What to Look for When Choosing a Co-working Space in Southeast Asia
If you’re looking for an alternative to renting office space, co-working spaces in Southeast Asia are the way to go, plus they usually have some sweet perks.
According to a report by JLL in July 2018, co-working spaces in the Asia-Pacific region, in general, have grown by 35.7% from just 2014 to 2017. This means that the region is outgrowing the rest of the world in developing flexible workspaces.
With so many options to choose from, what do you need to look for? Yes, you should choose a location that’s probably closer to your home, public transportation, or whatever else you value. And yes, there’s also that discussion about choosing a “hot desk” vs fixed desk vs private office, etc. But what are the special characteristics of co-working spaces in Southeast Asia that you should look at though?
If you keep in mind the features below when looking at co-working spaces for your team, you’ll be the most considerate and awesome boss ever. (Probably.)
Cost Effective Co-Working
When you’re looking for a co-working space in Southeast Asia, in most cases, the prices for membership will already be cheaper than their counterparts in other parts of the world. Why not try to go even further?
If you and your team like to bounce around the region a few months at a time, look for co-working spaces that offer packages that include necessities like accommodation or meals with their membership. In places like Hub53 in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Start Coworking Space in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, they take care of almost everything your team would need on a daily basis, the price including membership to the co-working space. Hubba’s membership to any of their four locations around Bangkok, Thailand also include free lunch and a Friday happy hour with free drinks so you’ll have no excuse to get to know your fellow co-workers.
And if the co-working space should ever feel crowded or your team just needs change environments for the day, in spaces like AngkorHub in Siem Reap, Cambodia or Hub Hoi An in Hoi An, Vietnam, ancient temples or the beach are right outside for a quick adventure to get the adrenaline flowing and creativity back in alignment.
Don’t think that cities like Singapore and Hong Kong are too expensive for such co-working spaces either! In Singapore, Hmlet has branches in five areas throughout the city and the cost of living and working there can be 500 SGD cheaper than the standard monthly rental. Hong Kong has Mojo Nomad, a stylish co-living and co-working space with two branches in the city. The cost of a month there can be five times less than the standard monthly rent! (Granted, you’ll need to sleep in a dorm, but co-working is about meeting people anyway, right?)
Take Advantage of the Talent Pool
Southeast Asia is a big hub for startups, programmers, SME owners, designers, and the like. Use that giant talent pool to your advantage! That impressive group of people will be filling the other seats in the co-working space, becoming your friends and possibly, future collaborators. Who else works there that could possibly help your team now or in the future? It’s up to you to ask the right questions and feel out the social and professional potential of the space that’s right for your team.
Your co-working space can also be more than just where you work; it can help you grow. With the ever developing density of talent, co-working spaces in the region are prime areas for experts to connect, discover, and advise budding entrepreneurs in their respective fields. When co-working spaces take advantage of this, by inviting these experts to give talks, critiques, or join in discussions, the entire community can grow together. For instance, WeWork in Singapore earlier this year hosted an entrepreneur event lead by INSEAD, one of the leading graduate business schools in the world.
Governmental Projects for Co-working Spaces
This point might be good for those start-ups that haven’t gotten to the seed funding stage yet or are still generally being built on the generosity of parents and/or friends. To further encourage business developments, many governments around Southeast Asia are supporting subsidized areas where teams can get their own spaces at a much lower cost.
For instance, in Hong Kong last year, the government unveiled a program where about 90,000 sq ft of space will be rented out to 1,000 entrepreneurs at half the market rate. While in Jakarta, the city government launched the Jakarta Creative Hub, a 1,5000 sqm subsidized co-working space. However, it’s not first to come, first served for either of these spaces. Those interested must go through an application process.
And just last year, Singapore’s International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) and Vietnam’s co-working developer Toong create a partnership to ease market entry for Singaporean entrepreneurs. The partnership will allow select Singaporean companies to work at Toong locations and receive support and resources from its network.
That wasn’t too much, right? Just combine the above factors with your needs for location and membership style and you’re sure to find that perfect spot for your team, on the way to changing the world with your ideas. Good luck!
A little reminder for the startup founders out there, it could be hard but don’t let anything stop you from making a small step forward. As Aim Charoenphan, the founder of Hubba, the first co-working space in Thailand, said in our Humans of Tech video here:
“It doesn’t matter where you from or how much money your family has; we are now in the age where great ideas can win”