Tag Archives: shared office space

co-working space

The secret to effective networking in a co-working space

Every blog, article or any person who has experienced a co-working space talks about its countless benefits, one of them being- excellent networking. When people from different academic backgrounds and varied interests work together under the same roof, then there is bound to be some constructive communication. But, the question here is how to make these interactions effective and productive for your business. Here are four secrets that can transform the way you network in your co-working space.

Break the ice, start the conversation

A conversation which isn’t business related is the best opportunity to connect. From a simple hello, a quick chat on a coffee run or a fun discussion at common events, coworking spaces provide a host of opportunities for you to network better. The focus should be on making connections and having a conversation, as compared to seeking for an opportune moment to pitch your business.

Share ideas, opinions and knowledge

Sharing information that can add value to someone else’s work or life will not only help a co-worker but also lead to future gains. Sharing does not involve giving away your trade secrets or your next business idea; it merely means imparting knowledge. A co-working space emanates of openness, innovation and creativity. Using this to your advantage will put you on the receiving and giving end of useful knowledge.

Let your passion speak for itself

When people say, ‘Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’, they’re almost a hundred percent right. No amount of hard selling can replace passion. If you’re passionate about what you do, it will automatically show in your work. Selling your product involves making your customers familiar with it and getting them to buy it. On the other hand, your passion sparks curiosity and helps you build relationships.In such a situation, your co-worker might not need your product. Once they see your passion and your friendly nature, they’ll feel a need to recommend you to others because they like you and want to be helpful.

Socialize, not just network

A great perk of a coworking space is the opportunity to attend various events. Shared cafeterias are also another added benefit. Such situations create a friendly environment, which becomes an ideal place to start building new connections. However, building connections shouldn’t be your only goal, rather socialising and getting to know your co-workers is equally essential to help your business grow. So, use events and cafeteria’s to your advantage and never hesitate to talk to other people. Places like these attract people who are open-minded and looking to build connections.

office space

Smartworks cuts the ribbon on its first center in Chennai

Smartworks, kicked off the new year by inaugurating its very first office space in Chennai. Being India’s largest provider of shared workspaces, Smartworks decided to launch its first bespoke shared workspace centre in Guindy, Chennai.

“Guindy is the hub for small and medium-sized companies and is extremely well connected through all modes of transport, making it one of the most desired locations for setting up a serviced office space.” said Neetish Sarda – Founder Smartworks.

It’s strategic location in Guindy, proximity to CBD, and excellent connectivity through all modes of transport, make it an ideal location for an office space. But, seamless connectivity is not the only thing this office space has to offer. The 45,000 square feet state-of-the-art centre with 900+ seats, offers world class workspace design. A workspace that is adaptable and ergonomically sound is the sign of a great modern workspace and Smartworks Chennai does just that. Vibrant colours like red and orange line the walls, while cooler colours like green and blue evoke feelings of tranquillity and steadiness.

It also boasts of a host of amenities such as cafeteria cum lounge serving healthy food options, gaming room, gym, medical room, meeting rooms, conference rooms, AV lounge, concierge services, fortnightly community events and many other facilities to make workspaces hassle free and aid in improving the productivity of its members. The cafe, has a charm of its own. With an overall color scheme of blue and white, it brings out the aquatic theme, while inevitably promoting a peaceful and calm atmosphere. Complementing that is the colourful chairs and the hand-painted wall art. Such an exquisite combination of different materials and elements makes this cafe one of a kind.

Smartworks made its pan India foray in April 2016 and in a short span of 16 months, has emerged as India’s largest and fastest growing player in the shared office space and co-working segment. Smartworks presently has 16 centres across nine cities covering more than 900,000 sq. ft. space and plans to expand to 3 million square feet, in over 20 Tier 1 and 2 cities, pan-India by the year 2020.

“We aspire to reinvent India’s workspaces with a simple motto – ‘Create office spaces where people ‘want’ to go, not just ‘have’ to go!’. Smartworks’ newly launched centre in Guindy offers affordability, accessibility, tailor-made office spaces and access to various community events, workshops and seminars.

In today’s world, rich technology infrastructure is a major business driver and is one of our major offerings in all our centers. Smartworks offers a ‘futuristic workplace’ that not only offers best in class technical support to its clients, it even offers fantastic designs and personalized value-added services.” said Harsh Binani – Co-Founder of Smartworks

Another advantage of the Smartworks Chennai Office was that even before the launch, the Chennai centre already had a strong client base of companies such as Redington India Limited, Morgan Advanced Materials India Pvt Limited, Greaves Cotton Limited amongst others. Riding on this accelerating growth and demand from a strong client base, Smartworks is planning to further expand its operations in OMR,Chennai. Apart from Chennai, Smartworks also plans to expand to other parts of Tamil Nadu in the near future particularly Madurai and Coimbatore.

