The Power of Community, a Business Boost for Waterman Member Rahi Khondker

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After working as an IT project manager for most of his career, Rahi Khondker came to the realisation that there was more to life than climbing the ladder in the relentless corporate world. He wanted to do something more fulfilling outside the four walls of his cubicle.

By joining the Waterman Business Centre, Rahi was able to find a sense of fulfilment and even belonging as he embarked on his journey to becoming a successful small business owner. Now, he has two growing small businesses.

He launched Get Stuff Done (GSD) Coaching, inspired by the mentorship he received from his business coach, making Rahi realise that his previous experiences could add value to others too.

After only five years, Rahi was so successful he was ready to expand into his second business: 7W Consulting, with a focus on project funding and joint ventures. While GSD Coaching is still his prominent business, Rahi now dedicates a majority of his time to growing 7W Consulting.

In his journey, Rahi learned how important it was to consistently network and be part of a thriving business community through shared spaces, especially since he’s actively interacting and collaborating with others through coaching fellow business owners and funding new business ventures.

A number of reasons have made Waterman coworking space the ideal work environment for Rahi, these include:

  • The common rooms made for easy, comfortable collaboration as Rahi could easily chat and network with other members.
  • The private office allowed him to focus on intensive tasks when Rahi required peace and quiet.
  • The meeting rooms enabled him to bring clients to the Waterman Business Centre and conduct important discussions in a professional environment.
  • The training rooms gave him the opportunity to hold networking events, which were integral to the growth of 7W Consulting.

It’s only fitting that Rahi discovered Waterman through—you’ve guessed it—a friend who recommended our flexible working space to him.

Now, Rahi has been a Waterman member for two years and hasn’t looked back since.

Many of our members like Rahi enjoy the flexibility of coworking spaces, realising that the extremity of either working from home or being stuck in an office cubicle all day can both feel isolating and demotivating. It just wasn’t the workspace they needed or wanted.

As human beings, we’re social creatures who perform best when supported by others. A shared space is different from a traditional office space where you’re surrounded by a lot of people (in some cases from multiple departments) that you don’t necessarily interact with, which can further exacerbate feelings of isolation.

With flexible work environments like a coworking space, the atmosphere is much more open and inviting. You gain the opportunity to network with others from different industries and collaborate with like-minded people while maintaining your own independence in your work schedule.

These are important considerations for Waterman Business Centre Members, like Rahi.

Business before a coworking space

“For 20 years I wanted to try working from home, especially since most of my career was spent in a traditional office space. After one or two years of it, you start craving that human interaction again,” said Rahi.

It’s not uncommon for people to feel lonely at work and this applies to all demographics: men and women, singles and people with kids, boomers and millennials. Everyone needs connection and meaningful interaction to thrive. Feelings of isolation shouldn’t be overlooked, as loneliness can result in a lack of productivity and motivation.

The two extremes of working remotely and the 9-5 office crush can both be demoralising in high doses. Pure remote work can lead to a lack of companionship and community while the traditional office environment typically prioritises output over social relationships, which can be made all the worse if individuals feel like they don’t share common ground or values with the people around them.

This leads many to feel like they don’t have a “work best friend” or anyone close to them, especially in competitive environments or situations where corporate hierarchies can be intimidating.

When employees feel like there is no one they can confide in and build long-lasting relationships with, regardless of what environment they are in, the result is the same: They hide in their cubicle or stay put at home and remain isolated, further reducing their social circles and social confidence, creating a cycle that can be hard to break.

Providing a solution for modern business

By joining a coworking space like Waterman, you can find a community of like-minded, independent people with shared values and start creating a motivating cycle of connection and inclusion. You become more engaged and productive in your work because you meet people from different industries, have a sounding board for ideas and innovations, and feel invited to collaborate.

According to Small Business Labs, around 80% of people who have memberships in coworking spaces expanded their social networks and took up the opportunity to turn to fellow members for guidance in their shared community space. The report also shows that 89% of members are happier since joining a coworking space.

It’s not all business either. Joining a community in a coworking space is also a great way to meet people who become lifelong friends. You are not restricted to mingling only with the people in your office or department at work. In coworking spaces you have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life with varying skills and experience, giving you the opportunity to learn new skills and expand your knowledge.

Many members choose to socialise with other co-workers outside work, on weekends or after work hours. In fact, 55% of people have networked with other businesses because of coworking spaces.

For Rahi, joining Waterman fulfilled his need for human interaction and gave him a sense of belonging in our community.

“In a corporate office, you’ll have different departments that can help you out but in a small business, it’s just you, the owner, and a small team facing all kinds of challenges. Joining Waterman allowed me to find other people from different industries who have the same drive and values. I found out I wasn’t alone because others were facing similar challenges. Beyond that, we all help each other in coming up with solutions too,” he said.

Coworking: it just works!

It’s clear from the above research, as well as Rahi’s own words, how coworking spaces build community and create motivating work environments that keep giving back.

Of course, shared spaces can only be effective if the space itself is conducive to the type of work you’re doing. Our facilities ensure that different members (whether you’re a small business owner, a solo entrepreneur, or an employee) can find a Waterman workspace that fits your needs.

“I still work from home, from time to time, but being a Waterman member is so handy because I use all their facilities. Almost half of my time is spent at Narre Warren where I hold meetings. I also go to Chadstone once or twice a week either to attend or hold events. When I need a quiet space to work through creative problem solving, I go to Caribbean Park,” Rahi explained.

Each of our coworking space locations have unique personalities, though they all have thriving communities and creative atmospheres:

  • Waterman Narre Warren in South East Melbourne is home to an established and innovative business precinct.
  • Waterman Chadstone is a good place to take clients and impress them with your workspace’s sophisticated and high-end amenities.
  • Waterman Caribbean Park makes use of one of Australia’s largest business parks to create a “jungle room” that allows you to take a break in a green oasis during your workday.

Aside from providing a fully functional yet distinctly diverse community in a coworking space, we also ensure that our members have the full support of our larger community, as Rahi found.

“One of my key marketing tools for 7W Consulting is holding events and Waterman really did a good job in helping me come up with monthly project funding and business expansion events. I could have implemented those ideas myself but since Waterman had a community of people, they took my events to another level and my reach became exponential.”

At Waterman, it’s not unusual for members to become partners in business. In fact, Rahi’s friend (who recommended our coworking space to him) is also now his business partner. The environment in our coworking spaces makes it entirely possible and easy to make genuine connections with other people, even if they’re from completely different industries.

When you’re regularly engaging in conversations and sharing the tricks of your trade, you can nurture business partnerships and even friendships with other members. Ultimately, coworking helps you combat loneliness and maintain your energy and productivity.

Research published in Harvard Business Review demonstrated that social ties are the most valuable aspect of a coworking space for members. When respondents were asked to describe a coworking space, three of the top five responses revolved around human interaction:

  • Community
  • Fun
  • Socialisation

Rahi has already introduced his own employees to Waterman Business Centre by having them come to our coworking space on a casual basis. He sees Waterman playing a significant part in plans to expand his businesses.

“The best way to understand the community aspect in Waterman is to experience it yourself. The ambience, the people, the productive atmosphere, and the community are amazing,” Rahi concluded.

If you’re ready to experience everything that a thriving coworking space has to offer, book a tour of the Waterman Business Centre.