Joining a co-working space has become an attractive and viable alternative to renting an office in many urban centres such as Singapore. These shared working environments typically attract freelancers, independent contractors, work-at-home professionals, frequent business travellers, startup companies and small businesses.

When deciding on joining a co-working space, weigh the advantages and disadvantages that the working environment may present first. Most co-working spaces in Singapore require membership but still try to inquire whether you can drop in for a short visit to see the facilities firsthand.

Co-working Space Analysis

Pro: The collaborative environment provides opportunities for networking.

A co-working space gives you access to a vibrant community. Compared to a home office or a private office, a shared environment presents more opportunities to meet people from different fields. From this pool of interesting people, you can easily find potential business partners or sources of referrals. Aside from having a great network of professionals, a co-working space typically has a collaborative, rather than a competitive, atmosphere wherein each person works within his field of expertise.

Con: The lack of privacy can be a serious issue.

Many co-working spaces feature rooms dedicated for business meetings, conferences and even phone calls. However, they may be limited or may cost you a few extra dollars. If you need to make a lot of private phone calls or video calls, then a co-working space may not be appropriate for your business.

Pro: Most co-working spaces are located at a strategic spot in the city.

Most co-working spaces are conveniently located within the central business district. From these spaces, you can have easy access to dining establishments, shopping centres and public transportation. For example, HiredTurf is only one minute away from the Lavender MRT, and The Co is five minutes away from the City Hall and the Clarke Quay MRT.

Con: The facilities may not meet all of your work requirements.

Think about how you work best before choosing your work environment. A co-working space with an open plan may not be suitable for workers who are most productive in quiet pockets of areas. It may not also be appropriate for people who are easily distracted by conversation or random chatter.

Pro: Shared spaces are affordable.

One of the most obvious perks of joining a co-working space is its affordability. The rate for membership in a co-working space is often more affordable than the rate for an office lease within the same vicinity. Moreover, many co-working spaces already provide access to common office equipment such as a scanner and a photocopying machine.

Con: The space is not your own.

One of the most gratifying parts of establishing a business is building an office culture that you enjoy being part of. Since many different businesses share the same area in a co-working space, you will not be able to control the office culture in it. This can be disappointing for some entrepreneurs and employees who are looking forward to building a culture appropriate for their business.

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).