Here’s a sneak peak into our Guindy, Chennai office:

Experience the convienece we bring with our offices with the drone shot from Smartworks, Guindy, Chennai

co-working space

Location combined with amenities stand out as integral factors in choosing co-working space

Going by famous expression coined by real-estate tycoons, three factors matter the most when it comes to real estate- ‘Location, Location & Location.’ This dictum is followed by a majority of people in the business.

While we’re no real-estate gurus, we do have an expertise when it comes to choosing the right co-working space for your business. There is plenty of advice floating around on the internet and in the real world for businesses on a lookout for shared spaces. Mostly this information is either too amateur or too complicated to decipher and follow resulting in a confused business, unable to make the right decision for their selves.

We, at Smartworks, to make it easier and precise skip the technical and cumbersome jargon and shift our focus to only two factors. The first, passed on to us by real-estate legends- Location. Second, a factor we figured out with our experience in the business- Amenities/ Facilities.

Why Location?

A centrally located office is largely significant in how much value you get out of your membership. A location, having good transport connectivity, nearby entertainment facilities and convenient stores, decent restaurants, parks or other reputed companies is a win-win situation for your business. An impressive neighbourhood or a prestigious cyber park not only impresses potential clients but serves as a lucrative factor for the prospective employees as well. A short stroll in the park post lunch or an evening out at a nearby restaurant with colleagues serves as a welcome break from the mundane routine at the office.

On the flip side, choosing or getting a centrally located office space is no easy feat. Every location requires a thorough research and some ground-breaking determination to finalise. When it comes to a co-working space, the importance grows manifold.

For instance, at Smartworks, we make sure that our offices are located in the heart of the city to cater to the needs of a majority of businesses. Yet, an essential factor to remember is that every business has its own requirements so always choose a location that works for you and the needs of your business.

What to look out for?

  • Easy to reach
  • Good parking facility
  • Superior connectivity to public transport
  • Safety and security precautions
  • Convenience

Why Amenities/ Facilities?

Does your business require a fast Wi-Fi connection, an access to an excellent 3D printer, Skype room for client calls, suitable space for brainstorming sessions? Or you need something for yourself like a cup of coffee or tea early morning, a cafeteria offering healthy food or home-cooked food options? Clean toilets?

First of all, it’s quite challenging to work in an office not offering facilities which are a necessity for your business. Secondly, it’s equally difficult to work in a space which does not cater to your basic needs as well. Every office-goer has some requirements to be fulfilled. It’s a simple logic- the more needs met means an increase in the happiness index of employees which automatically equals to better performance at work and an increased job satisfaction. That is precisely why it’s also important to find a co working space that gives you everything else you need to maximise your work experience.

The creation or complete destruction of the value proposition of an office space depends entirely on the infrastructure and amenities it has to offer.

Ideally, a business should look for a co-working space that caters to all their needs by providing a membership plan which makes you productive sans lucrative extras you will never use.

A co-working office space like Smartworks offers all the basic as well as luxurious amenities like a Smart cafe or a weekly entertainment session. On top of that, a co-working facility like ours helps balance the work/life equation and provides a daily dose of fun as well!

What to look out for?

  • Engaging working environment
  • Good internet connection
  • Sanitary bathrooms
  • 24-hour electricity back-up
  • Good cafeteria and drinking water
  • Comfortable seating facility etc.
coworking technical support

When all else fails, tech support saves!

The life of an ordinary office-goer involves everything from dealing with clients, making presentations, to handling technical difficulties. While most of us sail through the above issues, it’s the technical problems that has even the most patient colleague frantically hitting their keyboard in utter frustration. Service providers are nowadays not only provide shared or coworking spaces but technical-support is an integral part of these services

Fortunately, we live in an era where most of our tech issues are solved through tutorials or how-to’s available online. On the other hand, some issues require swift action from the tech support. Why? The following real-life example will answer your question.

A colleague worked as a senior manager in a well-known consultancy firm at his previous job. One day, he was finishing up some final documents before closing the project which the team had been working on for six months. During the process, his system prompted him to download a new upgrade to the existing software.

