The rise of co-working environments on the continent, and why entrepreneurs should join the revolution.

In recent years we have seen the growing global trend of co-working spaces becoming more and more popular locally. What is the appeal?

For an entrepreneur, startup or SME, many operational needs become apparent early on, from personnel and marketing to equipment and systems, but one of the most important considerations early on is none other than office space. For many early-stage entrepreneurs, the answer is usually a simple one, made for them not out of choice but out of necessity, that to work from home. How many success stories do we hear that echo this phenomenon, the old rags to riches story. The likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Under Armour were started in spare rooms and basements and not the product of tech accelerators or heavy early stage funding and fancy innovation hubs. But, thanks to success they grew and for image, professionalism and operations reasons, had to leave the comfy confines of mom or grans house to a more suitable infrastructure.

A familiar site for an entrepreneur – home = office

The problem with working from home, is exactly that, it’s your home and home is boring, sheltered and does what a home is meant to do, give you privacy and lock you away from the outside world. While that sounds nice, the fundamental issues with that, are multifold:

1. Your clients do you not live with you

Obvious right, I know but it’s true nonetheless. Your clients, collaborators, suppliers and inspiration are out there, outside the confines of your cosy dwelling. Whether in a coffee shop, in a corporate boardroom or a co-working space, one thing is for certain, they aren’t knocking on your door and having that disconnect when you need to generate clients and income is not a good or sustainable strategy.

2. Working from home does not scream “Trust me, I am successful and I can handle your business” to your clients

Everything is perception, and positive perception is vital. While it is very possible for someone to run a successful and professional business from home, you can’t blame a client for possibly questioning scale and capacity and even professionalism when learning of a home-based proposal. Nothing worthwhile comes from comfort

3. Cabin fever will kill your creativity

Ideas are born through interaction and discussion, and clients and opportunities result from being visible and willing to add value. A more dynamic office situation is good for the soul and being amongst people and peers will often serve to inspire and challenge a person. It is easy to get stuck in a rut, and a change of scenery is always good, which is why many freelancers use busy coffee shops as their base.



Co-working spaces provide many benefits for the aspiring entrepreneur, seasoned consultant or cabin-fever ridden professional who is looking for a flexible and dynamic space in which to thrive.


Co-working office spaces give you the freedom and flexibility that a traditional office space doesn’t. You can come and go and you please, and the contracts are often structured in a way that you can opt in for a monthly or shorter fixed-term stay. Long term leases are restrictive, don’t give you room to be nimble and can become a unnecessary cost in times of tightening the purse strings.


As plug and play as it gets, a co-working space is a ready to go option, equipped with high speed internet, desks and chairs, meetings rooms and phone facilities. No hassling with multiple suppliers, your spot is available and services. Easy.


Want a great business address without the price tag? Co-working spaces often secure prime locations in business districts. In Johannesburg, WeWork, a global powerhouse and new entrant into the local market, is putting the final touches on their stellar Rosebank offices, and Workshop 17 boasts a Sandton Central location. Both, just a short walk away from the Gautrain.


A co-working space is a melting pot of creativity, freelancers, business travellers and like-minded entrepreneurs. It gives you a sense of connection to the larger business community, and this results in new clients, suppliers, collaborators and friends. There is often a social aspect that is brought into the benefits of a co-working space and this brings a healthy balance to an entrepreneur looking to get more social. Organisations like WeWork even connect to you a worldwide community of like-minded entrepreneurs through their incredibly innovative platform, and through their on-site programmes, they plug their entrepreneurs into mentorships, funding and opportunities that would seldom come along passively.


Both in the professional and personal aspect. Through having the logistics, and structural hassles handled on your behalf, you can focus your energy on your business, your clients and growing your service or product. Co-working spaces champion growth, they cater for it, and encourage it. As an entrepreneur, your personal growth comes in the relationships and the sense of community you will share with like-minded peers.

Co-working spaces have a bunch of benefits over traditional office setups, and the flexibility on offer is suited to a busy and free-roaming entrepreneur.

When deciding on office space, always look into your needs, your growth projections and your affordability. For a consultant or freelancer, it offers an alternative to getting stuck in a rut at home, and for small teams, it’s a flexible alternative to long leases. WeWork even caters for corporates, enabling collaboration between SMEs, entrepreneurs and larger scale businesses, how clever is that?

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