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The allure of today’s coworking spaces is hard to describe. Walk into any such space, and you’re greeted with a unique kind of exhilaration. Professionals clad in comfortable jeans do some of their best work, leaning back on teardrop hanging chairs or sitting perched on barstools surrounding large, shared tables.
Most spaces are loud and vibrant, with bright colors and eclectic fixtures that follow a central theme. Chalkboard graffiti walls, game rooms, and a pantry that packs a punch are almost standard. But such spaces also house state-of-the-art equipment, private conference rooms that seat dozens, and printing facilities. These aren’t the traditional, cubicle-based office spaces, and teeming with the best and brightest minds, it isn’t hard to feel like you’re on the verge of creating something huge.
Coworking spaces on the rise in Asia-Pacific
These coworking and flexible spaces are creating value for Asia-based companies. According to research by real estate consultant JLL, demand for flexible office spaces is growing faster in Asia-Pacific than anywhere else in the world. Major flexible space operators have doubled, and flexible floor space has increased by 150 percent in just three years.
According to the Co-Working Index by CircleLoop, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Tokyo, Mumbai, and Melbourne dominated the top 10 cities that provide the most coworking spaces with a combined total of 774. The same index saw multiple cities in the region like Busan, Kuala Lumpur, and Hangzhou make the top 10 for cheapest cities for hot-desking.
Why are coworking spaces so popular in Asia-Pacific?
The past year and a half acted as an accelerant that forced Asia-Pacific-based companies to reimagine the concept of traditional office spaces. In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), high digital penetration rates caused an e-commerce explosion, as growth was forecasted to hit US$88 billion by 2025.
Countries in emerging Asia like Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines also hold a high proportion of young, educated, and entrepreneurial talent. The World Economic Forum (WEF) further predicts that 31 percent of ASEAN professionals are either entrepreneurs or work for a startup – prime tenants of coworking or flexible spaces.
Ardent government support to foster startup ecosystems has also led to a rise in demand for such spaces. Singapore, for example, set up the Tech.Pass, a type of visa that grants international tech entrepreneurs, leaders, or experts entry to the city-state. Australia did something similar with their Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce.
The rise of nomadic culture and the work-from-anywhere model also funneled high numbers of digital nomads in countries like Indonesia and Thailand, who thrived in coworking facilities.
Data from ResearchAndMarkets.com’s latest report reveals that the global coworking space market will grow from US$7.97 billion in 2020 to US$8.14 billion in 2021, and Asia-Pacific is set to contribute significantly to those numbers.
Are coworking spaces worth it for your company?
In short, yes. There is plenty to be said about the benefits of coworking or flexible spaces for employers and employees alike. Malaysia-based WORQ is one example of a popular coworking space for networking and collaboration, caters to entrepreneurs, investors, and MNCs alike via multiple outlets around prime city centers.
For corporations, the most obvious is saving on overhead costs since they no longer need to commit to long rental contracts. Additionally, companies can scale back on office costs like furniture, cleaners, and office supplies – a massive win for quickly growing startups that might be limited on funds. Dell’s flexible work solutions saved US$39.5 million due to reduced office space requirements and an estimated 42 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) since 2013.
Flexible workspaces also foster increased productivity rates, as employees are empowered with autonomy and the necessary facilities to do their jobs. Happier employees translate to more loyal employees, ultimately leading to lower attrition rates. Companies can avoid the cost of replacing an employee – which includes recruiting and re-training.
With the decentralization of the office, companies now have a limitless talent pool to hire from. By utilizing borderless hiring, organizations can hire and set up the brightest talent with coworking spaces in locations nearest to them. With talent becoming the new oil, companies in Australia, Japan, and Singapore that already struggle with a growing talent shortage and skills mismatch have plenty to gain. Tapping into a wider talent pool also means increased diversity as stay-at-home parents, the disabled, the elderly, and students can provide their expert skill sets and contribute to the economy.
Will your employees use coworking spaces?
Flexible workspaces also benefit employees who struggle with maintaining healthy work-life boundaries. Mckinsey states that moms who work remotely are three times more likely than working fathers to be responsible for household and caregiving duties, which leads many to feel they work “double shifts.” The strain has caused mothers to be 75 percent more likely than fathers to grapple with mental health concerns.
Coworking spaces provide a welcome reprieve and create a clear divide between the office and at-home hours. Many also struggle with replicating a conducive work environment at home. Not everyone has the luxury of a home office or having access to printing facilities, for example. Most coworking spaces like WORQ provide breakout areas, discussion booths, phone booths, and napping pods for power naps.
Employees who live further away from their offices can also save on travel costs and pick a coworking hub nearest them. Not all employees perform at their peak with a 9-to-5 job. Most coworking spaces provide 24/7 access, which means professionals are free to work at their convenience during hours that most benefit their lifestyle.
Learn how we can help
According to the 2021 Work Trend Index Index, 66 percent of business leaders are considering redesigning physical spaces to accommodate hybrid work environments better. If your company decides to ditch local headquarters and adopt flexible workspaces, consider international, borderless hiring to reap maximum benefits.
Work with Globalization Partners, a global employment platform that simplifies international growth by making it easy for companies to hire anyone, anywhere, within minutes, and without setting up subsidiaries. Leverage our AI-driven platform to onboard your employees and manage payroll, taxes, and HR-related matters.
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