Why Co-working Spaces Are Not the Cheaper Option

  • Co-working office space
    Co-working office space . FILE
  • Numerous startups struggle with the decision on whether to invest in an office space or use the money more prudently and invest in co-working space, but as it now emerges, the latter is not the cheaper option. 

    For an organization that has 10 employees, for instance, it would cost upwards of Ksh150,000 per month to only have desk access to the facility being co-shared. This means, for an individual, this is Ksh15,000 for a desk subject to availability.

    However, for those who may want to have a dedicated sitting area, they will be required to dig deeper into their pockets for the luxury of having a permanent desk to work from. This will cost not less than Ksh250,000 every month for a team of 10, whereas individually, it would cost Ksh25,000 monthly.

    Co-working office space
    Co-working office space . FILE

    This cost further goes up to Ksh300,000 for the same team of 10, should they opt for a private office that comes with amenities such as an assigned phone.

    These prices are, however, different from the rent required for the same team of 10 around the city, where office spaces cost as low as Ksh45,000 depending on the size.

    According to BuyrentKenya, an online real estate platform, an office space of 218 Square Feet for rent in Nairobi Central could cost as low as Ksh30,000 per month.

    A much bigger space of 1229 Square Feet for rent in Westlands, will cost Ksh100,000, Ksh50,000 lower than what a co-working space would cost you for a team of 10, yet the space could sit more than 10 people.

    However, for an area like Kilimani, a 1558 Square Feet office for rent, will cost slightly more than what it would cost for a team of 10 at a co-working space, coming at a price of Ksh155,000 monthly. 

    On the other hand, whereas the co-working space may be ideal for an individual, it may not be ideal for a startup with multiple people.

    The price that one would pay for privacy at a co-working space is the same price that an office space sitting on half an acre piece of land in Lower Kabete would cost. 

    Moreover, co-working spaces may not ask for goodwill or a deposit, however, their engagement comes with its own restrictions such as a non-transferable ticket, which could mean there is a risk of losing money for days one cannot use the space.  

    Although the concept may be timely due to the pandemic, its viability remains questionable, largely owing to its cost implications considering most people who use the space are largely startups.

    Co-sharing working space could be the future of employment as more people opt to work remotely, but should the pricing remain constant, it may be a distant future as companies choose to continue paying rent as opposed to financing their employer from co-sharing.

    Kenyans.co.ke employees pose for a photo at the company's offices in Westlands
    Kenyans.co.ke employees pose for a photo at the company's offices in Westlands, Nairobi.