This post is sponsored by JustCo.
The “Global Coworking Growth Study” reported that the number of co-working centres worldwide is expected to surpass 40,000 by 2024. At present, the Asia Pacific region has the most shared workspaces in the world, with the highest average capacity of 114 people.
While it is a promising statistic for co-working operators, what is more noteworthy is the changing profile of tenants. Start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers aside, we are now seeing a growing pool of enterprises jumping on the bandwagon. JustCo Singapore noted a significant increase in enquiries for flexible workspace solutions by enterprises, who now make more than 50% of its customer base.
Why the shift?
It’s a more cost-effective real estate solution
The ongoing pandemic has unveiled new real estate challenges – the need for more workspaces to house office employees amid social distancing measures. Split team arrangements and the equivalent have forced many to work at home from time to time. Employees are also gradually preferring to work elsewhere than in the office (more on this later).
What does all this mean for enterprises with large, but emptier offices? There will be wasted space.
If this makes up one end of the spectrum, the other is insufficient space for growing teams – one of the biggest hurdles large organisations always face.
What both scenarios entail is a cost – enterprises with such traditional office spaces are tied down to long-term leases with additional fees when they downsize or upgrade, alongside substantial fit-out spend This prevents them from scaling when they need to.
The solution: a flexible and cost-effective real estate plan – also known as a “core and flex” model.
The “core and flex” refers to an idea where enterprises occupy a long-term office space (core) and a flexible workspace somewhere else (flex).
A smaller traditional office or a serviced suite as “headquarters” can serve as the core. Dedicated hot desks at co-working spaces or private cabins as satellite offices in shared work areas complement the former where employees can jump on immediately to work – the flex.
With this, enterprises save on overhead expenses of large office spaces and have more agility in managing the size of their real estate vis-a-vis human resource needs.
There’s opportunity for networking even with privacy
For employees or those in the management level, networking is key to keeping up with the pulse of the market. A traditional office setting does not allow for seamless connections with the like-minded, but a co-working space can. A conversation in the common area such as the pantry can lead to meaningful business partnerships you’d never imagine.
Hot-desking employees will have ample opportunities for networking in the shared office space. Yet, privacy can be of concern – a dedicated cabin within the shared area will make the cut.
Regardless of the co-working plan, enterprises have access to regular networking sessions with industry practitioners, making it easier to enhance brand exposure and source potential leads.
You uplift employee morale and productivity
While Singaporeans have shown resilience adapting to work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic, it has brought about troubles for some. This has revealed a shift in local preferences, with 85% of Singaporeans longing for some form of flexibility in choosing where they would like to work.
Having the option to work where employees want keeps them happy – an essential aspect of employee morale, which translates to productivity. If the office is too busy, having a flexible and secured workspace somewhere in the city or neighbourhood gives them peace of mind to tick off tasks from a to-do list.
Perhaps a parent needs to pick up a child from school at an odd hour – a hot desk in a nearby location saves a good deal of commuting time. And on days when the walls close in on you while working from home, having a ready work desk in a co-working space solves the problem. All this with 24/7 access and security, so you’d never need to think twice where else to get your work done.
The co-working environment also offers a creative and collaborative workspace for employees who can break away from groupthink they unconsciously subject themselves to in the office. They can enhance the quality of their work with out-of-the-box ideas, ultimately benefiting the organisations they serve.
Co-working spaces have evolved over the years. They are no longer just a workspace arrangement for small businesses, but also a practical solution for enterprise-level organisations to better manage the office and workforce. If you’re looking for the future of work, this is it.