With the rapid growth of modern day start-up ventures, finding office space seems to be a painful task. With land prices hitting the roof in all the major metros of the country, Virtual offices seem to be an increasingly popular affair. So we caught up with a few of our friends(more about them below) who were working out of Virtual offices i.e Shared Entrepreneurial ecosystems  or working out of a home-office to find out their views on the problem.

“No jhanjhat, only kaam fatafat” Annkur from Pricebaba quotes when asked about his experience, words which crisply summarize the Virtual office concept. Lots of small teams from upcoming start-ups come together under one roof to get a place to work.

Why? You ask?

The Pro’s of working from Virtual office:

  1. Cheaper than an office(Rent/Shared Internet/Electricity etc.)
  2. Sharing knowledge from other start-ups (e.g. How do fix this bug in AWS?)
  3. Feeding off each other’s energy – Those guys work till 9, we should too!
  4. Contacts – Investors & Customers
  5. Quick feedback from potential users (especially if you are a start-up targeting SMEs and start-ups)

As a start-up  you’re always cutting costs. The Fixed Deposits associated with the Rented Office is a huge expense right at the beginning. You learn the best practices by being exposed to the various tools others around you use. It gives a particularly small team a ‘social’ place to work.

Does it Work?

“Yes, I think its perfect because we are a small team.”

Anand from 91SpringBoard has been working with many such young startups .

“It’s been great. At an individual level startups have been appreciative of the fact that they can focus on their venture instead of running around managing their office. At a group level, we’re already seeing some of that interaction and learning from each other happening. This is with only 8 startups in the space (we’ve only been open for two months), so hopefully that will only increase as the space fills up completely.

As far as drawing the line, we think companies that grow to 10-15 employees or larger will need to move out into their own office. They start establishing a unique company culture, start settling into routines, so it makes sense for them to have their own space.”

 What about the Cons?

1) Sub-standard Internet Connectivity

2) Lack of Privacy. Sometimes there’s way too much noise and there is No Silent Room.

3) You can’t host customers in office

4) Shared offices mean shared birthdays, shared laughter sessions and shared sound space. One can easily get distracted and it’s difficult to discipline your employees.

5)Legality. Legally a virtual office facility can be tremendously painful, in case of a litigation. That risk would always exist.

Working at a home-cum-office seems to be slightly different in nature with Internet speeds being a major problem as well the restrictive environment which discourages growth. The Cloud seems to be successfully solving multiple problems and surprisingly more than 90% of the people we surveyed still continue to use Google Apps(Drive,Spreadsheets and Mail) to handle majority of their operational data. (Loads of potential for the CRM folks to tap in here).

Here are the 5 most Popular Apps used by people working out Virtual Offices & Home : –

1) Google Apps

2) Dropbox

3) Skype

4) Asana

5) Github

A lot of these folks have been using Exotel to virtually greet their customers and re-route the calls to their mobile phones also.:)

We at Exotel are thankful for their support and for spending time in sharing their experiences around shared/virtual/home offices.

The awesome people who helped us in this are (no order, randomness) Annkur (Pricebaba), Amit Sharma (GoUntucked), Sahil Khan (Tossed Salad), Keerthikiran (Grassroutes), Ritesh (Oravel), Brijesh (TunePatrol), Ashish (Codelearn), Prafull (HireRabbit) and 2 from the Incubators/Virtual Office providers – Arpit Agarwal (T-Labs), Anand Vemuri (91 Springboard).
AUTHOR: Ajay Bhise

Life Explorer. Engineer. Sales Man.

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