The emergence of the ‘new normal’ in the workplace across Metro Manila (and even in key cities nationwide) is logically to be expected as soon as the enhanced community quarantine is lifted. Businesses, whether small or big, may likely consider minimizing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their operations.
That is why coworking can be a more popular workplace trend to provide an alternative work environment that is still very conducive for work—sans the rigidity of a traditional office and considering the strategy to spread the workforce in multiple locations, particularly in sites closest to each individual staff.
Long before the lockdown in March, the country’s real estate industry has already been attributing its rapid growth rate to the rise of coworking spaces. This is why numerous local and even international flexible space operators along with property developers have been aggressively developing coworking spaces, of various types and concepts, across the metro.
According to Lobien Realty Group (LRG), Makati City and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig City are the preferred locations for coworking sites in the country to date. The combined volume of coworking spaces in the two business districts is the biggest in the country logically due to the heavy concentration of businesses in the areas.
LRG operates coworking spaces in BGC, including the popular Work Studios at the Infinity Tower. The real estate service provider operates 172 seats, 122 private studios, three meeting rooms, 31 dedicated desks, 19 hot desks, 18 breakout areas, and 27 lounges. That is still a small fraction compared to about 33,000 in combined seats that are presently being managed by the top five biggest coworking firms in Metro Manila.
The company predicts more coworking spaces to emerge in other property markets in the metro—in Quezon City, Ortigas, and Alabang—in the coming months or years.
An analysis by LRG hints that demand for coworking spaces in Metro Manila is expected to further increase as more freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, small corporations, BPOs, IT firms, and other multinational companies opt for such workplace setups. The company cites the following three major factors for the continuous popularity of coworking in this bustling side of the country:
1. Lower costs
The first and most common reason why businesses opt for coworking spaces is the reasonability in terms of costs. Companies that aim to save money recognize the fact that coworking spaces don’t require long-term lease contracts and are already equipped with the basic office amenities, furniture, and equipment. They can also save on other operational expenses like maintenance and security manpower.
2. Higher productivity
Needless to say, coworking spaces are strategically designed to realize the advantage of collaboration, cooperation, innovation, creativity, and a spirit of community. Such workplace setups obviously expose individuals to new business concepts and free-flow of ideas.
Multinational companies usually need temporary or swing office spaces especially when they are just entering the market. Coworking spaces are advantageous for such setups as those can facilitate easier moving in and out even at short notice. They are also spared from the commonly complicated contract negotiations (with hefty downpayments and safety deposits), fit-out work, and tedious dealings with property landlords, brokers, or managers.