A new address for co-working

While the lockdowns and subsequent restrictions had them close their doors for six months, business has been steady at 60 per cent capacity.
A new address for co-working

CHENNAI: A year since the pandemic, when many organisations are still far from removing their work force out of the comfort of their home offices, one kind of workspace seems to have garnered particular attraction and plenty of takers. You wouldn’t have to look further than Two Trees, the co-working brand that prides itself in being a boutique enterprise that doubles as an incubator for start-ups.

While the lockdowns and subsequent restrictions had them close their doors for six months, business has been steady at 60 per cent capacity. The clientele they have now is quite an indicator of where the co-working business is headed amid uncertainty. “Post-pandemic, the kind of people who come has changed. Earlier, we used to have companies and corporate start-ups occupying the space.

Now, we have a lot of individuals employees of IT firms, for example, who are supposed to be working from home but do not have the comforts for taking a call or hosting a meeting coming in too,” shares Keerthana Chandrasekaran, one of the founders. There’s also been an increase in the number of people hiring their conference rooms for meetings and few days of work, reveals Priya Goutham, the other founder. “They would like to come huddle, do a twoday conference with their team and disperse. Then, they would come in again for a few weeks the next week,” she explains.

Priya Goutham and Keerthana Chandrasekaran
Priya Goutham and Keerthana Chandrasekaran

A homely conversion
While the needs of people seeking out co-working spaces seem to be evolving, that Two Trees is able to meet them on these grounds has helped them stay ahead of the curve. Unlike other brands that mirror the aesthetics of a corporate work place, all of Two Trees’ venues are independent houses that have been converted for the purpose. It offers you cozy corners, besides the bigger rooms; you’re welcome to the garden and open spaces too. That it has a linear air-conditioning system only adds to the attraction.

The integrated café not only fulfils one of the client’s basic needs in-house but also offers a convenient place for them to meet with investors. Besides, they have specifically created an ecosystem that helps start-ups get the help and input they need in getting their business on the road. “We have prerequisites like a lawyer and financial consultant in-house.

They are start-ups themselves but are part of the co-working ecosystem. So, if you want your name registered, get verified, fill up a partnership deed, we have a law firm that does that. Then, there is a finance concern that handle fundraisers and the like. It’s typically like an incubator but outside the research area,” elaborates Priya.

Doing their part in making a difference in the world around them, Two Trees offers a discount to start-ups run by women and those working in the area of social impact, she adds. There have been a number of start-ups, since Two Trees’ inception in 2018, that grew and moved on to bigger spaces with larger teams. Even since the pandemic, three businesses — one each in the food, digital and finance sector have continued that legacy.

Creating bonds
With the pandemic still raging and numbers rising every day, you’d think that people might be a lot more wary of sharing spaces with such a disparate gathering. But it’s been far from it and refreshingly so, says Priya. While stipulations about temperature checks and symptom disclosure have been worked into the contract, it’s the Friday Games that have gone a long way in bringing people together. “Every Friday, we bring them together, let them talk about their business and if there are people who can benefit from each other, we see the change there.

For example, a brand of soft drinks launched here. One game night, he gave the soft drinks to everybody. And sure enough, everyone became his customers and he’s been supplying the drinks for every game night since. So, there’s a semblance of them all belonging to one place. One of the companies that moved out recently was so reluctant to leave. So, they had a party and invited everyone to it. That’s the kind of comradeship we’ve built and it’s healthy to see a different kind of co-working space compared to what it was before the pandemic,” she shares.

With our new-found WFH culture likely to see us through this year too, not everyone wants to keep at it any more. While a section of people have been quite comfortable with the arrangement, there’s growing restlessness that has others wishing they were back at work already. It’s these people that might soon benefit from co-working spaces like Two Trees, says Priya. And those who rely on collaboration as part of their business model. With this in mind there’s much to look forward to in the arena of coworking, it seems.

Something’s different
All of Two Trees’ venues are independent houses that have been converted for the purpose. It offers you cozy corners, besides the bigger rooms; you’re welcome to the garden and open spaces, as well.

For details, visit: twotrees.co.in

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