If the year 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that the nature of work is changing. The Covid-19 pandemic normalised the working from home concept. Many entrepreneurs and working professionals got to appreciate that we can be productive at home. However, there are other alternative forms of work arrangements, coworking for example. This collaborative working environment is conducive for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startup team members. There are a number of coworking spaces in Bulawayo. These are effective in an economy like Zimbabwe, where every cent is precious.
The city of Kings and Queens has experienced an increase in coworking spaces, to the advantage to many of its patrons. But what is a coworking space and why should you be bothered? These are shared workspaces, where individuals or members of different companies can work together and collaborate. There are several reasons why you should consider coworking if you are in Bulawayo.
Starting up a business can be quite strenuous financially. If you are a freelancer or consultant you need to keep your overheads as low as possible. Leasing out office space in Bulawayo can cost anywhere between $200-$500 per month. Needless to say this is beyond the reach of many people, so a coworking model favours those of us that need to be frugal. The coworking model also means that you don’t have the burden of maintaining leased offices. Most Bulawayo coworking spaces offer highly discounted prices to use their work facilities, for example, Oasis Business Hub.
Strategically positioned right in the middle of Belmont industrial hub, Oasis has built a fresh and new for the 21st-century entrepreneur. They are making entrepreneurship more accessible to the modern business person, who does not fit into the traditional way of work. Coworking spaces allow startups and SME’s to grow and develop whilst lessening the costs of starting up. The coworking space is targeted at people that are ready to move their business from a small room at home. Their space offers workspace, access to Wifi, and a boardroom for entrepreneurs to meet their clients. At $20 per month, the space comes highly recommended.
Remote working with a professional feel
Zesa is probably one of the biggest nuisance entrepreneurs have to put up with, especially if they are working from home. The constant power cuts make it impossible to efficiently work from home. This is why coworking spaces are a thing of beauty. They are generally located in places that have a constant supply of electricity or at the very least a backup generator. One such coworking space would be the Center For Innovation and Technology (CITE).
Located in the serene upmarket suburb of Hillside, the CITE coworking space is open to all at no cost! Whether you are a consultant or a social media manager, CITE makes it possible to access equipment like cameras, recording equipment, and many others. Coworking spaces give you and your business and place of belonging. They allow you to use that physical address as your own. That way you can receive mail (for those that still receive post mail) and your clients have a physical place they can locate you.
Building a sense of community
One of the best parts of working from a coworking space is experiencing a sense of community. This feeds into the human connection aspect of work, through bond building, idea sharing, and collaboration. Peer learning happens a lot in such spaces. You are more than likely to find someone with experience in company registration, compliance matters, and a host of other things. If you are looking for a space that has a major emphasis on community, make sure you check out the Village Coworking (former Techvillage Innovation Hub).
Village Coworking offers amenities such as shared desks, a private meeting room, kitchen, outside sitting area, coffee and tea, Wi-Fi, training sessions, social events, and a vibrant community. Their current packages are $30 for single membership and $100 for startup membership of up to 3 members. The space creates a unique work experience for freelancers, startups, and entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of a flexible workspace. The culture of the community allows its members to help each other through ideation and product development.
Anyone who has attended any seminar on entrepreneurship will tell you how important networking is to your journey. Working from a shared working space means you are in touch constantly with people that will increase your “networth”. They are great places to meet other like-minded people, working towards achieving their dreams just like you. It is common for coworking spaces to host regular networking events. This is a great way to meet new blood and foster collaborations.
If you are a creative and are looking to meet and work with other creatives in Bulawayo, Multimedia Box is a good space. Multimedia Box is a co-creation space for emerging creatives. They provide space for young people in multimedia arts to produce their creative work. The space, also serves as a platform for young people to collaborate and create synergies. It’s open to bloggers, vloggers, designers, filmmakers, or any other digital natives. If you want a creative workspace, Multimedia Box is located in the Bulawayo CBD. All you need to do is pay $20 per month and you can work in the centrally located space.
The number of coworking spaces in Bulawayo may not be amazingly high, but they are certainly playing a critical role in the startup scene. The model works very well for businesses that do not need private space and looking to disrupt the status quo. We are living in a time where the traditional 9-5 work schedule doesn’t appeal to the entire population. Remote working has become the new normal, but if you need a break from your home desk, coworking could be your solution.