a year ago

The evolution of co-working spaces in Bangladesh

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As easy as it may seem, the establishment of office space to start a business venture encompassing all the essential amenities means a sky-high cost as well as monumental logistical challenges.

This is especially true for start-ups and freelancers who has everything needed to start their dream venture but the lack of proper working spaces within the budget stands as one of their massive hurdles.

This is where the importance of shared working spaces, more commonly referred to as co-working spaces comes in.

Saving cost comes first

Co-working space - a single office space rented out in portions to companies and individuals working in different or even similar fields.

This sort of shared space takes on the cost-effective approach and introduces the reinvention of traditional workplaces.

In alignment with the changing demand and crowd of entrepreneurs, a number of co-working spaces have emerged in Bangladesh over the years.

The writer talked to Shazeeb M Khairul Islam, Managing Director of Impact Hub–a co-working space located in Mirpur and a part of the global Impact Hub Network, to better understand why such co-working spaces are witness popularity rise.

Mr Shazeeb explained the scenario through Impact Hub’s goals and ideas as he believes, such an organisation can revolutionise the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their initial goal was to build a community of socially and environmentally conscious individuals and entrepreneurs within a shared space to meet.

Co-working spaces promote connectivity

A co-working space is a great place to connect with and to know people from different sectors of work. The opportunity for social interaction, work collaboration and networking allows people to learn from the success and mistakes of each other.

The work environment has a promising impact on the productivity of the people as well which would not necessarily be the scenario in a traditional work setting.

When asked about the positives, Mr Shazeeb further stated, “Other than being cost-effective, members also enjoy full flexibility and freedom as there is no long-term commitment in leasing an office.”

“These are generally located in convenient locations and provide a sense of community and opportunities for networking. It also comes with event spaces as well as private meeting rooms which allow startups and entrepreneurs to host community events to connect with prospective clients and host meetings with partners,” he explained.

“While most entrepreneurs resort to cafes for working long hours,” Mr Shazeeb further adds, “co-working spaces also provide a free flow of tea and coffee to ensure the highest efficiency of its members.”

Changing the prevailing concepts of working environment

Co-working spaces provide a modernistic approach to changing work environment and culture by not only shrinking the costs incurred to a business but also allowing a scope of collaboration and diverse networking opportunities.

Even though cost reduction remains a pivotal factor for being inclined towards co-working spaces, the escalated bloom of entrepreneurship over the last decade is also a reason for its quick fame.

Mr Shazeeb also thinks that the rising trend towards entrepreneurship over the last decade has significantly triggered its demand.

In his words, “The youth community in Bangladesh who feel responsible for the future is emerging with a holistic vision. The ongoing pandemic has made it even clearer that young innovative entrepreneurs are crucial to restructure the new normal and solve the most pressing issues of our time.”

“A platform that accommodates their spirit and passion is now required more than ever and co-working spaces play a huge role in providing the logistical support that they need”.

Needless to say, the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has shuffled the economic and social dynamics of the country greatly. The shift from physical to home office significantly promoted the need for flexibility amongst the majority of the people.

At the same time, the unprecedented event has also forced many organisations and entrepreneurs to cut down their overhead costs and find a way to withstand the losses incurred which further escalated the need to shift to shared spaces and remain cost-effective.

“Our world is facing complex challenges that will only be tackled through collaboration,” hopes Mr Shazeeb.

The buzz around co-working spaces is definitely not an exaggeration but an echo of the true scenario in today’s business world.

Crossing the hurdle of endless misconceptions and downsides, the journey of co-working spaces in our country has been a notable one.

Hence it is important to acknowledge how much such spaces have contributed towards the progression of the collaborative work environment in Bangladesh.

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