Tag Archives: coworking space

The Work Project is official co-working partner of OUE’s Downtown Gallery

THE Work Project – a Hong Kong-based co-working space operator – is the official co-working space partner of Downtown Gallery in OUE Downtown, OUE’s upcoming mall located at 6 Shenton Way, The Business Times has learnt.

It will fill the entire fourth floor of Downtown Gallery – that is, 20,000 square feet of space – and is set to deliver a new concept here of workspaces designed for the future workforce.

Junny Lee, founder of The Work Project, told BT: “We recognise that the co-working industry is growing, but we are completely different from competitors in the region. For one thing, we are sited at the heart of a mixed-use development – this gives our members access to a wide range of food and lifestyle facilities, right at their doorstep.”

Co-working spaces here – which have multiplied in the last few years – are mostly located in shophouses, serviced apartments or office buildings.

Downtown Gallery was unveiled (in July) as part of integrated development, OUE Downtown, which comprises serviced residences, and retail and office spaces. Tenants of Downtown Gallery will include a farmer’s market by The Providore, boutique fitness studio GuavaLabs, and a pre-school run by Mulberry Learning Centre.

Mr Lee said The Work Project’s aspirations are entirely in line with those of Downtown Gallery – representing the future of luxury, wellness and bespoke. “We are Office 2.0. Our workspaces are created with the individual in mind, and are multi-sensory, with thought put into how they look, smell and sound. This drives productivity and work happiness.”

He added that The Work Project will offer unprecedented flexibility. Businesses can choose between hot desks and private offices, and any start date or booking period (on a monthly or even daily basis). “Members don’t need to be married to a space. We offer a truly flexible environment where they can work according to what task they want to get done on any day.”

Notably, The Work Project is modelling itself after the hotel industry, allowing interested businesses to first check out available spaces and pricing via its website instead of making an instant booking. Rates may fluctuate month to month depending on demand. Mr Lee said: “We want to be transparent, by providing full information on all our rates and inventory.”

In Hong Kong, where The Work Project first opened (in September), an individual hot desk costs about HK$300 (S$55) a day on average, and a private office for two starts from HK$13,905 a month. The co-working space is sited in Midtown Soundwill Plaza II at Causeway Bay, and has 74 private offices and 80 hot desks across four floors.

When asked why Hong Kong was picked as the first city, Mr Lee cited “extraordinarily high” office rents. “We feel we can really add value in Hong Kong, where office leases are among the most expensive in the world. The Work Project not only offers a flexible solution, but value for money for businesses and entrepreneurs.”

According to the South Korea-born entrepreneur who became a Singapore citizen 31/2 years ago, the average rent paid by companies per employee in Hong Kong is about HK$9,000 a month. But with The Work Project, that can go to as low as HK$6,600 a month for 10 employees, based on a configuration of a six-person private office and four hot desks.

Rates for The Work Project in Singapore are being finalised. Downtown Gallery will mark its second space globally. Mr Lee said that when full, it can host 350 members. Its target tenants are companies that are “part of the knowledge economy”, such as those in consulting, design, branding, advertising and public relations.

Patrina Tan, senior vice-president for retail, marketing and leasing at OUE, told BT: “What we are trying to do is build an ecosystem with all our partners in this semi-retail development that is Downtown Gallery. For instance, members of The Work Project can get discounts at in-mall amenities such as gyms and restaurants.”

She added that Downtown Gallery seeks to transform the way people live, work and play. “Innovating is essential to our goal of injecting vibrancy into the retail landscape, and we welcome the opportunity to work with more partners like The Work Project who share our vision.”

Downtown Gallery will open its doors in the first quarter of 2017.

Homegrown firm JustCo looks to ‘super-size’ co-working spaces in Singapore

Homegrown space provider JustGroup is rapidly scaling up its presence in the segment of co-working spaces, with plans to open two new shared offices in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) next April.

Its co-working brand JustCo currently offers 50,000 square feet of space at two locations – 120 Robinson Road and 6 Raffles Quay. With a combined floor area of more than 100,000 square feet, the upcoming facilities at UIC Building and Marina One will more than triple the company’s footprint in the burgeoning real estate segment in Singapore.

Spanning approximately 40,000 square feet across two levels, the new space at UIC Building will have up to 1,000 desks, as well as features for various work purposes including quiet pods, stand-up meeting rooms and an event space with tiered seating arrangements.

Apart from these, Channel NewsAsia understands there will also be special facilities such as a Venture Lab where early-stage start-ups can meet representatives from larger businesses and prospective investors, as well as a Silicon Valley-style project space for companies to brainstorm and develop their ideas before testing out prototypes.

For the space at UIC building, the first storey will open in April while the second storey is slated for its official launch in November 2017.

