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The nature of businesses continually evolves and now more than ever, the growing trend of coworking has piqued the interest of those wanting to grasp more control of their working lives. “Serviced office spaces, better known as “flexi offices” have been available for some time now (since the 2000s).

The coworking trend began with serviced offices whereby, operators would set up and furnish an empty office space and convert it to several smaller furnished offices that can accommodate one staff or up to five or six people in one space equipped with services such as a receptionist as well as call answering and printing for the ease of occupiers to hit the ground running.

Coworking spaces are the revolution of serviced offices and have been around in Malaysia since 2015 onward thus, making it a fairly new option for small business owners, "states Zerin Properties Urus Harta chief marketing officer Aziz Shah.

According to WORQ Coworking Spaces vice president of growth Kau Chun Keat, “such spaces are targeted to startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and even enterprise customers that prefer to work in a corporate environment thus, through this option one will be able to work across various workspace locations."

Let's explore some of the key reasons, as to why a coworking space could be ideal for you!



Network with Different Industries

Operators of flexible office spaces have come up with exciting and value-added services targeted to the younger generation whereby a community set up is established.

In this setting, occupiers from different industries would be able to mingle with one another via group activities organised by operators, encouraging networking in its core!

Aziz explains, “coworking spaces have the benefit of offering more than a physical office as it is deemed to provide a community set up, encouraging occupiers to network amongst themselves to solicit business from one another."


Uninterrupted High-Speed Internet

Certain businesses especially offshore representative offices may require video conferencing consistently.

This would require the use of uninterrupted and stable high-speed internet as well as privacy hence a coworking space is a popular solution as it offers hot desking - a service that can be accessed daily with day to day flexible rates provided by most coworking service providers.

Kau Chun Keat explains the charges to use a coworking space varies according to the service selected. Customers looking for a permanent tenure can opt for packages that start from RM200 upward however, WORQ offers competitive rates with coworking products starting from RM300 a month for a Hot Desk!


Boost Productivity

Working at home or at a coffee shop may affect productivity as coffee shops usually tend to be noisy and crowded especially during peak hours. Kau Chun Keat explains, coworking spaces, on the other hand, is based within a corporate office space whereby people would come to these common venues especially for work purposes.

Members will be motivated based on the environment or vibe of the space which in turn may increase productivity. Adding to that most coworking establishments offer different sections for separate purposes, for example, comfortable tables and chairs for work, standing tables, discussion rooms, meeting rooms; not to mention the monthly cost of working in a coworking space is similar to completing your work at Starbucks if you are required to order a drink every time you visit!



No CAPEX Involved

Coworking spaces allow one to work in a fully equipped office environment without having to worry about moving, locating a workspace and setting up an ideal office hub resulting in major savings as renovation costs for an ideal workspace does not come cheap!

Kau Chun Keat enlightens, “why would you need to worry about locating vacant office spaces, setting it up from scratch by spending funds on interior design and construction, managing and parting with precious cash or capital expenditure (CAPEX) for renovation when you can simply rent a co-working space.”


Team Support

This is one of the important but hidden benefits of working in a coworking space! One spends a lot of time with colleagues as a huge chunk of hours in a day would dictate for one to stay in the office. Friends and family may be able to provide emotional support for situations faced in one’s personal life but not in one’s workplace.

Coworking spaces often conduct social events as group activities on a regular basis that assists with boosting positivity and helping its members to relieve their stress and negativity. Kau Chun Keat explains, “within our organisation WORQ we organise events as well as community initiatives to increase member exposure engaging with each other for example game nights, member lunches and movie nights.

Adding to that we also facilitate workshops and seminars allowing members to meet like minded people as well as assign community managers in each space to assist members to connect with one another (facilitated networking)."


Conclusion

Coworking spaces can truly be a success in Malaysia however, the deciding factor would be dependant on rates and services provided by individual coworking agencies.

It is wise for freelancers as well as those holding small startups to use the services provided by a shared office as it is affordable and doesn't require CAPEX.

Adding to that, users would be able to expose themselves to a mix of independent and large operators that offer various services in different locations that target a myriad of industries.

Aside from the cost, the placement of a coworking space next to a public transportation option can also determine its success. Perhaps the time has come for you to explore the best option with regard to a coworking service that would suit you best!

(By Viknesh Ashley Clarence, 11 June 2019)

Did you enjoy reading this article and would you now consider using a coworking space? Do let us know via the comments section below!

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