Co-working space: Disruptive innovation, changing the face of Office Market in Lagos

September 28, 2021

We live in an amazing century, 21st century has in no doubt not only ushered in new innovations in all spheres of our life but also brought in disruptive ones which have significantly change the way we do business, consume, connect and live. A big reminder is how inventions like the car disrupted horse breeding for transportation, email disrupted postal services and more recently our world has ` a lot of disruptive innovations, disruptive innovations that readily come to mind are Facebook, Skype, Uber, iPhones, Airbnb and recently in the financial sector, the Blockchain

The term disruptive innovation was coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, According to him, Disruptive innovation describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves upmarket, eventually displacing established competitors. Also, disruptive innovation is an ‘innovation that creates a new market and value networks and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market-leading firms, products, and alliances’.

Taking a closer look at these innovations, one finds out that they are been triggered by technology and the Internet.

Tech and the internet have affected every facet of our world, leaving their imprint in (on) all sectors for all to see, real estate as the sector has had its fair share of disruptive innovations with changes in housing typologies, real estate marketing and property listings taking industry players by surprise.

A recent trend is the changing face of the commercial office market all over the world.

As tech and the internet continue to change the dynamics of our jobs, Entrepreneurship taking centre stage, workplace location is also changing, gone are the days people go to work in fixed locations

With the available technology today, working at any location, be it at home or anywhere is easier than ever, also the emerging workforce (Millennial) is trending towards more remote, agile and nomadic folks that can do more with less, with freelancing becoming the hot job now. Examples of freelancing jobs include writing, translating, computer programming, web designing, graphic designing, coding among others.

Freelancers ordinarily work from home, the idea of working from home sounds so appealing, but at the heart of this, is the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, coupled with the Nigerian factors of unstable power supply and poor or rather to expensive internet supply by internet service providers, with this in mind, the need for an office-like environment with flexible options comes into play spurring the need for an office-like setting where people can come to work at there own convenient time, work at their own pace and very importantly working independently.

The office-like setting offers things like High-Speed WiFi, Free Printing and Scanning, Complimentary Beverages, Full Kitchenettes, Mail Distribution, Onsite Support, Privacy Nooks, Meeting Rooms and all else, and it is popularly referred to as Coworking space or Shared Office space

According to TechTarget, Coworking is a business services provision model that involves individuals working independently or collaboratively in shared office space. The owner of the space provides a work environment and, usually, office equipment and amenities found in a typical office. Also, Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home. It generally costs money in the form of membership dues, though some spaces are free of charge.

Coworking as a startup domain has been growing at a geometric rate since 2005 all over the world. Statistics show that as of 2018, there are about 18,000+ co-working spaces all over the world and about 60 in Lagos alone, Over the past 2 years a plethora of research reports have come out, and all have presented findings that indicate the incredible potential of coworking and flexible workspaces, both today and in the future this shows that a wave of disruption is certain in the commercial office market,

Coworking spaces have the potential to disrupt the traditional office market.

Going by observable trends, Coworking can as well leave behind conventional office leasing processes in terms of the number of transactions. The simple reason being that startup owners, freelancers, startup employees – everyone would prefer working within a community rather than in isolation. If one is working in a coworking hub, he/she might get some work done from another startup working there or might also get work within the community.

With the increasing number of CoWorking Spaces in Lagos and the ever-increasing number of Entrepreneurs and Freelancers, the Coworking domain is set to disrupt the commercial office real estate market.

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