At Waterman, we know that every successful business needs to stay agile to stay ahead of the game. As one way to manage employees returning to work, some forward-thinking CBD organisations realised that co-working hubs could provide a great range of benefits.
Harman Singh works for global engineering consultancy, GHD as a Smart Cities Consultant. Before COVID, Harman would travel an hour and a half each way to their Melbourne CBD office, Monday to Friday. Then, in November 2020, Harman started working from the Waterman Narre Warren hub, and is loving all of the opportunities that co-working in the suburbs brings.
Hello Harman, could you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m the Smart Cities and Places Lead at GHD Digital, where I pursue my passion of developing innovative solutions for cities, precincts and buildings. We have an office in the city and that’s where I used to go pre-COVID. Back in November, as things were opening up, I took up the membership for Waterman Narre Warren as it was a 10-15 min drive from my house. Initially I thought it would be a stop-gap arrangement before going back into the city. I really just wanted to be in an office environment away from my home, for a change. So started showing up at Waterman’s once a week initially.
I enjoyed working out of Waterman’s business hub so much that when things slowly opened up in the city, I decided that it made more sense for me to continue working from Waterman. So, instead of one day a week I started working two. The hybrid that I’m working now is a combination of three options: I call it the 2-2-1 model: 2 days from the city office, 2 days at Waterman and 1 day working from home.
How would you describe the environment at Waterman?
One of the things that I like the most about Waterman is the community here and all of the networking opportunities. My company, with thousands of employees all over the world, encourages our staff to be more entrepreneurial and innovative. This is such a key skill to have, as the volatile business environment changes around us all the time. Having employees with that entrepreneurial spirit or what GHD calls, a “Digital Mindset” is one of the key drivers for the big corporates these days.
When I come to Waterman, I get one thing that I don’t get anywhere else: the ability to sit alongside those entrepreneurs, those solopreneurs and those start-ups and scale-ups. That’s why I keep coming back: to leverage the amazing networking opportunities that are provided, in addition to the convenience of working in an office environment close to home.
Do you think co-working at Waterman has had any impact on your team at GHD?
Well, I think it certainly has prompted a lot of the people to think about a third option besides just working from home or working in the city office. People are starting to realise that there are more options than they think. Likewise, companies are starting to see it as an additional choice that they can give to their employees – especially for the companies who want to give flexibility to their people. Something that COVID taught us is that flexibility is the key and that there is no such thing as one size fits all.
Are there any benefits to your personal life that have arisen since working a hybrid model?
Obviously skipping the commute – I had an hour and a half journey door-to-door from my home to the city office every day. Those three hours each day can now be spent on other things like exercise in the morning, sports in the evening and perhaps anything else that I’d like to pursue from time to time.
Do you think that Waterman can benefit communities in any way?
There is a lot of value to the community when people from the city choose to come and work here. The feedback I’ve gotten from the Waterman community is that start-ups and scale-ups can get real benefits from talking to people from larger companies, especially if it’s related to their business. It’s an opportunity for them to reach out to people from corporates easily, which would otherwise have taken some time and efforts, because they happen to be in the same place at the same time.
Co-working at Waterman
Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t just for those starting a small business or freelance career. Entrepreneurial spirit can spread positively in large corporations and provide so many advantages for both employees and employers – especially in times of uncertainty.
Waterman’s specialty is our community. We offer a place to collaborate, connect, and create with like-minded people in your local area. Contact us today to discover our state-of-the-art spaces and start harnessing your entrepreneurial spirit.