Happy International coworking day! 9th August marks a special milestone in the evolution of flexible workspace.
It’s a day of coworking, collaborating, creating, celebrating… and much more. It is a Day is a day worth celebrating. But, if we are being completely honest, and probably worked form Nairobi Garage, every day at any of our coworking Spaces is an international coworking day.
Naturally, we’re all for it. Coworking is a pretty great way to work – actually, better than great. Enabling many an entrepreneur or professional to lead their business into greatness, the whole concept has taken the world of work by storm.
Oftentimes, coworkers bring together professionals that normally work from home doesn’t. A coworking space might include independent writers, programmers, and graphic designers who gather together a couple of times a week. Besides just getting together for work purposes, they also bond in other ways.
A day of coworking might start off with having breakfast together. Their workday might also include a short meditation and walk breaks.
With a wide range of benefits of coworking, one of the greatest benefits is that it provides a wider range of networking opportunities. Other benefits of coworking include:
Another advantage of coworking is that it is more cost-effective for business owners. Instead of having to pay all the expenses on their own, they get divided. Since its inception, more than one million people around the world work in coworking spaces each year.
And just like any industry, the industry has grown in leaps and bounds and just like any industry has had a fair share of its own challenges, one notable one being the WeWork debacle.
Last year we took you down the memory lane to look at a few facts on coworking that you might have missed out over the period. This year we delve into the history of the international coworking day and the future of coworking.
Like most national or international ‘Days’, the origins of International Coworking Day are a little obscure. There are a number of theories surrounding it ! However, since its inceptions, international coworking day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the milestones of an industry that has grown over a short period and has changed how we work.
The concept of coworking goes back to 1995 when hackers in Berlin wanted to find a space where they could share thoughts and information. It didn’t really take off, then, until 2005. This is when software engineer Brad Neuberg blogged about inviting creators to gather together as a community.
It is alleged that Brad is the person who kicked off not just Coworking Day, but the whole coworking movement itself, when he blogged about the idea on 9th August 2005:
“This week is the first week of coworking, something I am setting up.”
In his blog post, he invited “free spirits” and creators to “come together in community” at the Spiral Muse Coworking Group, “sitting at tables or relaxing on couches as we do our work.” Brad , has also gone ahead to explain how he started of the whole concept in a blogpost dubbed the start of coworking.
On August 7th, 2010 Tony Bacigalupo, cofounder of New York City’s first dedicated coworking space, New Work City, posted his own blog. In the blog he stated, “Next Monday will be 5 years since Brad Neuberg talked about coworking for the first time. I think that date should be the official Coworking Day.” From that day on, August 9th has been celebrated as International Coworking Day with millions of people around the world work in coworking spaces each year.
According to “Coworking Space Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth and Change to 2030” report, The global coworking space market is expected to grow from $7.97 billion in 2020 to $8.14 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.1%.
The growth is mainly due to the companies resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal while recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges.
The market is expected to reach $13.03 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 12%. The coworking spaces market is majorly determined by the increase in the number of start-ups globally. According to thegeniuswork.com publication in October 2019, the global start-up economy was worth $ 3 trillion in 2019, with a rise of 20% from 2017 and 2018.
The growth is 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 were the fastest growing start-up sub-sectors globally.
Therefore, the rise in the number of startups across various industries globally increased the demand for coworking spaces, driving the market during the forecast period.
In Africa alone Afrilabs, a community around rapidly emerging tech hubs and innovation spaces that serve as meeting points and communities for developers, entrepreneurs, and investors reported that as of July 2021, the network had grown to reach a total of 292 hubs in 49 African countries.
The increase in the number of people working from home or remotely owing to COVID-19 lockdown limits the growth of the market. For instance, in March 2020, many companies working from home owing to COVID-19 pandemic, operators of coworking spaces have seen an almost 50% decline in footfalls.
However, in 2020 just like any other industry, the coworking space was also widely affected by the number of people working remotely tremendously increasing owing to the coronavirus outbreak over the last few months. This consequently saw a decline in the revenues generated by the coworking spaces market during 2020/
Over the period of close to a decade now, coworking spaces have tremendously grown as seen above and to prepare for the future here are a few trends that we can look forward to with some spaces already implementing them.
Technology: It goes without saying that technology is part and parcel of any industry. Coworking space owners are now more than ever more focused on technology.. Technology trends that most spaces are currently implementing include Access cards, coworking space management software, booking system, attendance system, automated invoices, time trackers etc. These have all become so advanced that you just need to see your revenue at the end of the week or maybe at the end of the month. All human interference and hassles have been outgrown.
Multiple Locations: People tend to opt for a space that has more than 1 location within a city since they get a choice to work at any of the locations. Frequent travelers or businessmen tend to opt for coworking spaces that have multi-city locations. If you are coworking space, it is time to grow and branch out. In a busy city like Nairobi, spaces can also opt to have multiple locations in the same city and allow members to work in a location that befits them. i.e Nairobi Garage has four locations in Nairobi alone. You can check out these locations here. Some spaces have also opted for to be a part of some coworking passport programme which allows the cardholder to use a designated number of hours at any participating coworking space.
Connection to Nature: Coworking spaces are getting more inclined towards greenery. A space that has ample plants, flowers and well maintained green walls are somehow more attractive to coworkers. Coworking trends suggest that new design concepts have also started to include an artificial waterfall, stones, beaches like structures and other things that depict nature within the space.
Additional Out of Box Services : Shared office spaces have started to provide many additional services to their coworkers just like a big corporate company provides its employees. Some ongoing trends in coworking spaces for 2021 include babysitting, a chartered accountant for your startup, making office space pet-friendly, bank tie-ups for a loan, business account etc. If a coworking space is missing out on these basics and does not go the extra mile for its clients, it might soon start losing out customers to newly opened spaces.
Community, Culture & Classes : People come to coworking spaces to work but as per recent trends in coworking culture, there much more than workspace that is needed. From weekly lunch, beer Fridays to events and from yoga classes, Zumba sessions to meditation sessions, all are becoming a part of the coworking concept. These activities are optional and often occur over the weekend but the good thing is that they add up to the long list of offerings that your coworking space provides.
The Corporate Shift : Earlier Coworking spaces were meant for freelancers, solo entrepreneurs or small businesses but now days even corporate companies are exploring coworking spaces for their employees. This shift is happening for the good as it is building more trust in Coworking spaces. There are a number of reasons why big organizations are moving to coworking spaces. More and more Coworking space are becoming corporate friendly. Coworking spaces are now customizing the spaces to have open area, small private offices and lounge areas so as to accommodate the new growing demand of corporates.
For us, International coworking day is a great day just by looking back at where we started and where we are now. Being home to over 200 companies and having close to a thousand people walk in and out of our spaces and just celebrating the milestones of the different startups that are revolutionizing the different industries in Africa that started off in our Spaces, from Uber, to Glovo, SWVL, mdundo just to mention but a few.
These companies have been part of our growth. As we move to our new location in Westlands at Delta Corner, again we are in awe of how our community has grown over the period.
Also with so many community members from all over the world, it’s hard to find a more international vibe than at one of our locations. Combine this with the climate of entrepreneurship, productivity and positivity, and you’ve got a place that allows you to extend your boundaries every single day, no matter which day the calendar says it is.
Though we feel this day is extra special, throughout this week we choose to celebrate our community in amazing ways with each of locations laying out a number of activities and amazing discounts. Find out how by joining our community today!