Look up- it's a spa! It's a wellness retreat! It's a bar! Nope, it's a co-working space!Binjal Shah
Much needed in Maximum City, The Mosaic is a luxury resort and spa, a gym, a bar and an office all rolled into one. Will it start a new wave of experiential co-working spaces in the ecosystem?
Eccentric workspaces with $5000 nap pods and WiFi-enabled flower meadows are changing the very definitions of an office, work culture and even work-life balance.
As major companies fall in line, scrambling to keep their ever-so-hard-to-please millennial employees satisfied, there is no reason coworking spaces shouldn’t aspire to that standard too!
In India, the plethora of co-working spaces that has mushroomed in the country’s various startup hubs have limited their competition to pricing-wars. The Mosaic, however, wants to bring a paradigm shift with properties that sport never-seen-before central themes – the first of which, in Mumbai’s Andheri East, is a space that could easily double up as a fitness centre and spa. Founder and Creator Gokul Das, gives a virtual tour.
What inspired Gokul to start up
Gokul Das, MD and CEO of The Mosaic, is one of its four founding partners. The others have limited their roles to being private investment partners in setting up and scaling up the business, and prefer not to be named.
In a career spanning over three decades, Gokul has worked extensively in the BFSI sector with reputed financial institutions namely Citibank, Standard Chartered, ABN Amro, and Great Western Bank, among others.
He wanted to break the monotony, by not only offering a premium co-working space that was visually appealing, but also had a whole different theme – wellness. “Helping our members reduce stress while at work is at our core, to improve work productivity. There is a significant opportunity in targeting well-being from a holistic perspective, targeting your body, mind and soul.”
The space starts with bringing nature indoors with lots of plants and plenty of natural light, to conjure up an over-all pleasing vibe. It has both fixed and flexible desk options, and office cubicals, which can be rented on a monthly to yearly basis. Pricing is premium.
The concept of ‘Body-Mind- Soul’ is embedded into every aspect of the space, be it design and ambience, or the value added services, like a library and massage room, and generally informal workspaces. At various intervals along The Mosaic, a co-worker can relax against a brick wall or sit on the comfortable sofa along the 140 sq ft green wall that is an instant stress buster.
The space also features a 1000 sq ft community room, or “fitness centre.”
The theme for the formal work zone is your classic cuddapah and desert teak stone, while the informal zone is made in brick with painted surfaces. A shower area has also been provided for co-workers to freshen up after engaging in the intensive fitness, wellness and health-based classes conducted in the fitness studio - like inner engineering classes from Isha Foundation (Sadhguru), an in-house masseuse (both male/ female), meditation sessions, mind-mapping sessions, daily classes in yoga, kick boxing, Zumba, Tai Chi, and other interactive workshops to aid learning and business problem-solving.
Additionally, the space is sustainable and energy efficient - the lights are selectively automated and a VRV system for air conditioning has been put in place. Natural materials were used as far as possible to reduce the volatile organic compound (VOC) element indoors. “We placed highly oxygenated indoor plants and peace lilies strategically to remove the mould from the air-conditioned air. Similarly, the snake plant, spider plant, philodendrons and dracaenas rapidly purify the air and remove formaldehyde, whereby, giving the occupants a healthier way of working,” says Gokul.
The Mosaic also provides mentoring and workshops to its members, and has appointed a Chief Fun Officer to ensure the happiness quotient never falters. An in-house guitarist also serenades the members ever so often, with his modern twist on old classics.
How the experiential experiment has worked
Not competing on price-points has already served The Mosaic well – illustrated by time, one startup, for which The Mocaic’s pricing was four times its budget, signed up anyway owing to the experience during a one-week trial, and reallocated budgets accordingly. “This was also a test for us to measure if we were truly delivering our promise of providing a nurturing environment and not just a desk,” says Gokul.
“Mosaic is a co-working space unlike others. Their concept of blending work and wellness is truly novel, and just what is needed in today's modern-day work-culture. Piping hot coffees, happy people, massages, and a breath of fresh air,” says Jaljeet Ajani, Co-founder at Synclarity, who works out of The Mosaic.
Another member, Angad Dev, who is a producer at Black Frame Collective, says there is an inspirational energy within Mosaic. “It has positively influenced my productivity and quality of work!”
“It’s been amazing working here, the ambience here is full of freshness, positive energy and it literally helps increasing your team productivity,” added Sachin Shetty, Sr. Business Manager at Brand Bucks.
Targeting young entrepreneurs and startups, MNCs testing markets, senior leaders looking for flexible office options while on work travel etc, The Mosaic launched its first centre in Andheri East towards the end of 2017, and have leveraged digital marketing to get the word out.
“Nearly all of our growth has been organic and for being one of the new entrants on the block, we are currently at 80 percent occupancy in a short span. On the business expansion front, the toughest part in the industry is finding commercial properties in the desired location and of the size that we require,” says Gokul, adding, “The growth and break-even will come with our expansions to five new markets across Tier I and Tier II cities in the short to medium-term.”
A look at the industry
“The trends point towards vibrant colours in shared spaces being directly correlated to positive energy for work affecting concentration, stress levels and mood. Motivational quotes, symbols/ icons and designs with comfier seating arrangements also contribute,” says Tarun Singh, an “office space expert” who founded The Design Republic two years ago, and has completed 15 sites of over 5 lakh sq ft new age serviced offices across Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.
As per a recent report by JLL, there are approximately 300 shared workplace (both branded and unbranded/unorganised) operators in the country at present, with almost 720 centres across urban India.
The potential market size for the co-working segment across India currently stands in the range of 12-16 million seats. Most of the co-working models operate out of single spaces with average size of ~2,000 sq ft space. The branded co-working space segment, in which The Mosaic operates, typically offers an average size of 11,000 sq ft space, and has occupancy levels nearing 100 percent.