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Keeping the Millennial Engaged at Work through Coworking Spaces

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Meet Christine. Christine is a 30 something year-old marketer with a leading blue chip company in Kenya.  Christine started her career at an advertising agency as a copywriter and worked her way up to the ranks of Account Manager, where she handled product launches for various leading brands in Kenya. About 5 years ago, Christine was headhunted into corporate Kenya as a Brand Manager and has risen in rank to a Senior Brand Manager overseeing 3 key brands that are million dollar brands for the multinational she works for, based out of Nairobi. Christine works with various agencies that support the execution of the brands’ Media, PR, Creative, Experiential and Digital strategies.

Christine loves her job, but over the last few years, since moving from agency to corporate, Christine has been frustrated about one thing. As a newly wed with a young family, she strives for work life integration. She understands she will have busy periods at work, particularly during campaign launches, but she also values flexibility when she needs to attend her personal and family obligations. Christine is frustrated about her work environment. Not the people or the processes, but the location. The company she works for is located in a busy area of Nairobi so she has a long commute to and from work, thanks to Nairobi’s notorious traffic. The office building she works in was constructed at the time of independence so it is roughly over 50 years old.  Despite efforts by her employer to update the interior of the building that houses over 300 staff, it still feels archaic and out dated. Recently, the office changed the style from private offices to an open plan, irking many employees who were not ready for this change.

As a marketer, Christine feels that her office space stifles her creativity as it is not aesthetically pleasing, and is very rigid in the spaces she uses such as meeting rooms or even the cafeteria.  As a short terms solution, Christine finds herself working from her agency’s office at least 2-3 times a week. The set up is not perfect but at least the location is better and the office is new with modern fixtures, and the vibe is alive. Downstairs from her agency’s office is a vibrant coffee shop where she often sits and works from. In the evening, she sometimes attends networking or programming events in the same building or nearby.

If you are a facility manager in Kenya today, I bet you have many Christines’ working in your office and going through these sentiments. These frustrations don’t just apply to those in marketing, but to the general millennial workforce who are looking for a modern, state of the art environment that promotes sharing and collaboration to spark creativity. Today’s millennial worker desires a delicate mix of alone time (privacy) with options to socialize when they want to (not through a forced open plan concepts). Integration of social spaces such as coffee shops or eating spaces is also a desire of the millennial worker, not just globally, but right here in Kenya.

If you have a Christine in your workforce, it high time you explored alternative workspaces so as to maximize productivity out of the millennial, or risk losing them to the next shiny new corporate, who has figured out the benefits of coworking spaces.

Workable Nairobi is a premium coworking office space designed and dedicated to corporate knowledge workers. Situated inside Sanlam on Waiyaki Way, Workable’s key focus is to provide Work|Life|Focus through personalized concierge services in aesthetically pleasing private and shared workspaces.

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