An evening in the new office of The Glitch Mumbai

The Glitch Mumbai has a new office. Rohit Raj, Co-Founder and the right brain talks about the new space, design and the thought process behind the agency's open door culture

The Glitch Mumbai

Rohit Raj is the Co-Founder and Right Brain at the digital agency, The Glitch and Facebook always takes care that I don’t miss out his updates. It became more so often from the time he shared his love for Bollywood and how as a kid he wanted to become Big B.

“Bollywood had a great influence on me as a kid and I used to enact scenes from Amitabh Bachchan’s movies. The other quality I possessed was to make people believe whatever I said. Like I made half of my class believe that Jurassic Park was shot outside my house. At some point my parents told me to stop fibbing around or make a career out of it. I made a career out of it.”

Recently the happy-go-lucky creative guy who also loves to call himself the right brain (left brain being Varun Duggirala, the other co-founder) proudly showcased the new setup of Glitch. Along with a couple of panoramic shots, rest of the Facebook updates stood true with the times of 360-degree photos. In a series of Facebook posts, Rohit created enough buzz for the very rusty yet classy Glitchplex 2.0.

A week later Rohit makes a comeback, armed with a bunch of cool photographs of the new office. And in a very founder style Facebook update he said this:

“The all new Bombay Glitchplex 2.0 now open for more business and more beer.”

And after seeing this picture I decided to visit the new office very soon:

the-glitch mumbai

Last month on a Friday at 5PM, Rohit invited me to their new office. I had been at the old office of Glitch, it happens to be in the same building. The moment I landed on the floor, reality hit me hard – I realized I am a misfit here.

With wide-open eyes, I saw a huge open space jammed with young colorful minds engaged in talks and banter. I saw rugged walls but no cubicles, there were chairs but people were hardly seated on them. I was standing in an agency, Friday evening was yet to arrive but the ambiance made you feel as if you’ve just walked into a high-end pub in Bandra West.

With the founders busy in a meeting, I was escorted to one of the many meeting rooms, which are small boxes covered with glass and enough to accommodate 5 or more people in them. While I was watching the agency folks and absorbing the design of the new setup, Rohit appeared with a broad smile. After a quick round of hellos, we decided to take a tour of the new office before it got buzzy. In an hour or so, the agency had planned for a football tournament and beers were about to hit the floor.

As Rohit began to escort me, I asked him when did they decide they needed a new office. “Our old office had a capacity for 70 but we moved in with 95. Later when it grew to 130, we decided that we needed a bigger space.”

And I also inquired about the warehouse look that makes you feel as if you are sitting in one of those old English pubs of Birmingham. “The warehouse feel you are getting is because of lack of money. When people have money they have false ceilings, we decided to keep the pipes open. They look cool and save us in costs. That’s why you see unpainted walls that bring out the rusty feeling.”

glitch-new-office

Glitch has been a true believer of open office culture from its inception days. The old office also had the same culture. “We have always believed in open office culture. It is more important and easy to know, talk to each other and it’s informal. Otherwise the minute you create barriers, it starts building shells.”

CEO Pooja Jauhari echoed similar thoughts over an email: “We’ve always believed in an open culture where ownership and freedom is not dictated by designation and hierarchies. Our space is a representation of this exact belief where ideas flow freely and cross-learning becomes a natural way of working.”

While there are no barriers in the agency apart from glass doors and walls, the agency has kept enough open space. “The earlier office lacked breathing space here we have made sure that there is enough space for people.”

The agency was lucky to find an entire floor vacant in the same building. Once the place got sorted, the next task was to find the mind to help design the new office. Art director Anindya Choudhury, a college mate of the founders was chosen for the task. “He had designed our earlier office and he wanted to do interiors for a while. Besides we had a limited budget so his help was a boon,” a smiling Rohit shared. “A lot of the design that you see, specially the raw feel is his inputs. Our objective was to get maximum ROI from what we had, like we do for our brands.”

One of the major highlights of the new setup is that while it is an open floor, it also has around 10 meeting and huddle rooms, a standing desk area and two grass lawns.

“We wanted enough space for people to collaborate and work.”

Meanwhile the floor has started playing music while Rohit shows me around. The first thing I see is a separate studio room for the agency and its client needs. From shooting videos, to screening movies, to having town halls, the room is going to play an important role in the mundane activities of the agency.

There is a small pantry which is also looked upon as the huddle room. “We want to start some more food services that could be a great energy booster for our employees.”

The tech and the HR team have their own separate and quiet corners. Away from the madness these teams choose to work in their own way and style.

The founders and the CEO have got their small see-through cabins. Both Varun and Rohit have chosen the left and right cabins keeping the tradition alive. Pooja’s cabin has a more central location.

After crossing a series of meeting rooms, he showed me his cabin. The love for movies is evident with a Tarantino autographed poster hanging in there with others. He wonders though how he missed out an Amitabh poster in his cabin.

rohit_glitch_cabin

Thereafter, we take the small staircase to take a look of the long loft which has grass lawns and more huddle spaces. This space also has small edit rooms. And is this how the agency looks from the top:

the-glitch-mumbai

While coming down the stairs, Rohit informed that while people sit with their respective teams, all of them work from one single floor. “The idea is to work together as a team from wherever they want. If you feel the noise is too much then you can go work from a quieter place. Besides we all have noise cancellation headphones.”

“As an agency we believe in an open door policy.”

There is an ongoing debate on the open office trend: is it good or bad. Some believe it’s cool but kills productivity. I believe that this culture brings equality at a work place. Besides, intent for work can be missing even if one sits in a closed-door cabin with zero noise.

Right now The Glitch Mumbai is 150-member strong but the office is equipped to take 200 plus people. Trust me the way the agency has grown in the last few years, I will not be surprised if they have to look for additional space soon.

A new office in the next six months Rohit? “Varun will kick me out if I say this to him.”