Over the past few years, freelancing has become a booming industry in Pakistan. In fact, in 2019, Pakistan ranked among the top three countries in the global freelancing market. This rise in freelancing has given way to a large number of startups across the country, which in turn has contributed to the popularity of coworking spaces and shared offices in all major cities.
So, what is a shared office or coworking space and how does it function?
To put it simply, coworking spaces allow otherwise home-based entrepreneurs and freelancers to share a modern workspace equipped with all the latest utilities and amenities, such as speedy WiFi, snacks, trendy seating arrangement, receptionists and even custodial services. These shared office spaces usually boast state-of-the-art infrastructure and allow members to access their facilities for a monthly fee.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of shared office space to determine if it may be the right choice for you.
Here’s everything you need to know about coworking spaces.
Pros of Coworking Spaces
Are you wondering why more and more young professionals are opting for coworking spaces in Pakistan instead of traditional offices?
We’ve put together a list of major advantages of coworking spaces that might explain the reason behind their growing trend.
- Networking opportunities
- Amenities and facilities
The biggest perk of coworking spaces in Pakistan is that they are cost-friendly.
The cost of renting or leasing office space in urban centres can be rather high. In addition to that, you have to factor in extra expenses for office equipment, utilities, amenities and repairs. All of these overheads make it really difficult for a startup to rent an office space during their nascent stages.
In comparison, coworking spaces can be rather affordable. Of course, some shared workspaces can be relatively pricey owing to their facilities and location, but you can easily find a plan that works perfectly for you after a little research. Coworking spaces allow entrepreneurs and freelancers to work in a professional environment without having to spend much.
One of the biggest pros of a coworking space is its flexible cost, timing and space options.
Almost every shared office plan boasts more than one membership plan with varying facilities and amenities. This allows budding entrepreneurs and freelancers to find a plan that they can afford without going through much hassle. Similarly, most coworking spaces run around the clock. This means even if you freelance for clients in a different time zone, you can easily do that from a shared office space. On the other hand, most traditional office buildings won’t be as accommodating.
Furthermore, coworking spaces are also flexible in terms of space. If your startup team grows by a few members overnight, you can easily upgrade your plans for more desks and amenities without having to worry about acquiring new furniture etc.
Opportunity to network
For entrepreneurs and freelancers, networking is extremely important. Coworking spaces allow people to join a thriving community of like-minded folks, which in turns provides them with opportunities to network, share ideas and support different ventures.
While working from home may be convenient and cheap, it can also feel isolating at times. Also, effective networking is not really possible in a work-from-home setting.
Coworking spaces give entrepreneurs an opportunity to build a diverse professional network, which is crucial for all startups in order to develop their procedures, strategies, consumers, customers, resources, and most of all, motivation.
Amenities and facilities
Most coworking spaces in Pakistan provide their members with a wide range of facilities and amenities. Some of the most common coworking space facilities include well-equipped conference rooms, furnished meeting areas, cafeteria and snacks, photocopy machines and scanners, reliable internet, and much more.
Some shared workspaces even have recreational areas or game rooms for productive break time. Similarly, some coworking spaces even hold different events to foster good relations with their members while simultaneously providing them with an opportunity to get to know other people in the community and socialize.
Cons of Coworking Spaces
These are some of the major downsides of coworking spaces.
- Too Many Distractions
- Proximity to competitors
- Lack of privacy
Let’s discuss them individually.
Too Many Distractions
Being around like-minded people can certainly be refreshing and motivating, but it can also adversely affect your productivity.
Working in a shared office space can be a little distracting, especially since you can’t really ask your neighbours to work silently without sounding rude.
With a number of different startups working under the same roof in an open layout setting, you are bound to experience ringing phones, team discussions, telemarketing and much more happening around you – and since they aren’t your teammates, you can’t do much but try and focus on your own work.
Proximity to competitors
Almost every startup faces competition throughout each of its stages. Since most young professionals are opting for coworking spaces, there is a good chance you may end up working right next to your industry competitor.
Having to work alongside a direct competitor can create unnecessary tensions between the two parties, as they both may face the risk of data leakage due to their teams’ physical proximity. Startups with similar target markets may also face a risk of losing their clients to their competitors. In some instances, it may also lead to a conflict or an argument. However, most coworking spaces in Pakistan offer private offices to maintain a certain level of privacy between different teams working under the same roof.
Coworking spaces have their own sets of rules which all members have to abide by. Needless to say, some people might find that a little restricting. Also, you can’t customize the place or change the seating arrangement to your liking, since the same space may be occupied by different teams in different time slots.
Not to mention, you can only use your allowed space and essentially leave the workspace completely clean at the end of the day, as if nobody has used it.
On the other hand, one can customize and decorate their rented office space to their liking without any restrictions.
Lack of privacy
Lack of privacy remains one of the biggest challenges of shared workspaces.
While some of the more expensive shared offices in Pakistan provide members with a private coworking space, this facility might not be affordable by everyone.
One way to tackle this problem is the desk arrangement and seating layout. Coworking spaces can provide their members with some sense of privacy by installing screens between desks, maximizing space between individual work stations and setting up soundproof meeting rooms. Vertical gardens and open shelves can also divide various sections of the room without making it look cramped or small.
Now that you know the pros and cons of coworking spaces, you can try and figure out if committing to one is a suitable option for you and your business.
If you live in the federal capital, you can check out some of the most popular coworking spaces in Islamabad as well as their membership fee and services.
You can share your feedback and queries with us on email@example.com. For more information about shared workspaces in major cities, stay connected to Zameen Blog – the top lifestyle and real estate blog in Pakistan. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter on the right to stay updated about all the latest developments in Pakistan’s property market.