by ASILA JALIL / pic credit: worq.space
THE pandemic has shifted the way companies operate where more firms opting to scale down their office spaces following safety measures that only allow for a limited number of individuals in an enclosed space.
Following this trend, coworking space company WORQ, says it plans to add another 100,000 sq ft to reach 200,000 sq ft as demands for coworking space is starting to pick up steam in the market.
CEO and co-founder of WORQ Stephanie Ping said during the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the team realised that there is a need for spaces in a working environment because of social distancing measures.
“They want to be spread out because they do not want concentration risks. At the same time they do not want to get offices anymore because it is much easier to have flexibility in terms of time when they have to commit to a lease.
“It makes more sense to come to a coworking space mainly because there are lingering uncertainties if we will go into lockdown again,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview recently.
The pandemic has made the team more cautious in planning and finding the right time to execute their plans.
“We now see a lot of demand. We will resume these plans and at the same time always make sure things are okay because Covid is fluid,” said Ping.
WORQ currently has a diverse industry mix as its clients. Ping said almost 60% of them are made up of multinational corporations. Some corporations are utilising its coworking space as satellites while some use smaller spaces for certain divisions in their companies.
WORQ come out strong during the pandemic
Ping said the company was able to raise funds amid the pandemic, in addition to the change in government in 2020.
WORQ had seven follow up investors which signaled the trust they have for the product as well as the future industry, she said.
“We also got six banks that offered us loans and that signifies they like our financial position. It is a signal or proof that we are doing well.
“What happened during the height of the coworking boom was that a lot of people entered the market haphazardly or they did not understand the market in terms of what is needed. That has led to the closure of some of the players because they faced difficulties with landlords or they have leases that they could not fulfill.
“We have managed to maintain our square footage and market size so we are financially sound despite the pandemic,” she added.
Among the factors that intrigue companies to move towards coworking spaces include their reluctance to put themselves in a long term tenancy.
“That talks indirectly about financials because if you lock yourself into long term tenancy, you have landlords and you would have to spend money on renovation. A lot of money is being spent on the get-go,” she said.
Other contributing factors are inability to entirely work from home and the need for physical office spaces for team building and meetings.
WORQ is equipped with facilities to help corporations navigate their operating style such as meeting rooms, broadcast rooms, event spaces as well as pantries.
WORQ also offers bespoke solutions for companies that want to build their own spaces.
“Companies can also come to us and request for spaces that are purpose built. We still provide them with the flexibility either in the location of their chose or to have their own dedicated space within our coworking space and the lease is still flexible.
“Even for bigger companies that want to scale down their headquarters, we can have a few bigger companies to be next to each other within the same space. We can finance that kind of project.
“Instead of paying for their renovation, they pay us the operating expenditure. They can still have a component near them if they want to expand,” she explained.
She further said that the flexible working style is extremely powerful but companies need to embrace or risk being left behind.
“They need to figure out how to incorporate a more agile working style and give the best work style to their team,” she added.