When it comes to office spaces, Singapore provides several options to businesses who are looking at establishing themselves in the country. Interestingly, every office space is unique in its way and attracts a different kind of clientele. For instance, big businesses who like to maintain the confidentiality of their work, prefer serviced office buildings, whereas, on the other hand, small companies love working out of co-working spaces.
Co-working spaces are in high demand in Singapore, being a nation of Start-ups. The number of co-working spaces in Singapore has tripled in the last five years and in 2019 occupied 3.7 million square feet in the net lettable area (NLA) of Singapore’s commercial space. Most of this space gets employed by the companies active in the finance segment, followed by services, technology, and telecommunication segments.
What Makes Co-working Space so Popular?
The popularity of co-working spaces can attribute to the several benefits it provides to start-ups.
The best part about hiring a co-working space is the cost-effectiveness that is associated with it. The business does not have to worry about leasing or renting a building, investing in furniture, costly printers, coffee machines, entertainment zones, and other such things since all of these are readily available in a co-working space. The business is also able to save on the cost of hiring support staff like janitors and security personals. Plus, with customized seating solutions, the company only pays for a required number of seats as opposed to paying rent for a big building or even just a floor where most of the space remains unutilized. The Hive is one such popular co-working space that provides not only free coffee to its occupants but also offers other services like phone booths, mailbox lockers, super speed wi-fi, and printers.
2. Flexible Working Hours
Unlike traditional offices that allow the occupants to stay and work on the premises for a set duration of time, co-working spaces provide freedom to work during any time of the day without fretting about the availability of office resources. Some co-working spaces even create customized plans that fit the budget and suit the needs of growing companies. For example, apart from private offices and dedicated desks that can be accessed 24/7, Workcentral Coworking has a unique plan which allows the users to save some money by limiting the use of the desk up till 6 PM.
3. Networking Opportunities
The nature of the office space brings together several people from different walks of life and with different ideas under one roof. This allows the business owners to find stakeholders and partners that can add value to the business. Such networking opportunities also help individuals in understanding the upcoming trends in the market and brew ideas to create disruptive products and solutions. Moreover, communication with like-minded people keeps people alive and motivated and enhances productivity. One co-working space that takes networking to a different level is Collective Works. Collective Works divides into different zones, and people with similar styles occupy the same zone, which ensures that the frequency of every occupant matches the others. The result is a better-engaged community of workers who love their surroundings.
Can Any Business opt for Co-working Spaces?
Co-working spaces came into existence as a solution to fulfill the demand of start-ups and SME sector looking for affordable and straightforward office spaces. Another need was to find office space in secure and connected neighborhoods. Such places allow people to commute to and from the workplaces with ease and at any time. It is the reason why some of the most popular co-working spaces in Singapore are located in close vicinity of MRTs or other popular public spots.
Co-working spaces are idle for business in any segment and of any size. Co-working spaces, while popular among start-ups, are used by big companies like RBC Royal Bank and GE Healthcare as well. The companies save time by investing in a co-working simple payment plan, freedom from negotiating with landlords, and the ability to add cultural diversification to the project and work environment.
Investing in a co-working space enables business owners to skip the need to sign an expensive lease on the buildings. Also, the business gets time to understand and estimate its workforce and space needs more efficiently without having to deal with cramped or underutilized office space. Moreover, co-working spaces like WeWork often partner up or invite investors and mentors to assist the start-ups who have rented their space by finding the right people to add to the team.
Therefore, it is safe to say that co-working space is apt for most businesses who would like to explore the newer way of doing work.
Co-working is for Everyone
However, given all the freedom, there are certain areas where businesses opting for co-working spaces might need to fasten their seatbelts. For example, information security and protection of the interest in cyberspace can be a problem if a business does not opt for a private office with the co-working space. Other factors include leaking of ideas, codes, quotations, and other business secrets knowingly or unknowingly by the stakeholders of the company. Nevertheless, with strong HR and cyber practices, a business can curb and keep an eye on the information flowing in and out of its system.
Another area where co-working spaces have been caught blind-sided is during to the recent spread of the pandemic COVID 19. As the number of infected cases increase globally, many employees using co-working spaces are not comfortable coming into work, as they are not sure of the precautionary measures taken by the providers, as opposed to companies that rent or own their office spaces. People are also wary of employees of other companies with whom they are currently sharing the spaces, especially common areas. Not only is it making the users uncomfortable, the businesses who run these establishments are also being severely affected. With many companies opting for work from home policies, co-working spaces are seeing empty aisles, which ultimately means lower revenues for them. Though this is only a temporary situation, yet companies need to be better prepared in times to come.
As we can see, co-working spaces are practical and have several benefits over other forms of office spaces. Apart from being affordable, co-working spaces are now growing into hubs and incubators of innovative ideas and networking opportunities. With the dedicated entertainment zones and stocked up pantries, the fun of having a friendly workplace adds to employee satisfaction. With some caution, co-working spaces can be the right decision for my businesses. With the growing trend of SMEs in the country, one can expect several more such areas to pop up around town.