Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

The new norm, working from home, work flexibility and social distancing rules in the office environment, implies the advantages of a coworking space diminishes. However, since the outbreak, most office spaces have rapidly adjusted to the new commercial office changes. The benefit of coworking is the reduction and full transparency of office maintenance costs. This approach is especially useful for larger companies or startups where maintaining a permanent office is prohibitive. Post-COVID surveys of several of our coworking tenants have shown that besides economic factors, motivational factors work effectively in favour of working from home.

In Singapore, coworking is continuing to grow post-COVID. The main driver for this continues to be renting a workplace for a short time (for a day or more) while having access to the entire range of office services. Coworking offers the possibility of securing a specific workplace, renting meeting and conference rooms and in house catering for meetings or events. By the end of 2018, the fastest-growing flexible workspace market in the Asia-Pacific region (APR) grew by over 15%, according to Instant Group research. According to experts, there are over 8,600 centres in the region that provide “flexible office” services. Hong Kong is the leading country in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 340 coworking sites within the city limits alone. The supply in this market increased by 19% in 2018 (for comparison, in London this figure was half as high). There was also a 19% increase in the offer in Bangalore, Singapore, and Melbourne. This trend hasn’t stopped even post COVID with expansions by several major commercial office providers in the region. 

Lower operational costs

The most crucial factor is the price. According to a Knight Frank study, a startup costs 50% less to rent a coworking space on average than renting a classic office (experts analysed the costs of renting and decorating an office space of 56 m2 in the technology and creative clusters of 21 world centres). Unified design, standardised furniture and office equipment allow you to reduce investments in setting up a new office.

Hong Kong has 300 coworking spaces, Singapore has 180, and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) has 100. We estimate that by 2030, coworking space will account for 15% of total office supply in Southeast Asia even post COVID. Small and medium-sized companies often have rapid and frequent increases and decreases of personnel, each time the expansion or shrinking of the office is suitable for the number of employees, there is a cost of investment and liquidation of fixed assets to move to a new office, this cost is not small for companies.  

coworking in asia operational costs
Managing office operational costs in Asia

Community atmosphere

Meetings with exciting and talented people are inevitable. You can expand your social circle and connect to new projects. Working in a coworking space has many advantages. For example, people can share ideas and easily collaborate on projects, allowing people to create a space where they can meet clients on a professional level. Coworking also provides a kind of “cafe culture “that promotes intellectual exchange, friendship with other people in often isolated industries, and communication.

(Read: Check out our flexible office spaces at Fullerton Road, Harbourfront Avenue and Kallang Junction)

coworking in asia with a community atmosphere
Developing a community atmosphere

Productivity

There is always a creative and working atmosphere, so inspiration becomes natural. The absence of the distractions inherent in working at home or in a cafe also helps to increase productivity. These spaces create ideal conditions for creative synergy. When highly intelligent and creative people are in one room, and everyone makes their contribution, you see people around you working, and you’ll also become inspired. It is like a positive chain reaction.

coworking in asia improving productivity
Productivity inside a coworking office

Everybody knows how important a healthy work-life balance is, working full time in the fixed office with many people in closed cubicles is like being imprisoned. Studies have shown that this is not good for the brain. Interiors in coworking space are spacious, mostly post COVID for more improved for more social distancing, standing space and sitting positions for reduced fatigue while also preventing back pain.

For those who are just starting a business (for example, startups and entrepreneurs) – coworking is an ideal option because it allows you to quickly increase or decrease the number of workers in the team. The low setup costs, shared infrastructure, a broad internal community to communicate with is often enhanced with the coworking experience such as mentors and broad professional expertise in the office. 

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Anders Lim
Regional Manager Asia