Careers

An alternative to working from home

Coworking spaces facilitate networking among professionals. An interactive session at one of the centres of 91springboard.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The ‘work-from-home’ is sometimes touted as a panacea for almost all productivity-related problems. It does spare employees long commutes. It does enable an employee to contribute to his team, while recovering from an illness.

It does help women return to work in a phased manner, following maternity. But the best of medicine is not without its side-effects.

While selecting the work-from-home option, you should be prepared for the side-effects. In the midst of a long-distance telephonic call with a client, you may hear the heart-wrenching squeal of your toddler.

The longer you ignore a wailing toddler, the louder he is going to get.

After trying it out for a while, Haripriya Anna gave up on this option.

“I tried working from home for 15 days, but my three-year-old son would not let me work in peace. There were too many distractions,” says 31-year-old Anna, who is on the payroll of a United-States based multinational company.

Fortunately, Anna found a viable alternative.

Haripriya signed up with a co-working space, near home, in Koramangala, Bengaluru, for a six-month membership, the cost of which was borne by her company.

“I have been spared the long commute, and at the same time, able to work productively without any distractions,” says Anna.

It is for these reasons many professionals are going in for company-sponsored slots at co-working spaces, as this combines the flexibility of the work-from-home option with a professional work atmosphere.

Some employers are actively encouraging their employees to take up memberships with coworking centres.

And, a spike in the number of co-working spaces encourages this trend.

India has around 350 shared-office operators, spread across 800 locations with Bengaluru, NCR and Mumbai on top of the list, says a CBRE research.

“In most cases, our homes are not built to function like a home-cum-office. Poor Internet speed and distractions at home are among reasons for employees seeking coworking space,” says Amit Ramani, founder and CEO of Awfis, which runs community workspaces at 40 centres.

With many working mothers booking seats at its facilities, 91springboard, which has 15 centres across eight cities, is planning to scale up.

“We are planning to do a survey before Women’s Day to find out how many parents would like to avail an onsite daycare facility,” says Saakshi Jain, head of marketing, 91springboard.

GoWork goes the extra mile, offering a shuttle service to the nearest Metro station.

Chennai-based WSquare, a coworking space exclusively for women, caters to entrepreneurs, women on maternity break and those who want to join the workforce after a long break, offers the space either on a monthly basis or for flexi timings for five to 10 days a month.

Cost benefits

For companies on an expansion drive, having a tie-up with a coworking space provider makes economic sense.

Around 40% of Awfis business comes from big enterprises, followed by small and medium business and start-ups.

“Last year, we had Vodafone booking 400 seats at our Pune facility for a two-year period,” says Ramani, adding that it works cheaper for an enterprise to have a tie-up with a coworking space as infrastructure is shared and immediate occupancy is possible.

Coworking spaces offer other benefits, which include networking, made possible by the diversity of professionals.

There are those from start-ups as well as large enterprises. And then, there will also be solopreneurs.

 

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 9:26:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/an-alternative-to-working-from-home/article22688668.ece

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