Today’s workplace has not been left behind. The traditional office spaces in Nairobi and other places across the globe is fast becoming a thing of the past. And the 9-5 job is also slowly fading away.
For years, business leaders and employers thought that small cubicles reduced distractions and helped people focus and improve their work.
However, more recent studies have proven that this rigid working style doesn’t always produce the best results and some employees are better suited to a more relaxed and flexible office space.
As millennials join the workforce, the workplace is becoming more diverse and people work longer; traditional career models are now a thing of the past. Many of the roles and job titles of tomorrow will be ones we’ve not even thought of yet.
You’ve probably seen the result of this following the number of researches posted in the form of the co-working office spaces, flexible workspaces, home offices or even shared workspaces that a lot of tech companies are building these days.
The new workplace also includes some value adds like sleep pods, tea and coffee, bathrooms, and lactating rooms for mums to suit anybody’s working methods, and flexible working hours for employees.
So, what could be the reasons driving this?
Each day, coworking spaces – like Nairobi Garage – are opening up. According to the trends and statistics shaping the coworking scene, it is estimated that by 2022 there will be more than 30,000 coworking spaces and a whopping 5 million coworking space members around the world (up from 1 million in 2018).
With an increasing number of people joining the Gig Economy for short-term contracts as freelancers or even as digital nomads, more people are starting to turn to this new way of looking at the office space. With such jobs one doesn’t really need a traditional office, yet they hardly spend time there.
Another interesting thought is that a lack of housing and the job travels could also influence this new office model because it would free up more buildings that can be converted into living spaces while people share offices more.
With the harsh economy times, renting an office space in Nairobi or any other part of the world is quite expensive. Setting up traditional office spaces in Nairobi takes so much work and effort. It is expensive to rent and run an office full time when all of your employees are there 9 to 5 every single day.
What a lot of newer companies are moving toward is remote working. Some companies are even getting rid of the office entirely. Employees do a lot of their work from home because they can easily stay in touch with their colleagues and do most of the things that they would normally do in the office.
With the internet penetration in Kenya growing and the internet providers offering affordable internet packages it becomes much easier to work from a café or even at home. The office is then seen as a base that you can use for meetings once a week, or somewhere you can come for a day or two if you fancy a change of scenery.
Spaces like Nairobi Garage offer affordable office space packages that make it easier for companies at different business level own an office. Apart from the cost, the three locations are also quite accessible and are located in areas where it would have been rather expensive to get a furnished office.
When you’re working in this way, you don’t need enough space to accommodate everybody at once. That means you can massively reduce the amount of space that you need to rent.
However, one of the main problems that you’ll come up against with remote working is the response time between employees. Email and instant messengers are great, but they can easily be ignored or forgotten. However, when you walk over to an employee and ask them a question, you’ve got that information right away.
So, will traditional office spaces in Nairobi disappear soon? Here are some factors hastening their demise.
As mentioned earlier the 9 to 5 working day is slowly fading away. Younger employees are asking for flexible hours for several reasons.
On a basic level, people work in different ways. Some people like to work the same eight hours a day, but others don’t work effectively at certain times of the day. Some people work more effectively late at night or early in the morning. Being able to have regular breaks when you need them, stops people from getting burned out.
Varying the times that you work each day also stops the job from becoming mundane. Young professionals are also more focused on development and promotion opportunities. Having more flexibility gives them the chance to seek out these opportunities.
The way that job roles work is also changing because technology is taking over certain tasks. Instead of one person doing one very specific task all day, roles are increasingly made up of lots of smaller responsibilities. Having more flexibility about when and where they do all of the different aspects of their job allows employees to tailor their own working day in ways that maximize efficiency.
Well, the design of the new workplace like coworking allows workplace flexibility. Most of the coworking spaces grant one with 24/7 access to the space allowing one to work at their convenience while the traditional office set-up mostly restricts employees to a 9-5 pm sort of a work environment.
More and more organizations are opting for to have their employees embrace the flexibility that comes with taking up coworking spaces.
With the advancement of technology, employers find it easy to hold meetings with their employees virtually and they do not necessarily have to come to office daily. This in turn helps employers invest more on technology tools and cut on getting and setting up an office space. Technology has also helped more organizations to outsource teams online reducing the number of employees and this in turn helps them get smaller office spaces that they slowly killing the traditional office set-up.
So, does this mean that in the coming years the traditional office spaces in Nairobi will be a thing of the past? Lets just say time will tell. It’s still useful to have that space sometimes, but we need to have a complete overhaul in the way that we think about it. Traditional Office spaces should be seen as a base where people can meet and work when it suits them, but they also need the freedom to work outside of those confines when their job and livelihood demand it.
Who knows, maybe with the times changing we’ll all be in virtual offices with holographic colleagues sat next to us!