A whole lot has changed around the discussion of the future of work since the pandemic started. Initially, organizations were 100% sure that remote working was the way to go. Teams were subsequently sent home, offices downsized, long-term leases canceled, and technology to boost productivity heavily invested in. All in a bid to adjust quickly to what was perceived as the new normal.
In late 2020, McKinsey conducted a survey that predicted increased demand for automation and digitization. Which in turn would create an even greater demand for contractors & gig workers working remotely in sectors like health, hygiene, cybersecurity, and data analytics.
Yet despite the take over of intelligent machinery – and the need to upskill teams to keep up with ever-changing workforce trends – there will always remain the necessity of the human touch and will require places to foster those connections. Where you work, and who you work with or next to will feature in a big way going forward.
The requirement to travel to a central place – so as to gather information and collaborate – better known as an office, has shifted drastically.
Increased access to the technologies that support the remote work ecosystem, means workers can easily get their work done, and connect with their teams from as many different places as they please. When we finally adjust to the next normal of hybrid working (office & remote), workers will likely prefer to commute closer to their homes.
Organizations, who have been left with unnecessary overheads, are now coming to terms with the fact that there is a need for affordable & effective solutions to tackle the demand of the new working places, and to fulfill the desires of the modern worker.
“Traditional offices are a bit too expensive while home offices don’t quite offer enough space,” shares Desmond Dickerson, Senior Manager – Center for the Future of Work. A statement that is right on the money.
Even before the pandemic, many organizations were already making the shift from long-term leases to more flexible terms offered by co-working spaces. However, the work-from-home initially hailed as the perfect solution, has hindered workers from being productive. Therefore, there will be a need for places that will provide a robust environment to achieve work goals.
The rapidly growing trend post-pandemic is that of subscribing to coworking spaces, is due to their affordability & adaptability to suit everyone’s work needs as they arise & evolve. Nairobi Garage, created in 2014 was the first of its kind in Kenya, offers various flexible office space packages from getting just a virtual address to hot desks, private desks, and enclosed private offices as well as Flexi team rooms, Meeting Rooms, and Event Spaces. One can also experience the space for a day.
In 2015, the UN’s Population Division predicted that Africa’s youth population is expected to continue in growth throughout the remainder of the 21st century, and more than double from current levels by 2055.
It is also worth considering that currently, more than half the population of the world lives in urban areas with a predicted increase from 54% in 2016 to 68% by 2050. Although it may seem like our expanding cities are taking up land, it’s only around 1% of global land that is defined as built-up area.
There will be a need for current and emerging urban cities to rapidly adapt in readiness to host Africa’s growing workforce projected to be the largest in the world in the coming decades.
African countries like Rwanda, Ghana, Angola, Tanzania, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya have in the recent past been promised radical reshaping of their cities by subsequent governments. While there may seem to be a disconnect in cities like Nairobi between initiatives like Vision 2030, and realities on the ground, the East African hub is close to experiencing manifestations of planned urbanization sooner rather than later (Source material: ‘Our Changes’? Visions of the Future in Nairobi).
“Nairobi, Kenya – a city of creative chaos, where outsiders see disjointed systems and complicated processes, residents here see ways to improve their lives and those of fellow citizens. Africa’s center of gravity is shifting east; as Nairobi emerges as a hub of creativity and innovation,” says Desmond Dickerson.
Nairobi has arrived at a high level of digital maturation leapfrogging many economies going from minimal internet connectivity to very robust mobile technology. It is in large part to the access to affordable internet, the network reaches almost 100%, and a Government that has chosen to focus on ICT cites Catherine Muraga CIO – Sidian Bank.
It is in this rapidly innovative city that Nairobi Garage is based, gets its & drive. It is Africa’s largest coworking space, designed for growing & innovative organizations with 4 spaces in prime locations across the city – housing over 300 fast-growing and tech-enabled companies; from startups to freelancers to SMEs and multinationals.
Back in 2012 when 88mph was setting up, flexible office space along with a vibrant community of innovative businesses was hard to come by. However, within 2 years there was demand, and it’s because of the initial believers of the coworking concept that Nairobi Garage has grown to be what it is today.
“So much of the start-up & tech industry has passed through our doors at one stage or another. We have some huge companies that have been birthed out of the Garage,” shares Hannah Clifford, Director – Nairobi Garage in an interview with Cognizant.
Among the companies that Nairobi Garage takes pride in hosting from birth to their current different stages of growth are Twiga, BitPesa, Branch, Glovo, Uber, SWVL, Mr. Green Africa, and Moringa School among so many others.
In summary, Nairobi Garage looks forward to the great potential that lies with belonging to this vibrant city and what it has to offer. “The population is expected to grow to 5,000,000 in the next 5 years, and foreign direct investment is growing even faster. The influx of investment dollars and burgeoning population are combining with the youthful exuberance to create incubators of innovation. As a result, Nairobi has over 200 active start-ups and a thriving scene of coworking spaces,” concludes Desmond Dickerson.
We are happy to be part of the city featured alongside places like Silicon Wadi (Israel), and Dundee (Scotland). As well as a part of the key ingredients for the city of Nairobi that continues its growth into its place of the future. The entire team would like to thank Cognizant for featuring Nairobi Garage as part of the growing ecosystem in Nairobi – one of the 21 Places of the Future [Watch it here].