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Student accommodation business GSA already had offices established in London and Dubai when it made the decision to add another office in Bristol. Training Specialist, Sadia Ghazanfar, tells us about how they came to choose Origin Workspace as their Bristol office – and why she’s nicknamed the city ‘Bristopia’

What does your day-to-day role involve at GSA?

Every day is different at GSA! We provide student accommodation, globally – and so at the heart of that is our amazing operations team. My job is to aid the training of staff to ensure we’re doing the best we can for students.

My day can involve hosting training webinars for our EMEA team to working with key internal stakeholders to assess training needs and creating and sourcing training courses for our global online learning platform.


What’s the best thing about working in Bristol?

Bristol is buzzing! The best thing about Bristol is its spirit – it’s definitely unique.

My friends and I call it ‘Bristopia’ – no matter where you move to in the world, ‘Bristopia’ always pulls you back with its charm. Fantastic foodie scene, super creative, open minded and a community of proactive, innovative people putting Bristol on the map.

Why did GSA choose co-working over leasing its own offices?

We already had offices in London and Dubai and decided to set up in Bristol too. Being a small team here, the coworking space at Origin Workspace is perfect for a new GSA office to collaborate and be part of a bigger community. It’s a bonus that everything is taken care of for you, so we can focus on our work!

Why did you choose Origin Workspace?

Origin Workspace’s ‘wellness’ ethos is aligned with our own wellbeing strategy for students and employees, and the space at Origin Workspace is conducive to wellness and collaboration.

We take a proactive approach to wellbeing, running regular events for our students in our residences (e.g. CV writing workshops, yoga classes and gingerbread house making).

We also provide monthly events for our employees, in the past we’ve hosted a sleep webinar, guided meditation session and more recently a nutrition webinar. Currently the global offices are taking part in the GSA 30×30 initiative in November – 30 mins exercise every day for 30 days.

How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?

This has been a tough journey for me personally. There was a time I wasn’t truly looking after my wellbeing and hit burn out. Through self-exploration, I’ve integrated routines and rituals into my life that support me so I can face life’s curveballs.

These include meditation, regular exercise, occasional digital detox, time with family/friends, refraining from watching the news (I’m four years in!) and engaging in creative outlets such as pottery and learning how to DJ.  My personal journey inspired me to start hosting vision board workshops helping others learn to fill their cup up.

How important is Origin Workspace’s ‘wellness’ ethos to you?

For me personally, it’s super important. Nowadays we’re hyper connected and always focused on ‘doing’ – we often forget to look after ourselves and just ‘be’.

Origin Workspace has carefully curated a space that encourages people to connect, be that over physical exercise, fundraising, networking, food or the amazing wellness event they ran recently for World Mental Health Day. The team here go above and beyond to ensure we’re all well looked after!


What’s next for the company?

We have an ambitious growth strategy for the next five years – 250,000 student accommodation beds globally by 2025. That will bring new opportunities and new challenges, but we will go further and faster together. It’s a very exciting time for us – bring it on!

Interested to find out more about coworking at Origin Workspace? Our friendly community hosts are always happy to answer your questions – book a showround today and come and see it for yourself.

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