Let us look at a few statistics globally. Analysts predict that the number of coworking spaces will reach almost 20,000 in 2021, and around 40,000 by the end of 2024, according to the Global Coworking Growth Study 2020. An estimated five million people will be based in coworking spaces in 2024 – an increase of 158% on the current number.
These projections are based not only on the growth the coworking industry has experienced over the past few years but also on the increasing number of businesses all over the world that are using flexible working practices.
Figures released at the Coworker Members’ Choice Awards towards the end of 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, revealed around 77% of coworking space operators planned to expand by opening new locations in the foreseeable future.
The average size of each coworking space is 7,308 sq. ft, with an average of 83 people working there. More corporate companies are apparently planning on embracing flexible working practices in the future.
Data gathered during this year’s lockdown suggests the type of coworking space most commonly requested includes private offices, longer-term contracts, and spaces with a higher capacity, containing more desks. The number of requests for spaces with private offices has increased by a massive 76%.
Let’s tap into these statistics and bring them home. According to coworker.com, there are over 57 coworking spaces in Nairobi alone and others are still opening up. This might seem like a drop in the ocean but given that there are over 10,000 cities in the world, this forms a huge percentage of coworking. So, what is really driving this growth especially in Nairobi? Here are the 4 important reasons why we think Coworking Spaces are growing in Nairobi
Nairobi is gradually becoming one of the best global hubs for startups and freelance entrepreneurs. This progressive ecosystem has enabled many coworking spaces to sprout in Kenya.
For the longest time, Nairobi was and is still viewed as the tech hub of the East African region. Each and every day new companies are born and with these companies are looking for office spaces to set up, they opt for more cost-friendly options.
Coworking spaces in Nairobi form a perfect fit for these start-ups. With the myriad advantages that come with being in a coworking space, networks, flexibility accessibility, cost friendliness, tailor-made packages, scalability it is definite that as the start-up scene grows in Nairobi so will the demand for coworking spaces grow.
The growth of coworking in Nairobi is also backed by the expansion of internet space, exposure to the knowledge of entrepreneurship outside the boundaries of the country, and improved literacy rates.
Besides, advanced manufacturing and robotics, agriculture technology and new food, blockchain, and artificial intelligence, big data, and analytics are the fastest growing start-up sub-sectors globally.
Therefore, the rise in the number of startups across various industries not only in Nairobi but even globally has increased the demand for coworking spaces, driving the market in the recent past.
Last year during the pandemic the world was introduced to the whole Work From the Home concept that revolutionized the workspace. Most corporates were sceptical about waking up to the benefits of it. i.e. Reduced commuting has meant increased productivity for many employees, as well as the flexibility to work in ways that fit around family life and personal projects.
From Zoom fatigue to the struggle to staying creative without colleagues bouncing ideas off Working from home has long since lost its sparkle with the many downsides that come with it depending on where you live.
A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the average working day increased by 48.5 minutes during the lockdown, equivalent to two extra working days a month. Not only can this cause employees to burn out but, if you’re still answering emails at 9 pm, it can cause friction in relationships, too.
So, enter Working near home! the pandemic has since shown us that a different way of working – away from a central office – is possible. Employers in many sectors seem to have accepted workers’ need for more flexibility and a shorter commute, post-pandemic.
Working near home (WNH) is slowly becoming a thing and this has not only seen the demand in coworking spaces in Nairobi but this could also be the solution that enables companies to make hybrid working a permanent part of people’s lives.
Most companies currently allow their employees the freedom to work from satellite locations such as local flexible workspaces and only work from the office when needed.
Offering the convenience of working near home with the advantages of regular face-to-face interactions with colleagues, it’s an approach that offers benefits both for employees and business leaders.
What’s more, coworking spaces in Nairobi such as Nairobi Garage offer calm, well-set-up environments that are conducive to concentration. Not only will you enjoy a professional workplace set-up and reliable WiFi at your local flexible workspace, but you also won’t be interrupted by family members.
The growing demand for coworking spaces in Nairobi is driven by the fact that more and more businesses need to save more on the cost especially as the economy re-opens.
As our economy recovers slowly from the pandemic and as we gear up to the elections, more companies want to cut on their budgets and spending.
Success in business is as much as saving money as it is making it, and coworking spaces are your budget’s dream. With this in mind, coworking allows businesses to cut their budgets.
Renting an office in a prime location in Nairobi i.e Westlands, Kilimani or even Upperhill can be quite an uphill task. The rent is exorbitantly high for even well-established businesses to afford. However, coworking spaces allow you to have your office in a prime location, but at quite an affordable price as they include tailor-made packages to fit your business, despite the level you are at as a business.
Working under the same agreement you’d have with a roommate, a coworking space splits the cost of the office among all its workers, and since you are only renting your one space, there’s no need to be weighed down with the whole price.
This again has driven the demand for coworking spaces in Nairobi hence the rise in the numbers.
Coworking spaces are meant to suit the startup business that can’t devote the funds to furnishing an office or the freelancer who really only wants a desk and a chair. Coming fully furnished, there’s no need for you to pay for your own furniture or equipment, as each also comes with a printer, scanner, and sometimes even a fully functional kitchen. This allows you to use what is necessary but ignore the fluff.
The more popular coworking spaces in Nairobi become, the more options you have, and the options available for coworking spaces are almost limitless.
The best business owners know that working is about more than just working, and creating an environment where employees are empowered and exciting can be the key to a business that grows and flourishes. Depending on your style of business, you may want to have walls in a variety of colours, cool and unusual furniture, and decorations that make your employees feel comfortable. However, if your business type would prefer softer colours, more structured furniture, and a highly “professional” tone, then a coworking space allows you to choose the area you want instead of making your employees silently curse the décor under their breath.
For a growing business and even freelancers, being centred in the right location is as vital as anything. If your clients have difficulty finding you, they may turn elsewhere, and if you happen to be centred in the bad or slow side of town, it’ll reflect on your professionalism and credibility.
A coworking space offers the solution, as they’re often placed right in the busy or high-class side of town to be more accessible by both the workers and the customers. The face of business is changing, and it is changing where we do work. With these advantages in mind, it’s a no-brainer why coworking spaces are in the lead and the demand is growing.
In conclusion, the demand for coworking spaces in Nairobi will experience an upward trend over time. Globally, statistics suggest that in the post-coronavirus world, coworking will become more mainstream.
Companies are starting to shift towards more flexible workforces, without the hassle and commitment of renting a whole building and the associated costs for a long period of time, to counter the uncertainty of the future. After all, nobody saw Covid-19 coming! With four locations coworking spaces in Nairobi, find out how Nairobi Garage can help your company pivot towards tapping into the coworking benefits.