A growing population of budding entrepreneurs, freelancers, and virtual workers has emerged within Nigeria over the past couple of years.
To support their needs, technology hubs and coworking spaces were created. They were made to provide new approaches for like-minded individuals to learn, network, and build a sense of community.
For startups and freelancers, coworking spaces give them the opportunity to minimise cost, meet clients in a serene environment, and seek assistance when the need arises.
Suggested Read: A comprehensive list of coworking spaces in Lagos
Though frequent users of these spaces value the autonomy they provide, their productivity is sometimes stifled.
A developer or founder with foreign clients who finds communication difficult due to time zone differences has no choice but to find a solution.
Dapo (not real name) is not an early bird who has a nine-to-five routine, but because of the nature of coworking spaces in his vicinity, he has no choice but to work from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. if he is to get meaningful work done.
In today’s fast-growing world where business people value freedom and diversity, most coworking space offers in Nigeria only last till 8 p.m. So what alternative exists?
Night shifts in coworking spaces
“I hardly concentrate when working during the day in the coworking space I use. If there were an option where I could work at night, I won’t hesitate to take it because I function better at that time,” Dapo says.
Like Dapo, many people are increasingly preferring to work at night. With optimum working conditions that let one work undisturbed, coworking at night is seemingly modelled for flexibility. Most times during the day at workspaces, there is poor wi-fi connectivity and speed. However, this is different at night when one is able to work more efficiently because of better Internet speed.
Also, distractions that occur during the day — chattering, meetings, phone conversations — lead to a loss of concentration. Working at night solves this problem as an air of tranquillity is provided.
Interestingly, it would seem hubs and coworking spaces are beginning to see the need for night shifts and are already creating structures that integrate the night option into their culture.
Recently, MusterPoint — a coworking space in Ikeja, Lagos — took the coworking space at night concept to a new level, with the launch of its 24-hour service. CEO of MusterPoint, Babatunde McIver, explains how the night shift has made 24-hour work a possibility.
It's ON!!! 🔛
We switched on 24 hours co-working and everyone who's experienced it can't stop talking about it!👇🏽 🗣 pic.twitter.com/5haPcKg11K
— MusterPoint (@MusterPoint_ng) January 18, 2020
“Most of our businesses here don’t maximise their night shifts like people in other climes who work round the clock. I thought about the fact that someone could begin to lead a new direction in the tech ecosystem for people to be able to be productive and run a 24-hour cycle of work,” he says.
The demanding nature of night shifts
Running night shifts in a coworking space is purely based on demand. As Mclver points, it can come with the need to increase security.
In their case, they’ve had to engage professional security firms to help secure the workspace at night, albeit bringing some level of comfort.
Although this might have implications for the coworking space owners and the rent seekers cost-wise, McIver believes the value the company is creating should be able to override the cost of setting up its night shift operations.
“We just started but we’re convinced that people will see the value. And this value is what will help us balance our costs and ensure that we are able to sustain this new direction as a model for our business going forward,” McIver says.
For one, MusterPoint offers ₦3,000 for its night shift package compared to ₦4,000 for its daily access package. That’s ₦1,000 less.
This seems like a reasonable price for those who prefer to work only at night and for coworking spaces as an additional revenue stream.
This is why McIver believes that when night shifts in coworking spaces gain momentum and people begin to see the value, others will follow suit and adopt similar models.
“If you run a space and most of your clients are requesting for the night service, it’s only right you give it to them, ” he says.
Typically in any market, once a company starts something and people are able to see that there’s an opportunity or money in it, there is a high tendency that it will get adopted fast. It is a question of time before more coworking spaces make that adjustment on their businesses and offer night shifts.
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Nigerian startups raised $377m in 2019, more than twice what they did in 2018. Find out more when you download the full report.