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How Covid-19 Will Affect Coworking Spaces in Singapore After Circuit Breaker Ends
Coworking spaces in Singapore have been gaining popularity amongst start-ups and freelancers who want a place to work, without investing a hefty sum of money to set up a dedicated office. After all, coworking space rental can be as low as S$220 to S$825 a month and even offer opportunities to mingle with like-minded folks who may eventually turn into business collaborators, definitely a preferred workplace for many Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) owners!
However, with strict safe distancing measures and the emphasis on reducing physical interaction due to the outbreak of the Covid-19, will these coworking spaces continue to thrive after the Circuit Breaker ends? Possibly, and here are the reasons.
- Coworking Spaces May Become Top Choices for SMEs
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and re-define our perspectives toward how businesses should operate in the 21st century. Many are realizing that technology and mobility have relinquished the need to commit to rigid leasing terms that are more of a financial burden than a necessity for running a business.
The mindset shift and financial constraints brought on by Covid-19 may just pave the way to greater success for the coworking concept.
- Remote Working Becoming a Norm
Many people are becoming more comfortable with telework, thanks to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that came down hard on companies that lack telecommuting arrangements during the early stage of the outbreak, now more than 80% of the Singapore workforce telecommute today.
As business owners and employees become more comfortable with remote working, they are more likely to embrace the benefits that come with it too. For business owners, remote working allows them to re-strategize their businesses through cost-cutting initiatives, redeployment of funds and even cross-border recruitment to include talents who are not based in the same geographical zone but are more suitable for the job.
Similarly, remote employees who are given more autonomy to where and how they work tend to be more positive at work. According to research by the University of Birmingham into workplace culture, it was found that employees with higher levels of autonomy in their work reported positive effects on their overall well-being and higher levels of job satisfaction; a winning formula for cultivating a dream team!
As remote working becomes a new norm, the coworking spaces will stand to benefit from this new phenomenon because individuals and companies are more willing and ready to explore such alternative ways of working.
- Saving on Long-Term Lease
With businesses struggling to stay afloat at this time, dishing out large sums for paying office rents may just be the straw that will break the camels’ back. Reportedly 8,663 business entities were closed in April 2020 and the impact of Covid-19 may hit SMEs even harder down the road.
Coworking spaces present cost-saving alternatives to businesses that prefer to channel the costs of maintaining a physical office to options that are more flexible and allow business owners to re-evaluate their finances. Of course, this does not mean that existing long-term lease can be dropped without penalty but the coworking alternative presents a lifeline for small businesses that are in serious need to cut costs when working from home is not a viable solution.
However, do not mistake the concept of coworking spaces as a mere solution for small business owners who are struggling to make ends meet, it is the choice of many savvy entrepreneurs who have the foresight of global trends too. In a study by Colliers International, the flexible workspace sector has made up 45% of prime-grade office net absorption in 2019. It is no wonder that developers such as Guoco, Mapletree, Keppel Land, City Developments, and CapitaLand have all jumped on the bandwagon to create their coworking brands too.
- Alternative Work Site to Comply with Safe Management Measures
The local authority has reiterated the need to take a gradual approach to reopen the economy. This points to prolonging the remote working arrangements even after Singapore exits the Circuit Breaker. In the recent announcement by the Ministry of Manpower on the Safe Management Measures at the workplace after 1st June 2020, companies are advised to implement shift or split team arrangements and deploy each team to different worksites to minimize the risk of cross-infection.
For organizations with limited work sites, coworking spaces can provide an alternative workplace that can render professional support and a conducive environment that may not be available when working from home.
Working in Coworking Spaces After 1st June 2020
For business owners and freelancers who are keen to explore coworking spaces after 1st June 2020, do note that the Government is granting gradual resumption of businesses and only permitted services are allowed to resume operations in coworking spaces after the Circuit Breaker ends. A list of services permitted under Phase 1 can be found here.
Alternatively, seek the approval of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) before committing to a coworking space contract.
“In the Midst of Crisis, Lies Great Opportunity”
As Albert Einstein puts it, there will always be opportunities present in every crisis. In the case of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has certainly alerted many companies to re-evaluate their business models, and explore new options that can benefit them even more in the post-Covid world. The popularity of coworking space is not a fad but a forward-thinking way of doing business that reflects the strength of community-based initiatives and the evolution of the mobile workforce.
Interested to Get a Coworking Space?
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