Your feedback is valuable to us. Many of you wanted a little bit more privacy in our desk arrangements, and we totally agree. So last week, Daniel and Augustine got hard at work rearranging our desks, chairs and sofas. We have created more cosy sections within our space called “pods” where one, two or three can gather and work or have a nice meeting or conversation. Here are some pictures we took. Feel free to contact our community managers if you would like to drop by for a visit!
Cowork@SG is expanding! We now have two coworking spaces – one in the east and one in the west. Our goal is to make it super easy for our members to work from either of our Cowork locations. Our membership plans start as low as $100 for CoCredits membership, and up to $400 for 24/7 access. Check out our membership plans or email us for more information.
We had a really nice time playing host to the Joo Chiat Kakis Hangout Nite. Joo Chiat Kakis a social group for young, creative and youth-centric businesses that are based in the Joo Chiat vicinity. Space at 8 is proud to be part of the Joo Chiat neighborhood and meeting all the cool people of Joo Chiat. We definitely hope to have more meetups in the future.
It is 10am and Ms Nadia Albahar turns up for work at a shophouse in Joo Chiat. She says hello to Mr Francis Teo – seated at another desk – but they do not work for the same company. Mr Teo is the director of Bluelambda, a boutique online marketing firm, while she is in business development with Activistar, an online store that aims to work directly with manufacturers to bring their products to the market.
Welcome to the world of co-working, a new buzzword in Singapore where folk from across industries share space and amenities.
In the past two years, about 10 co-work spaces have opened here. The set-up could be housed in a factory, a loft or, in the case of Cowork@SG, a two- storey shophouse in Joo Chiat.
Cowork@SG, for example, offers 20 desk spaces, a long meeting table, a pantry, free Wi-Fi and, if you are hungry, a putu piring (steamed rice cake with a centre of melted palm sugar) stall around the corner.
“You can call co-work spaces the halfway house between office and Starbucks, or home and Starbucks,” said Mr Daniel Tay, 38, co-founder of Cowork@SG.
A co-work space is an escape from compliance with work norms in a corporate office, the isolation of plugging away at home alone or the din in a coffee joint which may not be conducive to meeting clients, said tenants.
As Ms Mary Wong, 26, a freelance fashion designer who is looking for a co-work desk in town, said: “The coffee joint is too loud. My house? It’s too isolated.”
Rates can start from about $25 a day to between $150 and $2,200 a month. Another option is membership or residency contracts at an affordable rate for long-term users.
According to operators, such facilities are growing in popularity among the start-up community, especially among the twenty- and thirty-somethings aiming for a work-life balance.
Sociologist Paulin Straughan said while savings on operational overheads are a big carrot, another draw is the opportunity for networking among like-minded users.
At co-work spaces, individuals are known to share information, exchange ideas and help each other out, even if they are in the same industry.
Mr Jeffrey Paine, 36, a co-director of co-work space provider FoundersHQ in Ayer Rajah, said: “You see collaborations form before your eyes. Sometimes, there are even mini takeovers.”
Operators of such spaces said they are not in the game essentially for profit, but also see it as their mission to help the fledgling start-up community here take flight.
Associate Professor Straughan’s take on the growing take-up rate of such spaces is that “we may be witnessing the rise in creative entrepreneurship among younger Singaporeans”.
These folk, she noted, do not see climbing the corporate ladder as the only or ideal way to further their aspirations.
She added that the attraction of pursuing their own interests without formal organisational constraints outweighs the uncertainties of running an independent business.
“I think the additional benefits of perceived control over their work-life balance are also a key attraction. As their own boss, they can work when they want and however long they want,” she said.
In anticipation of growing demand, operators – some of which are global names – will be opening more co-work spaces at the start of next year.
One of these is The Hub, a global social enterprise providing co-work spaces for people who want to tackle the world’s pressing social, cultural and environmental challenges.
It is headquartered in Austria and 26 Hubs have been opened to date in cities like Melbourne in Australia, Johannesburg in South Africa and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Ms Bernie Chew and Mr Daniel Tay’s Cowork@SG is an office set-up with 20 desk spaces for rent.
It goes beyond physical space
It is not your typical corporate office but Cowork@SG has retained two of its familiar elements – a gossip corner, where the water-cooler stands, and a pantry.
Cowork@SG, which opened on Oct 27, occupies a Joo Chiat Terrace shophouse – once home to a bridal shop – which was refurbished at a cost of about $100,000.
“We were priced out of Chinatown and, being Peranakans, Joo Chiat seemed the natural choice,” said its community manager Bernie Chew, 36
Having spent 10 years in Silicon Valley building and managing websites and online communities, she did not want a 9 to 5 routine when she came back.
