When we started The Office Pass (TOP) nearly 18 months back, it was just another coworking space in India. We were riding on the increasing popularity of this new concept. Our first office was a 100% open seating concept at Sohna Road, Gurgaon, India. At a time where most coworking companies where focusing on private offices, we wanted to encourage collaboration and networking among our members – something that would have been difficult in a private format – and believed that to be our core differentiation; we were wrong.
Although we were successful i.e., our office was 90%+ occupied within the first 5 months and we were attracting new members who wanted collaboration & networking, this was not the primary reason for members to choose us over other coworking companies.
In November 2017, we started a Know Your Customers (KYCs) initiative wherein we captured additional information about our members which provided us greater insight into who they were. While reviewing this information, in March 2018, we stumbled upon one key factor – 53% of our members were residing within 3 kms of our coworking office and 65% of them were within a 5km radius.
The fact that people prefer a coworking space closer to their place of residence was not articulated by members anytime in the past. On digging deeper, an office nearby emerged as the single most important criteria for members to choose our coworking space. This became even more evident when we opened our next big office in a highly upmarket area within the city and offered its membership to an existing member. Only one person who was residing close to the new office opted for the change. We observed the same trend when we opened our next 2 coworking offices in April 2018; this cemented our belief that this trend was for real and highly scalable. We christened the term ‘Neighborhood Coworking Spaces (NCW)‘ and made it our core differentiator.
Subsequently, we spent significant time delving deeper into this concept, looking for answers to questions like why is NCW important for coworkers? What drives people towards Neighborhood Coworking? What benefit can NCW have on the economy in general? Assimilating some of our core learnings here in this post:
What is a Neighborhood Coworking space?
Neighborhood Co-Working (NCW), as the name suggests, is different from co-working as it caters to a nearby target audience (< 5 kms). The fundamental premise being that people love to work in a high quality office facility close to their place of residence / business over driving or commuting long distances. This is becoming increasingly relevant for a developing country like India, where infrastructure development is lagging behind population growth.
Why is Neighborhood Coworking (NCW) attracting co-workers?
Our members appreciate several benefits of NCW and we are happy to list a few here.
You can save time by evading traffic congestion and pollution
As explained by our member Rohit, a sales person with a renowned media house , “No one wants to spend a couple of hours or more in commuting on their way to and back from office. Yet, this is a bitter reality for countless individuals living in large cities. While it drains you of your energy by the time you reach your workplace, the pollution you face on the road is another added hazard that impacts your health negatively”. This was the reason that he persuaded his Noida based company to provide an office in Gurgaon, which was close to his residence and his customers.
As more and more coworking companies are offering offices in different neighborhoods, it has become easier for people to find a high-quality office closer to their place of residence.
You can save on commuting costs
While it is always cheaper to opt for a shared office than rent out a traditional office, you can further cut the costs by choosing a Neighborhood Coworking facility. This will bring down commuting costs drastically. Suppose you stay in Gurgaon, India and have to drive all the way to Noida, India every day which is 35 kms away (2 hour commute). This will cost you INR 12,320 per month. Won’t it be great to opt for a shared office in Gurgaon instead of having to slog through the traffic each day? This will help you to save approximately INR 10,560 per month on the fuel costs (taken @ INR 78 per leter) and save even more on your vehicle maintenance expenses. This can have a significant impact on your monthly budget.
You can maintain a better work-life balance
When you work in a coworking in your neighborhood, you don’t have to start early for work or reach home late after going through the traffic ordeal. In fact, such places help you become flexible in your work hours. At the end of the day you are left with more time to spend with your family or engage in other pursuits and hobbies. This translates into a better work-life balance, ensuring happiness not only for you but for your family as well.
You don’t have to ignore your health and fitness
Sitting for long hours at the office is bad enough for your health. On top of that, if you have to sit behind the wheels a couple of hours every day, you are definitely doing a disservice to your health. But the worst is if you can’t find the time or energy to indulge in any kind of exercise after a long and strenuous day at work. Such a lifestyle is sure to have a negative impact on your health. But if you work out of an office near your residence, you can save on the commuting time and energy and utilize that for exercising and maintaining your health. Or better still, you can walk to work!
You can contribute to the environment
If you use your vehicle to commute long distances every day, you can’t escape polluting the environment. But the scenario changes when you work from a place nearer home. You can easily cover the distance on foot or on a bicycle. Even if you make use of a car, you will be contributing less towards polluting the environment in comparison to long-distance commuting.
In conclusion, a Neighborhood Coworking (NCW) space lays the foundation for a person to enhance the utility of the 24 hours of their day by not only saving them time commuting – which can be used towards physical and mental well being – but also providing an environment where ideas run rampant. It opens avenues for an economy where infrastructural development is still in its infancy, and is a boon for the person, the environment and the budget! We hope we have laid a successful argument to motivate you to start co-working in your neighborhood!
Happy Neighborhood Coworking.