The expectations of tenants is that a coworking space be a place where they can work, and that there is a strong community.
Some 40 tenant companies now are in the Singaporean co-working space The Co. The majority of them are digital start-ups in mobile, big data, social media and other fields. About 20 percent of them are local firms; 80 percent are overseas companies, reflecting the international nature of Singapore.
One company is even at the level of employing 1,000 people in the US. Their intentions are to send a few staff to create an Asian hub, and while they don’t mind a very small office, they also don’t want a drop in the quality of infrastructure. That is where they discover The Co.
The member companies want a concierge service that can take care of things such as interacting with visiting clients or handling postal services, as well as secretarial services, copying, delivery services, etc. But what really differentiates The Co from other co-working services is in other areas.
“Where our company adds value to those hard services is in the soft services we provide,” says General Manager Michelle Woo. That is, they introduce the factor of a powerful community, the same as that found in the functions of a major company’s office.
Building exterior. Companies with one to 20 employees can be residents, with 40 companies currently residents here. Twenty percent of them are local companies, 80 percent international.
Capacity: Approx. 250 people
Tenant companies: Approx. 40
The spiral staircase creates a dramatic impact. By sharing experiences, the residents also boost their feeling of identification with the community.
“The company name comes from Cowork, Collaboration, Community and Connect,” Ms. Woo says. “The members all belong to one community, where there is collaborative energy, where we have created a space that can support startups.”
There are many details within The Co intended to nurture and expand the community. Each member on the fourth to seventh floor has their own exclusive space, while on any floor there is a familiar feeling in the presence of other residents. On the third-floor co-working space are individual booths, desks that can freely be used by all members, meeting rooms and other spaces. In the B1 floor is an open lounge called The Cove.
“When new projects require new human resources, we often see that by using the public spaces such as The Cove chances emerge just as someone talks to the person next to them,” Ms. Woo says. “Professionals interact with each other in the open space and search for people with complimentary abilities.”
The presence of Community Manager Ray Er has also helped the growth of the community. He frequently reviews what kinds of people, and what companies, are members. He also tries to absorb what news the members have. If a request is made, he can also speak directly with members to try and make a match. Mr. Er is an expert in building communities, working to build an environment where mutual collaboration between members can happen.
“The biggest difference between us and other co-working spaces is the people,” Ms. Woo says. “Even when people leave as members, they still continue with the networks, and it’s often the case that they do come back to us. I think it’s because there is a strong community here, one that people feel a sense of identity with.”
Consultancy for Work Style：in-house
Interior Design：Ministry of Design, M Moser
Architect：ipi7Workshop in conjunction with Ministry of Design
From WORKSIGHT 06（2014.10）
Individual booths within the co-working space.
Each of the resident floors are given a special color. In the photo is the Purple floor. The rooms on the floor are named for the word “purple” in different languages.