A healthy space to get work done
Shray Rattha shares his journey of tapping into the concept of co-working space and making it a successful and sustainable model in the city
CHENNAI: Shray Rattha’s has seen the best of both worlds — corporate and entrepreneurial life. He is the director and co-founder of Workafella, a fine example of a well-researched co-working space. He opened the first branch in TTK Road, Alwarpet in 2015 when the concept of a co-working space was still in its nascent stages in the city. In a span of five years, they’ve expanded to five branches in Chennai, five in Hyderabad, one in Bengaluru, and one in Mumbai. Rattha holds a degree in Business studies from Lancaster University. Excerpts from the interview:
What do you think about the scenario of co-working spaces in our city?
Five years ago, when we started out, there were relatively a few players in the market. We ventured into the market after doing our groundwork on how the concepts worked abroad. Now, the trend has picked up. Corporates are ready to invest and opt for shared working spaces to cut down on other costs. We have start-ups and big names who’ve tied up with us. Earlier, companies would ask for 10-15 seats for employees. But now, they’re ready to invest in even a 100.
Why do employees prefer co-working spaces?
Our aim is to provide a friendly atmosphere to ensure the comfort levels are met. There are group discussions, flexible work shifts, sufficient space, brainstorming sessions, and most important of all — affordable rates. People find this to be a safe environment.
How do you ensure a good work-life balance?
I never take work home. I’m fun at work and with family. If the pressure builds up and targets need to be met, then I switch on the serious mode. We live in a joint family where every day is entertaining. It feels good to be raised in a joint family with such moral values, especially when now nuclear families are the trend. My wife is a doctor and the two of us make sure we have time for healthy conversations.
How do you unwind?
Golf is my first priority when it comes to other interests. I play it twice a week. I’m also into football and cricket. Gaming is my stress-buster. I love motorsports and I’m a Formula 1 fan.
How do you stay updated with advancements in the industry?
I keep honing my skills to meet the requirement of technological advancements in the industry. I’m up-to-date with what’s trending and the news. I read Bloomberg and other business magazines to understand trading in stock markets.
What are your strengths?
My first job was with Deutsche Bank. I worked as an analyst. This prepared me to be a better negotiator. It helped me to be a smart thinker and get work done quickly. My present job demands quality conversations with clients and I’ve become a people person. Every profession equips you with new skills. The sooner you appreciate and adapt, the better you develop.
What are your future plans?
We are looking at expanding and branching out to multiple cities. Co-working spaces are expected to grow exponentially, especially with the mushrooming of start-ups and downsizing of corporate offices.