The rise of co-working spaces in Pakistan has been a long time coming. Pakistan has one largest number of freelancers, whether they are IT professionals, designers or virtual assistants. It also has a growing startup community. Both of these demographics have been itching to have a “co-working” option, which can allow them to avail office facilities, while also network with their peers.
Most freelancers work from home, and some opt to go into coffee shops a few days a week for a change of pace. Very few have dedicated offices, and many struggle with developing a daily routine, or do not have access to office facilities like printers, high-speed Internet, phone lines or video conferencing options. A co-working space addresses all these issues, at a small cost. It also offers back-up power, a growing issue with home offices since most cities have regular load-shedding during the year.
Over time, a few co-working options have popped up all over the country. This is by no means an exhaustive list. We have tried to cover all the co-working spaces we know of. Some of these are more exclusive than others, for example, Dot Zero has an application process, as does TechHub. If you think we’ve missed any, please let us know in the comments section.
TechHub has been launched by Plan9, one of the best tech startup incubators in the country. It opened doors in 2014. There are 144 spots available, with each freelancer having access to an in-house business development consultant, video conferencing, backup power generators, a kitchen, and of course, Internet. You need to apply to become a member.
Office Space is also located in Lahore, and offers desk space with no deposit upfront. There are communal workspaces as well as private office spaces available. You can use the meeting rooms for meetings with clients as well. They also have centralized air-conditioning and uninterrupted power supply.
Dot Zero offers multiple pricing plans, based on what you need. You can opt for day-passed, sign up for longer term contracts, whatever makes more sense for your business. They allow members to sign up as individuals, small businesses or corporate users. They offer desks, free tea and coffee, and a mailbox so you can receive all your work correspondence at a business address instead of your home. You need to apply to become a member.
IVY is located in Islamabad, and while they don’t have a website (that I could locate) you can contact them via their Facebook page. They provide office space, reliable Internet, uninterrupted power supply, ergonomic chairs, temperature controlled environment, security, flexible work schedules, conference and meeting rooms, parking space, business address for snail mail, tea and coffee, and networking opportunities.
Not to be confused with Basecamp, the project management software, Basecamp.pk is a co-working space established in Peshawar. They describe themselves as a co-working and collaborative space for entrepreneurs and startups. You need to sign up, although day passes are available, and they have extensive plans available for the more committed entrepreneurs. They also offer networking events.
This list of co-working spaces is a great place to start if you are a freelancer looking to find some office space. Whether you want to work in a formal environment all week, or just once or twice a month, you will be able to find a plan that works for you.