Co-working spaces to alleviate burden of local businesses

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic by BLOOMBERG

The ever-changing socio-political environment has ripple effects on businesses around the world, including the local front, where low wages and unemployment remain among the nation’s most common economic challenges.

The emergence of flexible co-workspaces nowadays are viewed as “the saving grace” for businesses struggling to navigate through such times of uncertainty while helping them to reduce operational cost as well.

According to research from global flexible workspace provider International Workplace Group plc (IWG), flexible co-working spaces help businesses reduce capital expenditure and operating expenses associated with a fixed office space, but also play a part in talent acquisition and job satisfaction.

IWG Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia country head Vijayakumar Tangarasan said co-working spaces can also increase the speed to market and help businesses consolidate portfolios, subsequently causing a ripple effect across the economy from core businesses, to supply chains.

“Like many things in the world today, the way we work is changing. Companies, businesses and digital nomads alike are opting to work in a flexible working environment, one that does not require large amounts of commitment.

“Co-working spaces are great options because they offer an opportunity to work around the world without having the need for offices at these locations; and, at the same time, open up an unprecedented amount of networking opportunities,” he said in a statement recently.

Similarly, flexible working also attracts and retains talent, which according to multinational professional services network Deloitte, can cost businesses from tens of thousands of dollars to 1½ times to two times the employee’s annual salary.

According to the latest Global Workspace Survey from IWG, which gathered the opinions of more than 15,000 business leaders across 80 countries, flexible working is not just considered a perk for the perfect role, but a must-have when it comes to taking a new job offer.

When employees were asked to prioritise their preferences regarding workplace perks, 80% said that when faced with two similar employment offers, they would turn down the one that did not offer flexible working.

In addition, 54% said having a choice of work location is more important than that of an increased holiday allowance, suggesting that many are willing to endure the daily grind to be able to enjoy flexibility on how and where they can tackle their to-do list.

IWG noted that many companies have been quick to realise the benefits of flexible working as it allows employees to work in huge numbers of locations around the world and improves productivity, job satisfaction, talent retention and business performance.

IWG said many employees now consider it to be the “new normal” when looking for the next step in their careers — the demand for flexible working is increasing year by year and is showing no signs of slowing.

“Furthermore, the importance of being able to choose your work location was cited in the study as one of the most important things that prospective employees now look for in identifying a new role.

“It found that 70% felt having a choice of work environment is a key factor when evaluating new career opportunities.

“Where change is slow and global markets unpredictable, businesses’ capacity to give employees a choice on how and where they work can reduce operating costs, boost productivity, and save hundreds of hours in commuting,” IWG added.