Co-working space to expand on rising demand

Demand for co-working space is not only seen in the CBDs, but also in the fringes of KL and other smaller cities in the country


THE co-working space industry is expected to see exponential growth in the coming years as more Malaysians are shifting towards the new-world concept of working in flexible areas.

IWG plc Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia country head Vijayakumar Tangarasan said the demand for co-working space is not only seen in the central business districts (CBDs), but also in the fringes of Kuala Lumpur (KL) and other smaller cities in the country.

“We see larger growth opportunities for the shared space industry in Malaysia, with more competitors coming into the market.

“In Malaysia, our growth year-on-year (YoY) stands at 50%, and among the Asian countries, we are leading from this perspective.

“So, this flexible space industry will continue to grow. The traditional office will not go away totally, but it is going to be minimised,” he said after a panel discussion organised by co-working space provider, Spaces, in KL yesterday.

He added that the globalisation process, as well as digital growth, has driven more Malaysians, especially the millennials demanding flexible working culture.

“People are embracing the flexible working culture because they are trying to be in a community-based place. They also want to work closer to home,” he said.

Vijayakumar also said in foreign countries like the Netherlands, flexible working is ingrained in their culture that it has become a part of their legislation.

According to JLL Asia-Pacific Research, flexible workspace supply grew by 36%, making KL the fastest-growing key city in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, Spaces hosted a panel discussion with several industry leaders to share their insights on the benefits and effects of flexible working.

JLL Malaysia office and retail leasing team leader James Short said businesses are adapting to flexible working models to stay relevant and meet the needs of a new generation of workers.

“It is essential for flexible workspace providers to be able to cater to companies who look to provide their employees with a good working environment which fosters creativity and a sense of community,” he said during the panel discussion.

The discussion also highlighted that businesses are compelled to adopt flexible working models to avoid facing the risk of lagging behind in an ever-changing working world.

It was also noted that utilising remote work and flexible schedules help engage and retain talents, while improving employee productivity and ultimately can lead to business growth.

IWG, which owns the operating brands of Spaces and Regus, is expected to establish more working spaces in the country this year.

The company said it is looking into areas like Cyberjaya and Penang for its expansion plans, as there are a lot of enquiries from the small and medium enterprises, as well as start-ups.

Currently, in Malaysia, IWG has 32 branches of co-working space under Regus and four branches of co-working space under Spaces.

It recently launched its newest branch, Spaces Menara Prestige, located near the KL City Centre.

The centre boasts an office space that spans three floors across 4,989 sq m and furnished with meeting rooms and business lounges, as well as an on-site café.