Interview: Meet Wendy Ologe of Smart Office, an Abuja-Based Co-working Space
As the world evolves and more people embracing technology, co-working spaces have become the next big thing, taking over traditional way of work. Across Nigeria are a number of co-working spaces offering entrepreneurs, SMEs and freelancers not just work spaces, but also an opportunity to connect and network with like-minded professionals.
Smart Office is one of the growing number of co-working spaces changing the way of work. In an interview with the Executive Director, Wendy Ologe, she revealed more about what they do and how the journey has been so far.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Wendy Ologe , an executive director at Smart OFFICE, a corporate organization with focus on developing businesses through capacity building and provision of work Spaces. My work experiences include years in the banking sector and the international non-governmental organizations.
Tell us about Smart Office Space
Smart Office is a co-working space in Abuja that provides affordable desk and office spaces to businesses. Our clients are entrepreneurs, start-ups companies and freelancers that enjoy our wide range of facilities. They connect, collaborate, communicate and commercialize their ideas at Smart OFFICE.
What inspired the idea to set up a co-working space?
My job gave me the opportunity to travel a lot. I realized that a lot of the time, you will hardly get anywhere to work from expect for an eatery or hotel, which most times are not conducive to hold meetings or even do your private work from. So the idea was borne out of seeing that people get to have access to an affordable place to work from even if they are freelancers.
Since kick-off, how has the response been from Nigerians?
Very encouraging….We just clocked one, on the 1st of November 2017 and since then we have partnered with a lot of entrepreneurs to get here. Interestingly, co-working Spaces are becoming the new way to work today in Nigeria. Though we still meet a lot of clients who are so excited because they are getting to know about co-working spaces for the first time.
What stands you out from other co-working spaces?
Customer Service Experience. This is our core value, we ensure that everybody who come in contact with Smart OFFICE leaves with an amazing experience even if they end up not doing business with us.
We just don’t create spaces to work from, we also provide businesses the opportunity to network, synergize and seek advice from in-house consultants, as well as each other.
Tell us about your successes since launch
We have had over 100 clients use our space since launch, both on long term and short term basis. We have worked with a lot of brands to deliver capacity building through training.
What are the challenges you’ve faced since launch, and how did you overcome them?
I honestly can’t remember any, I can only say we have only looked forward, maybe when the challenges came we didn’t know it was a challenge.
What has been your most exciting moment since you started running Smart Office Spaces?
Our most Exciting moment was our 1st anniversary celebration, hearing clients say what they love about Smart OFFICE and all of it connects to excellence customer service experience. It was a huge achievement for us, because like I said earlier it is one of our core values.
What are your thoughts on the evolving work style? More and more people are embracing remote work, do you see the traditional cubicle life phasing out anytime soon?
When you look around the eateries, or coffee shops, or walk through a park during the workweek, you will see —people plugging away on their laptops, busy with schoolwork, balancing their bank accounts, or just putting in time for their day jobs. However, this doesn’t come without its own challenge they include: The impact of organizational culture and individual well-being, accountability and visibility, maintaining boundaries between work life and home life, time zone and communication difficulties. The solution to all these challenges was the evolution of co-working spaces ,where you enjoy the flexibility of working at your own time and pace yet, having a sense of community as well as organizational structure.
Where do you see Smart Office Spaces in 5years time?
5 years from now, we will still be in the co-working business helping entrepreneurs find conducive and affordable work environment.