Over at Marina One, the new location will be fitted with approximately 500 working desks, making it the largest single-storey co-working space locally, according to JustCo. Its location at the heart of the Marina Bay financial district will also offer a “unique opportunity” for businesses of various sizes “to set up in a prestigious location that previously would have been reserved for the large corporates”, said founder and CEO Kong Wan Sing.

On why the firm has decided to “super-size” its presence with two new mega shared offices in the pipeline, Mr Kong told Channel NewsAsia: “The demand for co-working in Singapore is growing rapidly so we’re increasing our space to meet the demand. Plus, there is a shift in the types of companies using co-working space to bigger and well established companies so we’re expanding our offering by adding prime buildings and locations like Marina One.”

In addition, Mr Kong believes that the physical expansion will expedite the growth of its community, therefore offering its members a bigger network to tap into. “New members are instantly connected to a network of individuals and businesses who can help them expand, find new clients, partner up or connect with investors,” he added.

Industry observers noted that JustCo, which unveiled its first space along Robinson Road last September, is among the most aggressive players in the local market. Its parent company JustGroup also has a serviced office arm JustOffice, which operates on a rental workspace concept catering to larger businesses.

“In order to meet the needs of the millennial generation, serviced office providers have begun offering the option of co-working. If you look at JustCo’s footprint, they are expanding aggressively to build up their brand and defend market share,” said Ms Christine Li, research director at Cushman and Wakefield.

“They already have a community which helps them to project how much demand there is for co-working spaces so that gives them the confidence to expand,” she added.

MEGA CO-WORKING SPACES IN CBD: MORE IN THE PIPELINE?

JustCo is not alone in rolling out sprawling co-working spaces in the CBD area. Earlier in the week, The Working Capitol (TWC) unveiled a 55,000-square-foot facility along Robinson Road, its second location after opening its first at Chinatown in 2014.

Spread across 11 floors, the new addition by TWC offers options for businesses with staff ranging from one to 200 people. Initial members include a FinTech (financial technology) lab by RHB Bank and a 100-person tech unicorn that will be occupying an entire floor. A unicorn is a start-up that is valued at one billion dollars or more.

Ms Li from Cushman and Wakefield attributed this take-up of prime offices by co-working space operators to the lingering glut of office spaces and softening rents. According to Ms Li, almost 2.3 million square feet of office space will hit the market next year.

“This supply situation means there are now many options in the market. The rental differences between CBD and suburban locations have also narrowed so it probably makes more sense for these players to expand in the CBD.”

However, a steady stream of new players have since jumped into the rapidly-growing segment and Ms Li noted that even as the concept of co-working remains highly in demand, consolidation is bound to occur. Players who derive their revenue predominantly on cheap rents and have yet to establish their niche will be most at risk.

“Nearly 80 per cent of co-working spaces are located outside of the CBD and their rents are quite manageable. So some players charge their members a bit more and depend on that little premium to be sustainable,” Ms Li explained.

“Overtime, if they do not build up their community and continue to rely on this difference in rent to survive, it will be tough because there are many regional and global players coming into Singapore,” she added.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 9 Dec 2016

Tech unicorn makes rainbow connection at co-working space here

A TECH unicorn with about 100 staff will take up space at a new co-working office in Singapore’s Central Business District area in early 2017.

The Working Capitol said on Monday it would offer about 55,000 square feet across 11 floors at 140 Robinson Road to businesses across various industries. It said initial members of The Working Capitol on Robinson Road include a fintech (financial technology) lab by RHB Bank and a 100-person tech unicorn situated across an entire floor. It did not identify the tech company, with a unicorn referring to a private tech company that is valued at at least a billion dollars.

The Working Capitol has an existing 40,000-square-foot office space in Chinatown, which houses more than 70 companies, including startups, small and medium enterprises, and large global organisations.

A human centric approach to designing the future workplace

THE concept of the workplace is evolving. Historically, the quest was to design the perfect workplace focused on the infrastructure and physical design, taking into account technological transformations, with business cost efficiency being a major driver. This approach, however, often neglected the human aspects and how the talent interacted in and around the space and how productivity was maximised.

This “single serving” mentality – buildings to house workers and workstations for employees – ignores the potential to transform urban spaces in cities worldwide into more holistic and human-centric precincts. As a result, commercial areas, especially central business districts (CBDs) around the world, turn into dead areas after dark and on the weekends. But it need not be this way.

A number of designers and developers are taking the lead with a more holistic, and more importantly, a more human-centric approach to designing the workplace and the ecosystem around it. The benefits are multi-fold – not only can employee talent be served better by increasing their productivity and well-being, the surrounding community may benefit as well.

Where the future works

This is what urban regeneration is about – as cities house more people than ever before, buildings need to be designed and constructed with people foremost in mind.

Many urban regeneration projects around the world are doing exactly that. From the vast Barangaroo South precinct in Sydney to International Quarter London, the centre of Europe’s largest urban development, these large-scale projects are transforming not just the skyline but also creating environments that are fit for the future way of working.

