at this particular space do not have a land-line phone, or even provisions for one! Also, no computers and very few monitors on desks give it a very clean, minimalist air. Everyone has laptops (typically sleek Macbooks), smart phones and communication is primarily via services such as Slack (and Google Hangouts for conference calls).
If this is the future of offices, bring it on!
Digital marketer, travel / culture / heritage enthusiast