Technology freelancers have been growing rapidly in Pakistan for some years now, but there were not a lot of places where they could get together and be seen. The rise in the number of co-working spaces in Lahore in the recent months have seen these freelancers come out of the closet and, as a result, some amazing things are happening. Just last week, I was part of a conversation where a node.js developer- Imran- was talking to one of his senior co-workers and telling him about the work he is doing for his clients in the US. His peer, somewhat amazed by the kind of work that is being done by programmers in Pakistan, immediately offered him some more work on some fascinating projects he was undertaking. He was somewhat distressed by the fact that there are a lot of brilliant coders like Imran who are lying in the abyss – undiscovered – with their talent not completely realized.
But in the recent month, the rise of co-working spaces have given an opportunity for freelancers to come out and know what their peers are up to. Co-working spaces offer a variety of benefits to freelancers and open a sea of possibilities for them. Here are some of the benefits I have observed based on my experience of a year working from a co-working space in Lahore.
Freelancers trying to launch products of their own can find partners and form a team:
After I have regularly pulled off 12-hours work days for years now working on the projects of my clients and seeing some of my clients make millions by building successful businesses on applications developed by us, I am moving on to building products of my own. I think this time comes in the life of every established freelancer and this is where co-working spaces provide us the greatest benefit.
Building a successful business on a product requires people from different backgrounds and diverse skill sets. Finding a person who can complement us in business is not easy, and there is a myriad of factors involved. Co-working spaces come really handy here because one gets to see the work and work ethic of people from various backgrounds – who could potentially be your business partners.
Another finding from the global co-working survey 2017:
Reinforcement and encouragement:
Parents of more than 90% of technology freelancers do not know about the kind of work their son does. Some of the very established and experienced freelancers told me that their parents tried to take them out of freelancing into a job where they could actually see their son go to an office in the morning and come back in the evening. Early days are the most difficult ones when work is rare and there is very little money coming in. In an environment like this with negative energy, one can easily get demotivated. Co-working spaces play a vital role here where all of my coworkers can empathize with me because they had been through the process. Just being around them can be a tremendous support on a tough day.
This is one of the ancillary benefits of co-working I have personally experienced after working for a year from Kickstart Zblock. Working from an environment where everybody else is also working pushes me to work harder. But I acknowledge that the same rule cannot be applied to everybody. I have met people who are more productive in front of a TV than from working out of a silent, peaceful room.
A Cure for Blurring of Work-Life boundaries and provide an opportunity to socialize:
Working out of your bedroom seems convenient because you can save a lot of time that would be otherwise wasted on the commute. However, I have realized through experience that it is only good in the short-run. When you continuously live and work from the same space for months, work-life boundaries become blurry. You don’t know when you are at work and when you are not. Having another place for work helps to keep things smooth and clear and avoiding burnout. This is a benefit of co-working spaces that is more enjoyed by the experienced freelancers.
Co-working industry in Lahore is still in its early stages, and there is much more to come in the future. Co-working spaces in the mature markets are providing so many benefits that it stops making sense for freelancers to stay at home or work from a secluded office. I am hoping for it to happen in Lahore and Pakistan soon.