The Next Big Thing About Remote Working
The pandemic has prompted many businesses to move away from traditional offices and shift to coworking spaces as an alternative. Big companies have started to include flexible space solutions in their real estate strategy to keep costs flexible or are looking for small satellite offices with the minimum capital investment to keep total overhead under control. Likewise, small businesses and startups wish not to commit to long-term leases, especially during the economic downturn, to maintain a healthy cash ratio.
The meaning of “office” redefines itself in this unprecedented social experiment. Taken for granted that an office is a place we all come to work, and home is where to go after work. With coworking space a home only for freelancers and startup founders, we now see MNC in coworking space for regular meetings. Private offices for squad use to keep staff happy and operation agile.
Additionally, productivity is not compromised with the employees working remotely. Out of the 44% of Hong Kong respondents who worked remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, 40% said they were more productive at work. This is the highest percentage in the area, with China, Malaysia, and Singapore lagging behind with 34%, 31%, and 34%, respectively, according to randstad.
Small owners leverage new market solutions by checking into different spaces, the one most convenient to the client in a pay-as-you-go manner, to keep the cost down and the user happy.
This has meant that businesses of all shapes and sizes have begun to realize the benefits of flexible workspaces after nearly two years of trial and learning, so what more should we expect in 2022?
Flex is king
The past two years of an abrupt change from offline work shows that working from home is not the panacea, as company culture, productivity for some, and morale, especially of the new hires, are somewhat compromised. In 2021, the market came up with more options to accommodate the wishlists demanded by employers. This solution could answer the remote work wishes of some, the human-touch needs of many, and the preservation of company culture; all included in a flexible cost structure.
While occupancy rates in grade A offices recede, we see coworking spaces that carry flex leasing terms gain popularity. With HK witnessing 7% year on year growth in 2021. This is a win-win situation that allows companies to react swiftly to changing markets by expanding, downsizing, or relocating their workforce when needed. With many businesses prioritizing remote working as a key selling point in recruitment and retaining staff who are unwilling to go back to a 9 to 6 workday, the shift to coworking space is a sensible move.
However, looking for a coworking space is a worry every remote and hybrid employee faces. This has been what Deskimo is built – a bridge to fill the gap in a hybrid and remote work model to remain productive, cost-effective without sacrificing the essence of career growth, team collaboration, and even company culture.
Based on a ValuePenguin report, an average of $2,700 per month can be saved from using coworking space. Additionally, coworking can be 60–70% more cost-effective than the traditional office model for businesses with up to 30 employees.
Another good thing about the wonder of remote and hybrid work models is having access to a large pool of talent. More than just work, it’s a collaboration of a diverse background, knowledge, and expertise, aiming at one goal within the company’s values.
In addition, tons of management and productivity tools are being developed just recently specifically designed for the future of work, bridging the gap, and overcoming the thing of the past. Deskimo is one of them, saving many freelancers, remote employees, even MNCs the time to look around for a place perfect to work.
Spoke office gains popularity in Asia
While hybrid work and work-any-where are highly adopted in the West, expansion in spoke or satellite offices is deemed a more receptive option in Asia. Mainly due to the requirement of intense personal social interaction for social well-being and business development. Even context-rich direct communication on both work and non-work topics. This is evident by a research by property firm JLL, which shows a 150% growth in the number of coworking spaces in the Asia-Pacific area between 2014 and 2017.
Companies like Nestle and Salesforce have also followed suit with this Hub and spoke operation. In the UK and Ireland, 37% of the business leaders are considering downsizing their primary office space to smaller satellites closer to where employees live.
In this model, headquarter buildings fulfill core functions, such as stakeholder engagement and branding, which are coupled with spoke offices and are more dispersedly built across the city. Generally speaking, spoke offices allow employees to work closer to home with the benefit of reduced commuting and provide support to each other during daily work. Its popularity is evident by the flourishing coworking spaces built in East Kowloon and West Hong Kong dedicated to the ‘Private Offices/Dedicated Desks’ solution.
We also find companies have outsourced ‘meeting rooms’ instead of having them on their premises. This way, companies could achieve operational resilience by being multi-locational and also make required savings on real estate costs.
The upcoming trend of space personalisation
Space personalisation will also be essential as companies are seriously planning beyond COVID, as shared in a survey conducted by Knight Frank. Moreover, there are also recent inquiries about installing in-office kitchens, meeting rooms, or showers during space visits. Businesses seek to create private and facilitating space for their teams, easily fitting into companies’ work styles and business needs. Ultimately, flexible and working budget solutions, such as day offices and coworking desks for the day, will be increasingly sought after by companies looking to stay connected by meeting a couple of times a month and maximizing their time together. With that, we expect the hunt for a bespoke remote working solution will continue in 2022.
The year 2020 is the awakening year for us to rethink “office,” on how we can maximize its value and make the best use of it with the balance of cost-saving and staff well-being. The centuries-old leasing industry is leaning to include more flexibility in its definition and more possibilities that allow the spaces for problem-solving collaborative group work, as opposed to partitioned cubicles for concentrated tasks we had used to.
COVID-19 will bring further evolution to the way we work and accelerate many of the trends that Deskimo was established to address. 2022 will determine the future landscape of office leasing and corporate real estate strategy – so stay tuned.
The next big thing about remote working is pointing to the direction where it should be, innovation and the future where employees are heard. Contrary to many beliefs, remote working and hybridization have been happening even before COVID, with it only accelerating the statistics of those reported. The digitization and the future of work go hand in hand, and Asia is leading the way.
Deskimo.com provides on-demand access to 100+ professional workspaces in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Jakarta. Deskimo is at the core of the flexible work revolution, empowering companies to move to a hybrid or remote-first strategy. Designed to be seamless and fuss-free, professionals can freely access any workspace listed on the app, stay for as long as they like, and pay by the minute.
Companies can move to an asset-light office setup, reduce fixed office leases, and free-up resources. Employees gain more flexibility, and Deskimo helps them reduce unnecessary commuting hours to spend more time on what really matters to them.
Marketing and Partnership Manager
Phone: +852 9329 3393