Coworking spaces are gaining popularity in Gig economies worldwide as current working trend leans towards working remotely and freelancing. For startups and small-scaled businesses, it provides a cheaper alternative in terms of operations costs compared to the old-fashioned traditional structures.
Traditional ways of setting up an office requires long-term tenancies, renovations, furniture and facilities such as pantry, WIFI connection, printers and car parking space which translates into additional costs for businesses. Not to mention monthly fixed costs such as water and electricity bills. All these are provided for by co-working space with no cost other than daily rental.
These office sanctuaries also allow workers to have the freedom to decide on their working hours as opposed to traditional offices which require staff to log their activities such as the time they start work and duration of breaks.
According to IWG survey, 78 percent respondents said that flexible workspaces help drastically reduce set-up costs and need for capital investment. The same survey also found that 86 percent of Singaporeans now work from outside their offices.
As such IWG, the world’s leading provider of flexible workspaces, decided to spread its wings outside Europe with the opening of the 26,000 sq ft-Spaces co-working area in Singapore in 2016. Today IWG has firm presence across the region with 23 locations in China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
Following its successful expansion in the Asia Pacific region, IWG now has further established its Spaces brand presence in Singapore with the opening of five new Spaces locations in the island state by mid-2019 and three in Malaysia. As for Singapore the five new Spaces locations are – Robinson Road, One Raffles Place, TripleOne Somerset, Paya Lebar Quarter and Clark Quay – bringing IWG’s total Spaces area to 250,000 sq ft.
The fact that IWG expanded rapidly to nine countries in just 20 months clearly shows the demand for co-working across the region.
Vijaykumar Tangarasan Country Head for IWG Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei attributed the rapid expansion to demand. “Corporate clients are getting more accustomed to co-working style office spaces, the concept and design of our Spaces appeal to multinationals and local company’s alike.”
Similar sentiment is also echoed by Martin Roodink Co-founder of Spaces. “The co-working space sector has grown significantly over the years as enterprises recognise that people are far more productive and successful in an enjoyable, social and inspiring work environment. Firms are also looking for flexible workplace options in a bid to achieve better cost control and talent retention,” he said.
In Singapore the adoption of co-working space has grown significantly over the years with IWG opening 26 centres within such short time. Being an international hub for businesses and among the most vibrant markets in the world, the state was a perfect fit with Spaces’ which in itself has a culture of connecting like-minded members to link up and share ideas.
Meanwhile, on the local front, Nicholas Holt, Knight Frank Asia-Pacific head of research was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying that the concept of flexible workspace was still relatively new in Malaysia and traditional office space was still the preferred choice among homegrown small- and medium-enterprises. However, he said the trend of co-working space was expected to grow as the concept gains popularity among start-ups, freelancers, independent contractors and multinational companies (MNCs) that need a temporary base of operation for quick market entry.
As demographics of working adults in Malaysia are skewing towards millennials, freelancing and flexibility are of utmost importance rather than a set working location and hours. The problem arises when a freelancer can’t concentrate in their own home, the co-working space provides a platform where they are still in control.
Freelancers looking for a conducive, comfortable working space can now look forward to Spaces Malaysia which will open in September. For those who have experienced the sleek concept of this hotel-like working environment in Singapore or any other parts of the world, Spaces Malaysia brings similar look and feel to Kuala Lumpur, offering customers that familiarity often putting a smile on its long-term visitors.
Plans are in place for more locations with Penang coming online and Kuching being another spot for Spaces. The rapid expansion is mainly fuelled by demand, while other coworking concept target individuals and freelancers alone, Spaces caters to larger groups and even corporate company’s with private rooms that can be leased for up to 24 months.
Some of these entities have global presence and often take up large portions of the coworking office space in the countries they have presence in or the countries that they wish to expand to.
That could be the reason Spaces Malaysia has already hit the 80 percent occupancy even before the centre officially opened its doors, prompting the team to add another floor to cater for the growing demand its been getting.