I had just booked my tickets to Amritsar to visit the famous Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. I had waited long enough to be able to cross the India-Pakistan border on foot. That item on my bucket list was finally going to be ticked off. But while that was happening, a sense of fear was rising around the world. An unidentifiable virus that originated in China was spreading fast. It was on February 7, 2020, that I was at Kartarpur Sahib and within a few weeks, India announced lockdown.
Coronavirus had taken the entire world by storm and bought it to its knees. An unprecedented event that none of us was prepared to attend. Our offices declared work from home and we carried our systems home. 2 years later too, with the omicron scare, things aren’t great either. However, the world has opened quite a bit and travelling/commuting has resumed.
Recently, I was invited to spend some time at Cokarma – affordable working space in Hyderabad. While I didn’t spend an entire day there, I did experience it. So this is going to be my Cokarma experience – the rise of coworking spaces in Hyderabad.
The New Normal
Over the course of the last two years, a lot of things have become normal. From ordering food and groceries online to conducting meetings online and working from home. For techies like me, working from home was a breather. I used to spend almost 3 hours a day on the road commuting to my workplace. That’s not the case anymore. Though the working hours have remained the same for me, it’s spread over the day.
However, for many of us, we miss going to the office. Meeting people off-screen and collaborating. We missed our desk, our chair, that window next to the desk, those plants and that air conditioner. We missed all of it. And keeping that in mind, a lot of coworking spaces in Hyderabad have cropped up. There are times I want to work from some amazing remote destinations in India while sometimes I just want to be around people and that’s where these coworking spaces come in.
What is a Coworking Space?
Before I share my experience of Cokarma, I think I need to shed some light on a coworking space. I won’t be wrong in saying that this is a fairly new term for a lot of people. Especially when people feel that I’m sitting at home holidaying and not working. The concept has been popular in other parts of the world, but it’s only in the last 5-6 years it has gained some momentum. Thanks to the pandemic, has fueled the rise of coworking spaces not only in Hyderabad but across India.
So what is a coworking space in the first place? The name says in all – it’s a collaborative working space. So instead of you going to the office, you go to a coworking space where you have an assigned desk just like others. The only difference is that the person next to you might be a freelancer or someone working in another company.
Coworking spaces are essentially shared office spaces. These allow for cost savings and convenience by having common infrastructure, sharing of equipment and utilities. You have almost all the facilities of a modern-day office – WiFi, Table, Desk, Pantry, AC – but you pay only for the time and the seat. Coworking spaces are good not only for startups but also for freelancers as it gives you an area where you can work peacefully.
The prices of these shared coworking spaces vary based on the type and number of seats you choose. You can choose a desk, a cubicle or a full private cabin, the choice is yours. I totally love the concept of coworking spaces and I got to experience it at Cokarma HiTech City
Cokarma – affordable coworking space in Hyderabad
Cokarma is a chain (if I can say so) of coworking spaces spread across Hyderabad. They have 4 coworking spaces in Hyderabad at Kondapur, HiTech City and Madhapur. They have a variety of seating options available – from hot desks to dedicated cabins. They even have board rooms along with many meeting rooms that you can use. Apart from that they also have a well-equipped pantry that can cater to your chai/coffee needs.
One of the most important things during the work from the home setup is the internet, and they have a hi-speed internet connection at all their locations. Another thing that is quite noticeable is their interiors and ambience – classy, minimal and refreshing. And I’m glad I could get a chance to experience them.
Durgam Cheruvu bridge View at Cokarma HiTech City
The highlight of Cokarma HiTech City is their location. On one side you have the mighty Inorbit mall while on the other, the building overlooks the beautiful Durgam Cheruvu bridge. Cokarma is located in the same building as that of Ratnadeep. From floors, 2 to 4 and terrace are used by Cokarma. On one of the floors, they have an open office structure with scores of desks spread across the floor. It’ll surely remind me of a typical ODC at an IT company.
They have a seating configuration with 4-6-8-10 seats in a glass cabin structure. So if you choose a desk, you might as well get a space in one of these cubicles. There were quite a few people who have been working from here for quite some time and they had decked up their desk so nicely that I was in awe of it.
Since there are glass cubicles, the entire floor has very low noise levels ensuring you can fully focus on your work. The entire floor is air-conditioned so you and your laptop can stay cool even during heated situations. Talking about the internet, I was surprised by it. I had a steady ~100mpbs connection. I had a couple of meetings with one video call and it went smooth. So if you’re someone who does a lot of video calls, the internet shouldn’t be a problem.
What’s refreshing about Cokarma is the interiors. I loved the interesting graffiti they have at multiple places. It adds a dash of colours to the entire setup. The quality of the desk is also pretty good and solid and the chairs are decent. The whole setup is comparable to a typical IT ODC. You can also bring in items to deck up your desk or even get monitors if you need one.
They also have a common printer that I saw, but I’m not sure about how the pricing works for that. The board/meeting room is also great for quick meetings. So one of the floors is completely occupied by a company and there are cubicles that are occupied by startups. So if you are a startup looking for a place to start your office, you could give this a try, I loved the setup. They also have a terrace which is quite windy and refreshing. It gives a wonderful view of the beautiful Durgam Cheruvu bridge.
Price of Cokarma
Having read the services offered and the photos of the place, I’m sure you all are interested to know the price of Cokarma. Below are the various options available at Cokarma:
- Day Pass – Rs 500++ – this is for a single day, you’ll get a random desk
- Dedicated Desk – Rs 5000++ / month – you have a dedicated desk
- Private Cabin – Rs 6000++ / month – perfect for teams
- Conference Room – Rs 2000++/ day – upto 8 people.
The prices vary based on the location, hence I request you to check out Cokarma pricing page for the latest update for each location.
All the above plans include the following services:
- 24/7 access – I guess Cokarma is the only one that provides 24×7 access to their premise
- Meeting Room Time – based on your plan, you get certain hours towards using the meeting rooms
- All Bills – electricity, water, power backup, maintainence etc. is all included in the plan
There are a bunch of people who can work from anywhere, bed, sofa, floor or a chair. But there are others who need a dedicated place to stay focused and productive. For all such people, coworking spaces are a boon. I spent only a few hours at Cokarma HiTech city, and totally loved the vibes of the place. Everything from the internet to the pantry reminded me of my office. The desk setup too is quiet and allows you to focus on your work. The design and interiors to are worth appreciating.
Talking about the price, I think this is very affordable considering you don’t need to pay anything. You have high-speed internet, a well-stocked basic pantry, clean desks and floors, and of course the electricity bill that you needn’t worry about. The only problem is the location. If you stay in areas that are far away from any of these locations, then it might be tricky. That at least is my case not only with Cokarma but other coworking spaces in Hyderabad as well.
While everything else is good, their booking process is also a little off. When you click on the Reserve Now button on the pricing page, it asks you to call a number. I checked with the team, and that is how booking will work. I don’t see any app or anything where you could manage your bookings. So that might be a bummer for a few of you.
Nonetheless, these places are super amazing for networking. You’ll find some amazing people while you’re working. I personally would love to plan a random day working from Cokarma. I truly enjoyed working from here, spending time in the pantry and taking a stroll on the terrace. You do need such times on some days, don’t you think so?