The gig economy has birthed exciting new concepts like shared office spaces, coworking cafés, hot desks, and meeting rooms all over the world.
India alone has more than 1,000 flexible workspaces today, according to the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Real estate consultancy JLL estimates that over 13 million people will be using coworking spaces by the end of 2020. Put simply, the sector is on steroids.
With the abundance of new coworking properties in almost all Tier-I cities in India, consumers are spoilt for choice. And, discovering a property that is most suitable — and affordable — can often be tedious. But, we found a fix in the GoFloaters app.
Started two years ago, this app lets you find and book shared offices, zero-rent meeting rooms, event spaces, and coworking cafés based on your geo-location.
Essentially, GoFloaters is gunning to be the Uber for gig economy workers. From early-stage startups to freelancers, and more – it matches everyone with on-demand plug-and-play workspaces for a month, a week, a day, or even an hour.
But there is a catch. GoFloaters is presently functional only in four cities – Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, and Hyderabad – with the promise to reach more.
The app has recorded over 5,000 installs on Google Play Store, and is rated 4.6 out of 5.
When you book a space via GoFloaters, you get to enjoy amenities including high-speed WiFi, printer, projector, scanner, plug points to charge your devices, etc.
In coworking cafes, which can be booked on a per-hour basis starting at Rs 35, food ordering is optional. So, you are practically paying for just the space.
But, if you do choose to order, you are eligible for Food Credits that offer you an instant cashback of 20 percent. The spaces and cafés listed on the app also promise a conducive work environment, with attention to lighting, ambient noise levels, etc.
If you’re a frequent space-hunter, you can avail subscription plans (or FloaterPasses), which allow you to pay for hours in advance or enjoy bonus hours.
At present, GoFloaters has a three-tier subscription plan: Silver (for 20 hours), Gold (for 60 hours), and Platinum (for 120 hours). With Platinum passes, you get 55 percent bonus hours, and additional discounts on meeting spaces and shared office bookings.
Quick dissection of the app
Choose your city to begin with.
It takes you to the homepage that displays a city-specific collection of spaces and rooms available. You can also narrow down your search by entering locality.
To cut down your search time, you can filter spaces by choosing a type – cafes, shared offices, meeting rooms, spaces close to the metro, etc., and types of amenities.
You can also browse through a list of pet-friendly spaces.
Click on a space for details. Every listing displays rates, number of seats, amenities (like smoking zone, outdoor seating, free parking, late hours, etc.) noise levels, open timings, location, landmarks, and more.
Hit the ‘book now’ button at the end of a listing to proceed. You have to select a booking date, duration, and headcount. To finalise the booking, you have to log in.
At the time of logging in, the app prompts you to select the type of professional you are – freelancer, student, writer, startup founder, SMB owner, etc.
Once you finalise a booking, the app shows you an estimated price. This includes the space fee and GST (18 percent), and also counts redeemable Floating Points (if any).
GoFloaters generates a booking id and displays a ticket. You can also sync the booking with your Google/Yahoo/Outlook calendars.
You can even avail Food Credits at the time of booking if you happen to choose a cafe.
But, for that, you have to first buy a FloaterPass. There are three plans on offer.
You can also check out GoFloaters Community Partners, which let you avail additional services like free software and SMS credits, exclusive access to consulting and guidance from startups, discount coupons, insurance, etc.
It has roped in top partners such as AWS, Google Cloud, Uber Business, Freshworks, Udemy, Razorpay, IBM Cloud, and others.
Why GoFloaters is supremely useful
GoFloaters rests on four pillars — availability, affordability, flexibility, and convenience — that are integral to the gig economy. In densely populated cities, where you have to pay a premium for space and other amenities, this app comes as a breath of fresh air.
Its linear and uncomplicated Discover-Book-Use-Pay structure is a delight to use. Even for beginners, the process is like booking a cab on Uber or a service on Dunzo, but with a different purpose.
The app is neatly designed, compatible with devices running Android 4.4 or above.
One user wrote on Google Play Store, “Great app with a unique proposition. Works well for me as I meet a lot of people for business meetings. It takes away the headache of hunting for a common meeting place. What I like the most is the choice of cafes that breaks the monotony of working out from a single location.”
One of the few negatives of GoFloaters is its limited geographical presence as it is predominantly focussed on South India.
Even though the founders had announced plans to expand by the end of 2019, the service has been a tad slow on a pan-India rollout.
If GoFloaters can build a robust base of coworking spaces, shared offices, and cafes all over India, it would be a force to reckon with. Millions of remote professionals in big cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi-NCR, etc., could do with a service like this – soon!
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)
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