Kenya: Why small businesses should use coworking spaces

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  • Coworking is an arrangement in which workers of different companies can share a working area with several office amenities at low costs
  • Jenga Leo is a coworking space based in Nairobi and offers workers several benefits, including high-speed Wi-Fi and air condition
  • Jenga Leo’s administrator Ruth Kinyanjui says the working model offers countless benefits for businesses seeking growth and cutting costs

New businesses, especially startups, should consider using coworking spaces instead of hiring offices.

Coworking is an arrangement in which workers of different companies can share a working area with several office amenities at low costs.

Jenga Leo’s administrator Ruth Kinyanjui said the working model offers countless benefits for businesses seeking growth and cutting costs.

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Jenga Leo is a coworking space based in Nairobi and offers workers several benefits, including high-speed Wi-Fi and air condition. The company offers several facilities, including a Skype and podcasting room and a childcare centre. Others are a yoga studio and gym room.

The administrator said the company’s innovative concept capitalises on that trend by bringing health and work together in one accessible place.

“The name itself plays by creating ‘building blocks’ as part of an organisation’s desire, with Jenga meaning ‘build’, ‘leo’ meaning today.

Hence, the concept takes building today to create the foundation of a workplace dynamic that allows for one’s mind, body, and soul to flourish.

According to Kinyanjui, the arrangement is usually cheaper than getting an office, as costs are shared.

Speaking exclusively to The Exchange Africa, Kinyanjui said coworking spaces are usually ideal for businesses as they only pay for their needs.

Kinyanjui added that the working formula offers businesses opportunities for networking as workers get to interact with those they would have otherwise not known.

The working model also gives businesses, especially those starting, access to resources they would have otherwise needed to acquire.

“This model is beneficial for people who are starting as it offers amenities that are essential in an office setting but would be impossible to have for a small business, for instance, a boardroom or a conference room.”

She added the model is good in helping a business form a positive impression.

“Impression is everything, and you do not want to run serious business meetings in hotels when you cannot afford an office. This is where coworking spaces come in.”

Kinyanjui also said that coworking spaces offer business owners opportunities for creativity because of working in a larger, diverse community.

She explained that the bringing together of different companies means different skills are brought under one roof, enhancing creativity for a business seeking to excel.

The administrator also encouraged businesses to consider the working model, saying it’s good for combatting loneliness.

She said that many business owners get lonely working from home, which is a recipe for failure.

“When you work in a space where others are starting just like you, you interact, learn a lot and reduce loneliness.”

Kinyajui said that with specialised designs that prioritise health and well-being both physically and operationally, the flexibility of coworking spaces is being expanded even further.

“Work-life balance is becoming increasingly important to workers, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa is no exception either,” she said.

Kinyanjui noted that many individuals would enjoy the advantages of this unusual coworking space for their health and well-being since it is both peaceful and flexible enough to accommodate differing schedules.

Gym at Jenga Leo. Photo: Jenga Leo.

Her sentiments come when a new report indicates that the global coworking space market is expected to grow from $13.60 billion in 2021 to $16.17 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.9%.

ReportLinker reported that growth is because of companies resuming their operations and adapting to the new normal while recovering from the COVID-19 impact.

Pandemic 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 $30.36 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 17.0%.

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Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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