Taking that as a menial task, he downloaded the software while half-heartedly reading the instructions. One confusion led to another, and his entire system crashed. He was nonplussed that how something so simple could be so complex at the same time. That’s where the problem lies. However tech savvy one might be, such a situation could only be solved by the tech support team.

Needless to say, a dedicated tech support is a necessity for almost every firm. It not only saves you time and effort, it (literally) saves your ‘work’ too. At Smartworks, our services are not only confined to offering coworking technical support, but we have a tech associate available on call to ensure our clients never lose out due to a technical snag.

To shed light on this relatable issue, we launched our latest brand film to tell our audience to focus on their work and leave the hassle-filled technical problems to an expert.

Watch the video and tell us if you can relate –

co-working space agreement

Signing a co-working space agreement? Keep these points in mind!

While working in a co-working space is slowly yet gradually gaining popularity in India, there persist several confusions regarding the working of the agreement. Where some argue that the co-working arrangement is similar to that of a lease agreement, some claim that it’s just like entering into a rental agreement.

But in reality, working in co-working spaces is like checking into a hotel room where you get access to avail all the facilities and services (of course at a cost) without owning or renting the property.

In other words, co-working space agreements are service agreements in which coworkers use the space for a limited period (according to their needs) and leave when they are done. These contracts don’t bind the person to a company forever.

Since now you know what the co-working agreements are, we will take you through six things to keep in mind when entering a coworking agreement. Most people tend to ignore these factors when opting for a coworking space.

Let’s see what they are and why you should keep them in mind:

  1. Nature of the Agreement: First thing first. The nature of the co-working space agreement should be such that it gives full liberty and permission to the member of the co-working space to use the premises and the ancillary facilities transparently. While the possession, ownership and control of the location will be with the owner of the area, the member client can utilize the services freely. The agreement must also clearly state the duration and the validity of a service agreement and the mode through which it will be extended, if and when the need arises.
  2. Monthly Fees and Payments: The monthly fees, payments, additional fees and renewal fees should be mentioned in the co-working space agreement. While this could vary from contract to contract, monthly fees and payments are usually payable on the first day of every month to the owner of the co-working space. Make sure that all the information related to the mode of payment is specified along with the penalty fee. The deposit refund in case of termination of the agreement must also be clearly specified in the agreement.
  3. Use of Premises: This is one of the most important clauses and should be laid down quite clearly by the owner of the co-working space. The access of the workspace must also be clearly mentioned in the agreement including the timings and days of the week.
    Furthermore, there should be an additional pointer talking about the use of illegal downloads or infringement of copyrights/trademarks. If the client wishes to use any additional equipment or items, he/she must inform the owner in advance to avoid any penalties or chargers.
  4. Insurance: You can’t really change much here. Just make sure you comply with local regulations and know what is covered and what’s not under your insurance. Unless law binds you, do not insure the coworker’s property: they should take care of their own property.
  5. Policies of the Workspace: Co-working spaces are all about utilising the same place with different people from different fields. Therefore, the procedures relating to the use of assets and physical furniture and fixtures such as tables, chairs, electrical fixtures, kitchen utensils, et al. should be clearly specified in the agreement.
  6. Universal Feature: Last but not least, a co-working service agreement must be universal in nature as it caters to different people. Typically, the space is shared by people who work in startups, established companies or service professionals who are in consulting or advisory fields. Therefore, the agreement must be such that allows individuals and diverse enterprises to fuse and work with ease. The use of technical jargons must be minimised to make them easy to understand.
co-working office space

Building a workplace (Co-working space) that works

Fun. Inspiring. Productive. Engaging. If you wouldn’t define your office space with any or all of those terms, then there is definitely something not right with your co-working office space.

There are multiple reasons to push each one of us off balance at work. For some, it could be the slightest commotion, like swinging doors or talkative employees, while for others, it could be disruptions like unplanned meetings or frequent discussions. However, the one thing that distracts almost everyone is the dull or boring workspace. There are numerous reports, indices, and studies such as Gensler’s Workplace Index, The Leesman Index,  Steelcase, and others that explore the relationship between the office space and business performance metrics, productivity, and what employees value.

As per these reports, co-working office space is strongly correlated to employee productivity and performance and even a small shift can have a dramatic impact.

This physical workspace is the one we see, touch or smell. It could be the art that hangs on the walls, the office floor plan, a colleague sitting next to you, and any other perks we might get in form of catered meals in a beautiful cafeteria, an on-site gym, or a video game area that we (employees) can use to unwind a bit.  

