CoWorking – My Learnings

Co-working or Coworking comes to us from the year 2005, a concept initially introduced by Brad Neuberg. Although as the year passed by, his idea saw its own maturity. Brad Neuberg gave a name to a concept which was just brewing at the moment in San Francisco, between all the upcoming technology and facilities. His idea was hyphen less and was simple “coworking. He had a clear vision of how to give people a touch of professionalism, who worked from home or as a freelancer.

Coworking, if I talk in layman language is when different people come to a place to work together but not for the same company. They just have one thing in common and that is their goal to succeed.

I have been working with SprouBox, a co-working space for sometimes now, and I thought this would be a great way to share what I learned being a part of this industry

Co-working taught me a lot of important things but the few I would like to keep with me are:

Ocean of knowledge:

Working in a place which is not a traditional office space but consists of people from different fields, companies of different range and ideas to breathe is always the best way to gain insight. When you work in a company, you know 100 of people around you are punching the same numbers as you. But working in a co-working space makes you stand out. It brings the individual power of yours from inside. Your thoughts become wide and your ideas become stronger. You don’t fight for a place, but you fight for perception. You grow as a company and you grow and an individual. A person learns to respect other’s profession and personality when he becomes very well aware of his own esteems.

You are in-charge:

What is better than the feeling of freedom while working towards your dream? You are the in-charge of yourself and your work. It’s you who decides over your working hour. You decide what time you have to come and which time you need to leave. It’s you who decide for long working hours or movie break in between. This helps people in working both effectively and efficiently. You are your own instructor and you are your own guide. You know when you want to shift to corner or when you require brainstorming with people. Everything becomes clear in your mind, your plans and your concepts.

Community:

It’s always better to be a part of the community. A healthy and friendly community helps you and your work grow in various levels of success. Working within a community provides you vast mastery in your own field. A community is full of talents in every field in the market. You take help and you provide some and everything works fine. Healthy competition and some hands for help are always a great deal for achieving what one desires.

Community helps you to be sustainable and open. There is a lot more power in unity. And working in a community of talented minds gives you that.

Being a part:

Working in a coworking space made me realize how good it feels to be a part. To be a part of someone’s success or to be a part of someone’s low time. When, in a closed place, works an entrepreneur, a freelancer, start-ups, techies etc there will be a valley of ideas and stories. From some, you will be inspired and from some, you will learn. People do not judge them on the basis of their success or failure in a coworking space, but they judge them on how much they tried and how cool the idea sounded. There will always be someone with all his/her ears to listen to what you have in mind. There will be support and motivation, a place full of inspiration.

Work and Fun, Do Mix Together: 

At coworking spaces such as SproutBox, there are always events happening. Whether a motivational talk to a movie night. It provides the best fun possible while working. People are always enthusiastic about impromptu fun sessions. This builds the community strong and close. People get to talk and know each other more. And who doesn’t want a break once in a while? The best part is, you can showcase yourself one side or be an observer on the other. There is knowledge everywhere; one must know to grasp it.

In case you are still waiting to make a move to a Coworking space and thinking why this extra expense – after all you can work from home, or work from a rented office, I request you to join us for a tour, or come down and spend a day coworking with us – and experience the joys it has brought me and our other coworkers. SproutBox Operates 2 CoWorking Spaces at the Moment, one in DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon (Where I sit out of) and Another one in Okhla Phase 1, New Delhi

Oh Yes, the Image on top – No this is not a food blog, just one of those days where It was raining, and we wanted to have some Pakoda’s (yes we are desis) and I organised an impromptu get together for our coworkers, around Tea and some Amazing Bread Pakoda’s and Samosa’s

 

 

 

The First Month

Running a Startup is a very interesting proposition, you could be a well established entrepreneur, with people to do every possible task, but when you start something new, and ensure that you are going to do it as a startup, you learn some new lessons, the journey for starting SproutBox though is about 5 years old, but we started construction in April 2015, and we opened our doors on the 1st of June 2015 to our coworkers, and in the last one month of operations, there are several things we learnt, several things we are yet to learn, and surprises that we did not think of, so if you are a startup, an entrepreneur, a freelancer, a coder, an artist, or a blogger or just someone who is looking at starting out to do something on your own, read on – I promise you that you will go back home and say to your self  “Why Did I not think about this earlier?”

Lesson 1: Use Technology

Well there is no debate, technology is a tool if you can use it, and have it work for you, from our messaging tools (slack), to our ticket management system (groove), and even our mailing list manager (mail chimp), technology has helped us come this far. Ensuring that everyone in the team from shared resources from our existing business’s to dedicated resources we have for SproutBox, needs to be updated with all the operational information.

Lesson 2: Have a Strategic Plan, Not just a Business Plan

Over the last few years there has been so much focus on the business plan, that we all end up forgetting what our strategic plan would be, and having this ready helps. Though there is not much to talk about it here, ensure that your Business Plan covers the “Who” and “What” of your new business wile the strategic plan covers the “How” and “When”.

Lesson 3: Define Your Vision Statement

Remember the elevator pitch, well we did enough exercises, and said we are a coworking space, but that was just not enough, over the first few days we realised, we were more than a coworking space, we are designed to be an accelerator, a conducive space for growth, a place where you come to collaborate, network, exchange ideas and grow.

Lesson 4: Delegate Authority

I am not good with finances – there I said it, though if you know me personally you would have already known this. Yes I am good with numbers but when it comes to checking the cheque books, updating balances, and planning cash flows – I am not the best person there, luckily Rajeev ji is, and this is what brings me to delegating authority. Trust is the first factor of a partnership, make sure you trust your partner, and delegate authority. While I manage the technology section, our website, and work with our Digital media team, we meet up once a week and discuss where we are, where we want to go, our revenues, our cash flows, and how things are.

Lesson 5: Build a Community

When we started out, Happy Hours Wednesday was more of an Idea, now it is a reality, the first Wednesday we were just 3 coworkers, and Rajeev ji and I, now a month later we are roughly 15 coworkers and us, but Happy Hours Wednesday is one of our bonding events, where we get together over lunch time or the evening, enjoy a snack together, have a conversation and build connections.

Lesson 6: Something will go wrong

Yes we planned for everything, backup Internet connections, Backup power from a Diesel Generator, backup manpower, backup everything – but something will go wrong! A fan will stop working, an electric appliance will mis-behave, or even a monkey will come and take away the cover of your water storage tanks (yes this happened to us) and then break the plumbing pipes (this happened to us also). You may have planned everything, but something or the other will go wrong – so be prepared, and take the challenges head on, make sure you communicate to everyone that you are handling it, and wherever possible delegate and get it done.

Lesson 7: Never be afraid to ask

Though I have always believed in this, but during times of trouble one tends to forget, yes there is always a web search on how to do something, but what I have learnt time and again is – it’s great to ask, pick up the phone and reach out to someone who is in a similar business, they will answer – always.