As segment expands, coworking spaces go 24x7, offer sleeping nooks, laundry services
Say they’re catering to the changing work habits of start-ups and gig economy freelancers.
As the coworking segment explodes, outfits are going beyond cubicles and conference rooms, to offer professionals a range of new facilities that include napping spaces, shower rooms, and 24x7 access.
“User patterns are changing and there is a demand for more flexibility at the workspace. To meet employee preference and work-based requirements, more companies are making their coworking spaces operational 24x7, and more will do so in the future,” says Anuj Puri, chairman of Anarock Property Consultants.
To cater to this growing customer base through the 24-hour cycle, some are also adding all-night cafes, pick up and drop facilities for laundry, and round-the-clock tech support and security.
Workafella, which offers 24x7 coworking spaces in Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, also offers a prayer room. “Many of our offices fall within the IT belts of these cities. Companies, startups and individuals, especially those servicing overseas markets, work all hours and prize comfort, convenience and accessibility,” says Reema Saha, vice-president of marketing at Workafella.
At 91springboard, another co-working space offering 24x7 access at its spaces across India, clients can reach out to community managers, tech support, housekeeping and security at any hour. “It’s easier for a coworking space to offer all these facilities 24x7, because operating costs can be divided across a larger number of people,” says co-founder Varun Chawla.
Since youngsters today are aware of the concept of work-life balance, they are gravitating towards jobs that offer flexible work timings, he adds. “To be a better employer, you have focus on what a person is producing rather than being a clock-watcher. The booming of the gig economy is also creating a demand for flexible workspaces,” he says.
Another factor is the mushrooming of startups. Raghvendra Pratap Singh, Co-founder of Co-Work Studio, which offers 24x7 workspaces in Pune, says, “Running a startup entails a huge amount of work because there’s always a shortage of both manpower and funds. I’ve seen people come in at 7 pm, work all night and the next day. Founders essentially live at their workspaces at times.”
Ridhesh Sejpal, 30, founder of the Andheri-based Goodfellas Studio, which produces TV commercials, is a prime example. He chose to move, team in tow, to a 91springboard office from a conventional office setup because of the many comforts offered by the space.
“We often have very tight turnaround times, and employees have to sometimes work all night. At a coworking space, everything from tech support to security to food and housekeeping are taken care of for you,” he says. “I’ve pulled all-nighters and then headed to the airport directly from work, or vice versa. Having a place to shower and catch a nap really helps ease a hectic week.”
For Shivani Singh, 35, marketing head at Quantela, it’s the sense of safety offered by 24x7 spaces that she likes most. When Singh’s organisation shifted to a Workafella office in Hyderabad in March, she found herself working later hours at her desk, instead of taking work home with her, simply because she had the choice.
“In the office we worked out of before, most people would leave by 7 pm; most of the lights would be switched off and you would feel like you were all alone,” says Singh. “Here, the office is always well-lit. There are support staff and other professionals also working late. It’s comforting to know that you can choose to work till late if you want or need to.”