“I wanted to work on my own time and at my own pace. I also needed a space that could accommodate my flexible hours,” she said.
She started out from home, launching her social media marketing and creative agency work, but soon got lonely and felt isolated. She then decided to get together with her friend, urban planner Daniel Tay, 38, to start Cowork@SG.
Said Mr Tay: “Co-work is beyond just the physical space. It’s about filling up the hardware with the software – the socialising, the collaborations, the sharing.”
After an extremely busy past few weeks with renovations, furniture buying, moving, and cleaning, we have opened our doors to our brand spanking new coworking space at 8 Joo Chiat Terrace, which we affectionately call it Space at 8.
I’d love to share with you our plans for this space. It is a nice cosy shophouse located just off Joo Chiat Rd, a street that is never short of people, and great food. Our space is open to 20 memberships where our residents will enjoy 24/7 access to our space, never worry about shortage of electrical outlets, wifi connectivity, and great company. There are also meeting areas, an indoor event space, and a courtyard that can be a cool event space as well.
We are also open for day visitors where you can enjoy all our space has to offer during our office hours of 9am to 6pm for $25/day.
The idea of an office space is evolving. With increased mobility through laptops and smartphones, people find themselves being able to work from anywhere. As entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startups, having this mobility is great. That means you can have a morning conference call from your home, have breakfast at your local coffeeshop, commute to a cafe to meet your client for lunch, and check your email on the go.
So what’s missing in this fine and dandy picture? Well, you may be the lucky few who have friends whom you can meet during a work week, but for the rest of us, most of our friends are 9 to 5 workers, and chances are you are left all alone during office hours. In some way, getting out of the workforce and running your own business or startup can get pretty lonely.
So, enter coworking. It is an open concept shared office space that has everything you need in a real office, without the boss. Space creators like Cowork@SG (Us!) make it our top priority to create a conducive work environment for you, so that as “office nomads” you don’t have to go through it by yourself – you will be in the company of fellow residents who are also working independently, being entrepreneurs, working on projects, stuff like that.
What separates coworking from other types of shared office spaces is the community. Every Cowork@SG space will come with a Community Manager, who will be the go-to person for any of your concerns or needs. As a resident you are responsible for your own behavior within our space, and we request that you respect your fellow residents. We will organize events and meetups that are beneficial to our residents, and always find ways to help our residents market their products or services.
At the end of the day, we will give ourselves a pat on the back if we have made you more productive, played a part in helping you grow your business, eased your loneliness, and made your work day just a little more fun. That will be our utmost satisfaction.
Give coworking a try. Drop in to find out more. Here’s our address – 8 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singpore 427181. We are open Mondays to Fridays 9am to 6pm.
The walls have been painted and the floors cleaned. Now we are ready for furniture!
In 2010 I quit my job and started my own digital agency, with the hopes of fame and fortune. Boy was I in for hell of a ride. When you are in the corporate world you hide behind the shell of a big company, whatever you do is just trying to get through the day, and it doesn’t matter if things don’t work out, nobody (well at least minimal) gets hurt, the company still survives. When you come out of that shell, you just feel like Superman and kyptonite, you suddenly lost all your super powers and become … powerless. You have to learn everything and anything and you have learn it FAST. You become an “outcast” among you friends and family members who work their 9 to 5 jobs, and wondering why are you always so busy and not earning money. It doesn’t work that way. An hour spent does not mean an hour’s pay in the world of entrepreneurship. And then you start to wonder if there are people out there like you.
So we seek each other out. My Uni-mate and now partner was just starting his own company as well, and we clicked. We have goals for ourselves, and a vision of our company’s growth, and we shared, we discussed and we collaborated. He referred me to an accountant he had and I referred him a print shop that did my business cards. Together, we became more efficient and productive in our own roles. There is indeed something to be said for having like-minded individuals coming together. When we left our fellow coworkers from our big offices, we left a big part of social life that we do not have the luxury of having – the lunch kakis, the talking about personal issues, about what you did last weekend, all these are gone.
Working independently does not mean working alone. We need that support system in our newly found flexible schedule to keep us from going crazy.
That is the number 1 reason why Daniel and I started Cowork@SG. We wanted to bring back that social setting, that office environment to independent workers who either work alone or are part of teams less than 5. We want to make our spaces function like a real office, but without the boss. You can come and go anytime, when inspiration hits you, or when you just need to rant about that unreasonable client of yours. We bring you the social, and you just take care of your business.
Come try this experience for yourself. Get out of your house, get out of that cafe, come have coffee (or tea or milo) with us.