Work-Eat-Play: CoWorking In India

15 April 2014

It’s the advent of exploring beyond the four walls of the office as India sees a break away from the conventional work space. Welcome to the new era of co-working and office sharing.

It's a perception that co-working is only for the low-budget entrepreneur. But that surely isn’t true. Earlier this week, when I went to visit the Dolby Laboratories in Andheri, Mumbai, I was surprised to see that they shared a space with four other companies, HBO being one of them. However, the set-up was far more uptight and staid than some of the other spaces across the city. “Dolby has a small team and doesn’t need a huge office as of now which is why we operate out of this space,” shared Jayesh Veralkar from Dolby. Housed in Regus, the facility offers meeting rooms, business lounges and workplace recovery among other solutions that makes it fit for the corporate sector.

The Hive - Bandra

On the other hand, there are also spaces like The Hive in Bandra which opened doors a few months ago and has an informal, breezy and artsy feel to it with gigs, open-mic nights and other such activities taking place during the evening. Adorned in greens, this co-working space has three floors with one of the areas taken up by a young start-up. The desks are in the shape of a hive and the chai/coffee served is organic. Giving a tour of the space, Sharin-Bhatti, the co-owner reveals, "The co-working packages from Rs 100 per hour from 9 to 7 pm for a daily desk and Rs 11500 for one month that comes with storage, personalised desk space, free beverage of choice from our in-house cafe The Hungry Traveller, pick up and drop service and discounts on our workshop space and venue. The coworking space is staggered between three floors, which includes indoor and outdoor space."

Apart from the above mentioned popular hubs for co-working, there are a slew of them in different cities – a few of them being Bombay Connect, The Playce, Our First Office and Ministry of New. Recently, Impresario invested in this space realising that most of their customers needed a base to work, have meetings and show presentations. As a result they have started a chain blending the office and the café, called Social which right now has a branch open in Bengaluru. Complete with a boardroom, WiFi and café, there is also an app in beta that allows one to order and review food, check out the restaurant’s playlist (to like and recommend music) and even check in on what the other guests in the space are up to, encouraging the potential for collaboration and interaction between tables.

Social - Bangalore

Shobita Kadan, president of marketing at Impresario, the parent company of Social, went on to tell me that “coffee shops and cafes have been projected as your ‘third place”, a place away from home and your work/college. With Social, we’re introducing the ‘second place’ concept for the very first time in restaurant history, a place where you can both work and play.” Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD, explained “At first, it might seem revolutionary. To us, we saw it as something that was already happening. We just decided to make it official. All we did was built a space that caters to that need, a productive space driven by a radical 9-6 creative community, a space for doers and makers to work and network.”

After the work day ends, the work space at Social seamlessly shifts gears to become a high energy bar. Thus, it’s easy to get that after-work drink without having to travel. “The 6000 sq. ft. space is divided into two areas; one that’s a spacious ground floor, open to all throughout the day, and the other a dedicated floor, designed to be conducive to work,” says Amit Jambotkar, who heads operations at Social. One can pick and ‘rent’ a table or block off a conference room between 9am and 6pm.

Words: Divya Naik



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