Co-working spaces in the city offer freelancers and start-ups a lot more than a space to set up office

When Syed Anees Jafri began to expand his startup venture, one of the first things he did was to look for an office. Having worked from an apartment for so long, as most startups in the city do, he wanted a bigger, better space. “I had trouble hiring good candidates because everyone that came in to be interviewed would look around and wonder about their job security,” says Anees. To rent a space for six people cost no less than Rs. 80,000 and that’s excluding high speed internet, beverages and parking. Rishav Rastogi, cofounder of Hitwicket faced similar problems while looking to rent a commercial space. “We had trouble finding a commercial space small enough for a team of six. We found that working out of an apartment was cheaper at that stage,” he says.

We met Anees it was at the premises of Rent-a-desk, a clean, swanky co-working space in Banjara Hills that he has opened up to other startups, freelancers, or anyone who wants a hassle-free workspace. While the approach to the office may not equal that of a posh corporate office, the interiors are well designed and neat, offering the right ambience for a pleasant work day. After a month of operations, all but four spaces at Rent-a-desk are taken. This is one of the few co-working spaces that have come up in the city during the course of the last year. All of them offer shared desks or private offices, a conference room, free high speed internet, wireless printing and scanning and flexible membership plans, each has a different selling point aimed at people at different stages of starting up.

Hatchstation is a no frills space which came up about eight months ago and caters mainly to those working in IT. It offers a comfortable space, connectivity and a conference room for meeting.Rent-a-desk has put in efforts to make sure its interiors look pleasant. They also have a pantry, lockers and two private cabins for teams who might want a little privacy. Coworkzone in Jubilee Hills is primarily a ‘plug and play’ space for more mature start ups – they offer private cubicles for small teams. “They can choose to bring their own phones, printers, scanners and any other office equipment if necessary,” informs owner Pramod Kiron.

The average cost for a desk, in most places is Rs. 3500-5000 per month. At Roots, Tarnaka where the focus is mainly on building a community, workers can also contribute through social capital in the form of helping with a project or voluntary donations. “We want the coworking space to be part of the larger unit of Roots which is built on sustainability and the sharing economy,” says Mallik Posanipalli of Roots.

The Valley, Banjara Hills also focuses on building a base for programmers and coders in the city. While cost and convenience are definitely factors that draw people to spaces like these, the relationships formed with co-workers who turn into potential clients or collaborators that is the biggest benefit. “We want the place to be a hotspot for programmers so that if someone has an idea but not the technical expertise to make it work, they can come here and find people to work with,” says Sarjeel Siddique who runs The Valley with his brother. To this end, all the spaces organise or plan to organise workshops, seminars and talks that will foster a spirit of collaboration within their coworkers.

While Hitwicket, having just found an investor is ready to rent expand operations and rent a commercial space, they operated out of an apartment that served as a home cum office for a couple of years. Working from home, however, requires “real discipline. Especially with a start-up - the work never ends. So you are either always working or never working,” says Rishav, stating another reason why people choose to go to coworking spaces.

Speaking about such spaces in Hyderabad one must mention Lamakaan, which is, among other things, a co-working space - it has space to sit down and work, access to free internet, refreshments and food at an affordable rate, and above all a community of people that it has fostered through a couple of years’ of hosting talks, workshops, art shows and plays. In a sense, Lamakaan has achieved for the liberal arts and culture what these new spaces are hoping to create for the city’s business and technology start ups.

Why co-working?

Economy Costlier than home but cheaper than an office

Ambience A place devoid of domestic distractions(Wasting time on Youtube is a lot less likely with people around)

Networking Meet your next client or partner

Community Inspire and be inspired by like minded people