Working it out

Aug 09, 2018, 07:04 IST | Dalreen Ramos

On International Co-working Day, four city professionals let us in on their experience of working in a shared space

Working it out
Mansi Shetty by her desk at CoWrks

"Na tera, na mera," is a weird conversation starter, and in India, popularly signifies the end of your bargaining prowess as a consumer. So, when we meet four professionals who work around a concept that somewhat revolves around the old saying, we are curious to know their reasons for opting for a shared work environment.

Mansi Shetty, 34, Designer
As a creative professional, you may put on your thinking cap, but that won't do you any good if there is no sunlight. In search of the perfect sunlit space, Mansi Shetty, co-founder of One by One Design, finally found a base in Worli. She says, "When you're a book lover who encounters a space that comes armed with a library, what more could you want?" For Shetty, this means a pile of 200 books neatly stacked on her desk. The security measures offered are also an
added assurance.

WORKING TIP: "I visited a lot of places before settling here. You need to find a space that encourages you to build a community around it rather than being stuck at the desk."

It all began with an email
In 2010, Cadu de Castro Alves of Bees Office in Rio de Janeiro, shot an email to a co-working Google group announcing that it had been five years since Brad Neuberg, an ex-Google employee, had first spoken of co-working on August 9. He suggested that the day be commemorated as International Co-working Day and so began the trend.

Jeetu Khubchandani with coworkers at Workwise, Lower Parel Pics/Atul Kamble
Jeetu Khubchandani with coworkers at Workwise, Lower Parel Pics/Atul Kamble

Jeetu Khubchandani, 36, IT professional
jeetu Khubchandani, director of Tacto Infomedia, a software development company, has been working with a 26-member team at a shared space in Lower Parel for almost a year. He has a fitting response to describe the concept. "Value for money," he says and adds, "When businesses expand, there are constant recruitments and replacements. So, it is easier with everything taken care of right from washrooms to meeting rooms."

WORKING TIP: Khubchandani says it helps to know your price and location requirements. "There is ample opportunity to network and as technologists, we are always looking for innovative ideas. You never know who your next client will be," he tells us.

3 places to get co-working
Harkat Studios, Versova
CALL: 9819682673

Aroha, Bandra
CALL: 9820680999

91springboard (RISE), Lower Parel
CALL: 01139595578

Ravi Bagaria works by the lounge area at CoWrks, Worli
Ravi Bagaria works by the lounge area at CoWrks, Worli

Ravi Bagaria, 31, Chartered Accountant
Ravi Bagaria doesn't hesitate to clarify that he is very much a jeans and T-shirt person, although the picture above reflects otherwise. In 2011, Bagaria started Aria CFO Services, a firm that delivers financial and compliance services to NGOs and social enterprises. He worked out of home initially but when three new members came on board, he realised he had to find a new space. Bagaria began his co-working journey. But, it only went downhill from there. "I've shifted across five different spaces in Mumbai. It is only after you settle with one that you begin to understand what is not working for you," he says. A place at Kamala Mills wasn't compliant with BMC's fire safety norms. He filed a complaint, and 15 days later, a fire had already broken out. Bagaria has now found a safe space in Worli, where the team has four
dedicated desks.

WORKING TIP: Bagaria advocates greater research and maintains that the set-up is a great alternative for small teams. He explains, "Co-working has made me more disciplined. Now, I ensure I leave my professional life behind when I leave the desk. Even clients have learnt to respect my timelines."

Josh Dobbins tries slack lining at Ministry of New, Fort, as part of a members' monthly brunch meet.
Josh Dobbins tries slack lining at Ministry of New, Fort, as part of a members' monthly brunch meet.

Josh Dobbins, 29, Public relations professional
Josh Dobbins has worked in several cities including London, Berlin, Baku and Delhi. But, he got a first-hand experience in co-working after coming to Mumbai in 2011. For Dobbins, the senior account manager at Flint PR, a shared environment proved to be a platform to connect socially. He explains, "You aren't sitting alone and you have people to ask for advice. For example, if you need to find a printer or a CA."

WORKING TIP: Dobbins juggles between two co-working spaces in the city — Fort and Bandra — depending on the client. "The flexibility that these spaces provide helps. I can work from the two places, if I have meetings there, and pay by the day," he says.

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