Revolutionizing Work: The Rise of Coworking Spaces in Pakistan

There is no doubt that coworking spaces have emerged as a popular alternative to working from home and the traditional work environment. According to Statista, there will be more than 41,000 coworking spaces worldwide in 2024. What makes this statistic interesting is that in 2021, there were hardly 20,000 shared office spaces worldwide.

Figure 1. Coworking Spaces Worldwide (2018 – 2024) Source: Statista

So, within three years, we will see more than a two-fold increase in shared office spaces. What’s more interesting is that this increase is not confined to any single country or region. Instead, almost every country, including Pakistan, is seeing a noticeable increase in coworking spaces.

If you Google ‘coworking space in Islamabad’, you’ll come across countless options. If you did the same thing four or five years ago, there were hardly a few shared spaces in the country, let alone Islamabad. What’s behind the sudden trend of people opting for coworking spaces in Pakistan?

Well, this discussion will answer this question.

Origin of Coworking Spaces

The origin of coworking spaces can be traced back to the early 2000s. There was a growing community of freelancers and entrepreneurs who found working from home impractical. Unfortunately, renting or buying a commercial space was out of the question due to the costs involved.

Therefore, these individuals put their minds together to address the challenge. Eventually, they came up with the idea of pooling resources to rent a commercial place together. Over time, businesses ventured into this area. They began offering shared desks or even private office space.

This is how coworking spaces were born. As with any other thing, coworking spaces became mainstream in Pakistan quite late. It would not be wrong to conclude that it has only been a few years since Pakistanis truly understood the concept of shared spaces. Since then, the country has not looked back.

Rise of Coworking Spaces in Pakistan

Coworking spaces are sprouting up in every corner. Of course, not all shared office spaces are equal. Some exist only to earn money for their owners. Very few coworking space owners understand the true essence of a shared space. They know that a shared space is more than providing a desk and internet connection at low rates.

Therefore, individuals and businesses must be careful if they are considering joining a coworking space. They must conduct their due diligence to avoid being let down. We recommend going through the reviews on different forums and asking existing members about their experience before making any decision.

Let’s focus on the top factors contributing to shared spaces’ popularity.

1. Changing Work Culture

Since the pandemic, the traditional concept of the 9 to 5 job is drastically changing. Organizations realize that by offering flexible working arrangements, employees become more productive, which results in a better bottom line. Even local Pakistani organizations are embracing this change.

Therefore, instead of asking employees to come to the office, they are open to the idea of allowing them to work from anywhere at any time. Many top organizations have established satellite offices in shared office spaces. Employees can work from there at their convenience rather than come to the office.

2. Freelancing Community

Pakistan has a large freelancing community, bringing billions of dollars annually. The freelancers were mostly working from their homes. However, research shows that working from home is associated with numerous challenges, including unwanted distractions and lower productivity.

Today, an increasing number of freelancers prefer to work from shared office spaces. They claim that the space allows them to network with others. This networking enables them to partner with others and expand their service offerings. Secondly, working from a shared space improves their work-life balance.

3. Entrepreneurial Boom

Yes, we understand that Pakistan and an entrepreneurial boom is hardly something that one expects to hear in the same sentence, considering the faltering economy. Pakistani startups continue to show resilience despite the poor economy and brain drain. The most notable names include Bazaar Technologies, Salesflo, NayaPay, and SadaPay continue to raise funds.

A coworking space provides these startups with a cost-effective workplace. All of us know that due to the funding crunch, startups have very limited resources. Thus, they do not have the luxury of renting large commercial places. A coworking space allows them to work on their idea without incurring substantial costs.

That’s not the only benefit provided by a shared space. In any coworking space, you’ll have a very diverse set of members. These members bring vast experiences and knowledge. Their input can be beneficial in refining the startup’s idea or adding new features that can prove to be a game changer.

4. Tech-Savvy Generation

Furthermore, Pakistan’s youthful population is quite tech-savvy. They value creativity and innovation. A traditional office environment or a home office inhibits their thought process. On the other hand, a coworking space is better aligned with their preferences. This is why you’ll notice that most members in any shared space are quite young.

5. Affordability and Accessibility

The ultimate aim of any coworking space is to provide a cost-effective alternative to renting a commercial space or working from home. It is what makes them attractive. This is why an increasing number of businesses, startups, freelancers, and remote workers are opting for shared office spaces.

Indeed, renting a commercial space and setting it up is quite expensive. When you add the sky-high utility bills to this expense, most commercial space becomes out of range. Similarly, working from home is not feasible. There are too many distractions, and there might not be enough space to set up a dedicated home office.

6. Networking

Lastly, coworking spaces hold a unique advantage. They provide a platform to connect with individuals and businesses from diverse fields. Who knows that your next big job or business opportunity might very well be in the same shared office space as you. Working from home or a traditional office provides limited networking opportunities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, coworking spaces are revolutionizing how Pakistanis work. Over the years, it is quite probable that more businesses and individuals will opt for such spaces due to the benefits they hold over traditional offices and working from home.

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