But before reading on, think for a minute about your co-working office space and how it makes you feel. Do you get excited and energized or do you feel as if you are walking into a hospital or a doctor’s office?

If it’s the latter, then there is some learning to pull out from some of the greatest offices across the globe. Both the employers and the employees play crucial roles in making these blueprints effective.

There are no ‘fit-for-all’ workspaces

Some of the most progressive offices across the globe are not just about an open floor plan or a cubicle, rather they’re about giving employees multiple moods of working. Consider SAP, Europe’s largest technology company, which has an open environment, cubicles, a collaborative innovation hub, a co-working cafe, conference rooms, smaller meetings rooms, and areas for presentations. LinkedIn, Cisco, Airbnb, and many other organizations have similar environments. To put it simply, the key is to shift away from having a single floor plan to integrating and incorporating multiple floor plans to improve productivity.

Imbibe your culture

As opposed to what is largely believed and perceived, productive office spaces are not just about throwing around beanbags, ping pong tables, and cool looking art just for the sake of doing so; rather, they are strategic investments. A desk, cubicle or a workspace must reflect the values and the culture of the organization. For instance, a walk down the design firm IDEO’s San Francisco office feels like wandering into a child’s playhouse, with jars of colorful paper clips, pens, and other tools for creative expression lined up at the entrance.

IDEO’s San Francisco office

Innovate, change, implement, repeat

According to a few experts on productive workspaces, one should treat their physical space like software. Just like you iterate, make changes, upgrade, and evolve software, physical space needs to be thought of in the same way. Take for example Airbnb, which constantly experiments and tests new office layouts and environments every now and then.

In a nutshell, creating inspiring office spaces is not about spending million dollars on changing the entire look and feel of the workspace. Instead, they are small changes that help organizations and employees shift away from thinking of work as a utility to ‘beautiful experiences’.

shared office spaces

More than space, shared office spaces are breeding gainful networks

Do 500 Facebook friends, hundreds of Twitter followers and thousands of Instagram friends make us a networking guru? Well, not really. These numbers might make us socially and digitally active, but in the real world it misses building a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep us going.

This networking is all about creating a fabric of personal contacts that will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information whenever required. At shared office spaces, networking is a constant activity. When people work in the co-working spaces, they learn that they can help each other in ways they had not imagined before. Regular interactions between members lead to strong relationships that can lead to mutually beneficial partnerships.

It is one of the most useful means to gain knowledge and let others know about your business. The more you connect with people, the more clients you create for your business. That is precisely why a lot of countries hold global startup competitions or international tech events that see a convergence of talent from across the globe. People, who understand its importance, attend events, workshops, and gatherings to get in touch with as many people as they can.

However, that’s not the only benefit of networking at shared office space. In fact, that’s only the beginning.

Not a forced interaction
The foremost benefit of working in shared office space is that networking is an inherent part of the setup. In a co-working spaces, professionals come from different skill-sets and backgrounds, and they collaborate to achieve their respective goals. They meet and develop a relationship naturally without forcing each other to do so. Their primary motive is to achieve their goals where networking comes as a by-product. Thus, networking happens in the process of working together and not because you are present in a boardroom or a conference where you must exchange your cards forcefully.

Allows skill sharing
In addition to sharing knowledge and building fruitful relationships, co-working spaces also enable companies to have the best available resources in front of them. Skill sharing is at the heart of shared spaces. When you’re a part of a community, the best way to see it grow is to help opportunities and knowledge flow circularly through it. The notion of ‘pay it forward’ should be at the center of your work. When you are helping others to flourish, they will always be willing to help you do the same.

Ambience promotes connectivity
Networking becomes way too easy and comfortable if the atmosphere is relaxed and soothing. The static nature of workforce in a traditional office setup doesn’t give enough networking opportunities. You work with the same set of people every day. In some cases, workers in a traditional office set up feel skeptical about networking with colleagues, seniors or juniors because of insecure atmosphere and internal politics.

Shared office spaces, on their part, are free from all these constraints. The absence of working hierarchy, formalities, and job insecurity doesn’t bog down workers in shared spaces.

Some folks intuitively know how to network in co-working spaces, whereas others have to learn it. Networking in the shared office spaces is often low-key, yet with high rewards. Just remember, people do need people. The more you build healthy working relationships with those in your space, the sooner you get to expand your horizons and move your business ideas forward.