Coworking: Places To Work Like Never Before
If orange is the new black, then co-working is the new working. Forget renting an office space or working from home – like who does that anymore? It’s all about joining a coworking community, a new family of like-minded go-getters who give you space and the networks to get ahead.
The co-working scene has recently exploded in Nigeria, especially Lagos with new specialised spaces with desks for short-term lets, a sort of Airbnb for offices. Competition for your money is tight with some spaces doing the most and getting creative in getting bums on seats. It makes sense, no generator to maintain, no WiFi issues etc but is this trend all it’s cracked up to be and which spaces really deliver?
Below are some of the most happening co-working spaces in Lagos.
Cranium One as its name suggest is a rather cerebral 24/7 co-working space in the heart of Victoria Island. Founded by entrepreneur Olaotan Towry-Coker (also the founder of Afritickets) it is a small but tight-knit community of mostly techies with spaces recently taken on by Fibre, a tech startup and also Brands We Love, a brand management agency.
“The concept was birthed 5-6 years ago in Nigeria with the likes of Capital Square and Venia leading the pack,” says Coker. “I think the growth is being driven by the growing cafe culture and the increasing number of startups especially in the technology sector and the repatriation of talent from overseas who are used to working this way.”
He describes Cranium One as a provider of premium spaces at an affordable cost for entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses. This luxury office space has a conventional but ergonomic layout, gleaming glass offices for your meetings, a kitchen to prepare and eat meals etc. It has that corporate finesse but probably its best feature is its active community that connects via WhatsApp, Fireside Chats and other innovative ways to promote connections between its members while respecting their day to day space.
Also to be found around the corner from Cranium are Work Box and Workstation, but these spaces are fanning out across and beyond the islands offering prime real estate for the daily price of your lunch. New on the scene are Capital Square, Venia and Enclave in Lekki and LitCafe in Yaba, that aims among other things to connect the literary community.
Currently, the king of the coworking spaces is Workstation. It has taken the whole concept up another level by seeming not to just offer a place to work but socialise, eat and even exercise. It is a huge building with a cafe that serves high-quality meals, run by Simply Green juices, a gym with changing rooms and showers, a yoga room, a play lounge, outdoor seating and various types of “desks” from traditionally fixed desks to private phone booth style reading spaces. It may not have the intimacy or community of Cranium but there is certainly a wow factor in terms of facilities.
Venture capitalist and co-founder Fareed Arogundade says, “Our ethos is to provide a platform for people to create their best work, enabling them to live their best life. We created a space so that our members can interact seamlessly, at any time, from anywhere in the world. Our web app transcends our physical locations. You can literally book rooms, RSVP to events, talk to other members or print from wherever you are.