The common thread among each of these industry-leading developments is the fact that they are not just one-dimensional workplaces. Each is designed to be mixed-use projects from the very start, integrating a variety of asset classes – including shops, hotels, offices, parks, residences and leisure and entertainment offerings, providing a broad spectrum of amenities and experiences for the working population.

The workplace of the future will be part of a greater eco-system of amenities and complementary businesses, bringing together large public spaces, vibrant round-the-clock retail, leisure and entertainment options and seamless transport connectivity.

These future workplaces will also have a strong community focus, building in broad-ranging cultural, living, and working spaces, catering not just for the wellness of inhabitants, but for their well-being.

Closer to home, the ambitious Jurong Lake District and other up-and-coming business hubs in Buona Vista, Woodlands Central and Paya Lebar Central represent a similar take on the future of workplaces – which are not just for business but also offer inclusive community spaces for the broader population.

Connected and inclusive

With progressive cities such as Singapore moving towards being more car-lite, future workplaces will not just be easily accessible via public transportation networks, but also have dedicated amenities to support the needs of other active mobility methods.

End-of-trip facilities with bicycle parking, lockers, changing rooms and showers will be ubiquitous in future workplaces, supporting cyclists’ and joggers’ commutes to work.

Workplaces of the future will be sustainable hubs that seamlessly integrate social, leisure and work spaces. With this hub model, amenities and services do not just serve workers during working hours, but also the catchment of residents within the development and in the vicinity, acting as a gathering place where residents and visitors are able to connect with one another.

To transform the face of the workplace, there will also be curated retail and entertainment options that reinvent the entire development into a destination in and of itself.

For example, instead of the usual shopping complex serving the lunchtime crowd, future workplaces will feature alfresco dining streets, lush green spaces and multi-purpose plazas for community events or pop-up concepts.

Collaboration and concentration

The recent trend in workspace concepts is undeniably more human-centric compared to the past, with employers embracing the productivity benefits that open-plan spaces and hot-desking provide. The future of work is seen as much more collaborative and flexible, responding to the behaviours and working culture of the millennial generation.

A CBRE paper on workspace preferences by different generations revealed that while millennials do value spaces meant for socialising more than other generations, the most important spaces to them are those that allow them to think and concentrate.

In addition, the paper also found that millennials actually spend slightly more time doing individually focused work compared to their older colleagues. What this means is that workplaces of the future should allow for flexible designs and account for a broad variety of needs, such as private nooks where employees can focus their thoughts, providing a holistic rather than a homogenous environment for all.

Healthy and happy

Apart from having progressive fit-outs, the future workplace should promote the overall well-being of occupants. Beyond taking care of the physical wellness of inhabitants, ensuring well-being actually goes one step further, to a state where employees are both healthy and happy.

Developers globally are recognising that there should be metrics to account for the shift towards assessing the well-being of workplaces. In Singapore, the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark 2015 parameters include human-centric assessments on indoor air quality, lighting and acoustics, among others.

The improvements to productivity brought by a focus on employees’ well-being are not intangible – a JLL research found that both improved acoustics and privacy boost productivity by 6 per cent each, while improved views, lighting and daylighting increase productivity by 5.5 per cent. Improved air quality also mitigates problems caused by the “sick building syndrome”, cutting down short-term sick leave by 35 per cent according to one study.

In short, beyond function-driven approaches of providing fittings and layouts, a holistic approach to well-being ensures that every company’s most valuable resource – its employees – are well looked after.

Designing the future workplace involves looking beyond a functional office, to also creating a civic central for talent to flourish.

By RICHARD PAINE – managing director, Paya Lebar Quarter by Lendlease

CapitaLand pilots innovation at HQ to test-bed ‘office of the future’

CapitaLand has partnered with Singapore’s coworking space pioneer Collective Works to transform the 12th storey of Capital Tower – its headquarters – into a premium coworking space, as part of its pilot initiatives to test-bed alternative workspaces.

In what is a first for a Grade A office building and a landmark deal in the coworking sector, the joint initiative aims to shape the future of office buildings in Singapore and change the way office spaces are used.

“It is incumbent on CapitaLand to constantly assess opportunities that will allow us to stay ahead of the curve and seize first-mover advantages,” said CapitaLand president and group chief executive Lim Ming Yan in a statement.

Collective Works – Singapore’s first CBD-based coworking space – will manage the coworking space on behalf of the partnership.

The coworking concept, which began in the United States, has spread quickly across other gateway cities such as New York, London, Berlin and Paris, followed by South-east Asian countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. In Singapore, coworking is at a fairly nascent stage with a variety of business models, said CapitaLand.

The 50:50 joint venture, which will support up to 250 high performance businesses over 22,000 sq ft, has seen strong pre-registration, according to a statement issued by Collective Works.