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When it comes to coworking, what we perceive is that it is a setting for startups to work together under one roof. But who said coworking is only limited to startups? Chattermill Bangladesh is is an example of the challenging that notion that only startups can cowork. Well established firms can opt for coworking as well. Chattermill is an UK based customer experience enhancing company and currently has operations in Bangladesh as well. We caught up with Mohammed Safquat Alam, the team leader of Chattermill Bangladesh to ask him of his views of running a multinational firm in a coworking setting.

‘At Chattermill, we process the feedbacks from customers on a daily basis,’ Mr. Alam said. ‘We have clients such as Just It, which is the biggest food delivery service in UK. Then there is HelloFresh, who are operating in USA, UK, Austria and Netherlands.’

Chattermill mainly focuses on reprocessing the customer feedbacks and making it more understandable for the firms. This helps the firms to know what the problems are and which areas to focus on. Chattemill has been operating in Bangladesh for one and a half years and Mr. Alam has been with the firm since the beginning. ‘I cannot recall the exact number but we have been working here for a very long time,’ Mr. Alam said. ‘So what happened was that, Chattermill was willing to expand its reaches across the borders. They were looking for people who could do their job skillfully. We got to know each other and I have been working here since then.’

What started with Chattermill’s team processing 600 comments per day, now has increased to 20 to 25 thousand comments daily. ‘ They chose Bangladesh for the reason that, the quality and speed of the work has been good since the very first day,’ Mr. Alam said proudly. ‘ We did not give them the opportunity to complain about anything. They have been very satisfied with us and also believe that they can expand even more with us.’

But what prompted them to choose a coworking space over an office? ‘To be very honest, the Chattermill office of UK works in a very friendly environment,’ he said. ‘o, we were not very much into hiring an office or something like that because the place would get very bored at that time. Hence, we thought that Hubdhaka would very much good example. The coworking environment here is amazing and we have been enjoying so far working here. We hope that we will be continuing here for a very long time.’

Mr. Alam, who used to work for a German based firm Rocket Intravent, was not familiar with coworking when he was looking for a space. ‘I never worked before in a coworking environment. But it was something I was willing to check out and it turned out to be a really good experience,’ he said. ‘At Rocket Intravent they have ventures like daraaz.com.bd which is the biggest online store right now in Bangladesh. So I have worked in their customs services. I was also in Taskeater, which which operates for clients all over the world.’

‘As for transitioning from a corporate job to a coworking setting I really love the current experience right now. In Bangladesh, the corporate sector is very huge but there are drawbacks to it,’ he pointed out. ‘Working in a corporate setting gives a lot of pressure because we are constantly under the supervision of someone, who is always trying to pressurize you. In a coworking environment, even if you are under pressure, you tend to do things on your own. The familiarity, the fun working environment and the lack of pressure.’

For an international firm like Chattermill, coworking turned out to be a very convenient work setting for them. ‘It is very easy for us to just amend with the environment and our needs,’ Mr. Alam said. ‘ For example, we need a lot of paperwork. It will be tough to get these done in other environments. We also need very fast internet. Internet is a very important issue for us. Whenever the line is down, we are completely blank. The coworking environment has provided uninterrupted internet services for us. The facilities are amazing and we feel like it was a good decision to choose a coworking environment.’

While Mr. Alam thinks that not many people are aware of the coworking style in Bangladesh, he thinks that people become very interested in it once they get to know about it. ‘For small teams, startups or anything that is growing, the budget is a very important thing. So maintaining an office by themselves causes the budget to increase a lot. That is a very important factor we do need to consider along with the environment as well. Also the opinions we get from the people around here helps us a lot.’

‘Working here, I got to know about many firms, who have very unique ideas and have been working very actively in their respective fields,’ he said. ‘Then again, I was not aware of that because working in a separate environment does not lead you to the information about what is going on. So, these things help us a lot. Everyone knows each other and are ready to help.’

Before signing off, he added, ‘Coworking is an amazing experience, much better than working separately. The environment is very productive and fun at the same time, the work gets done. So, all in all, it’s great.’


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