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Flexible office spaces seen to continue growing

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Regus office & work space
Demand for co-working spaces, such those offered by Regus Philippines, is rising in Southeast Asia. -- REGUS PHILIPPINES

THE growth of flexible office spaces in Southeast Asia shows no signs of slowing down, with JLL expecting this property segment to account for as much as 30% of corporate portfolios by 2030.

The report “Technology firms transforming the office landscape in Southeast Asia” noted flexible work spaces have seen a 40% compounded annual growth rate in the last three years. Now, it takes up 2% of office stock in the Southeast Asian region, compared to 0.5-1% in 2015.

“(As) much as 30% of corporate portfolios could be flexible space by 2030. What initially began as a platform for freelancers and startups, flexible space providers are now tailoring their offering to accommodate corporate users. These corporate users are experimenting with co-working via pilot schemes,” JLL said.

JLL identified several factors driving the corporate demand for flexible spaces: flexibility to accommodate headcount changes; convenience with plug-and-play one-stop service; fostering collaboration and innovation; sense of community; and cost-effectiveness.

Singapore currently has the largest stock of flexible work space, followed by Manila and Jakarta.

JLL estimates flexible work space penetration rate in Singapore at 4.2%, while Manila has around 3%.

In Singapore, JLL noted flexible space appears to be more cost-effective than traditional office space. It estimated a workstation in a flexible space could be up to 50% cheaper than a workstation in a traditionally leased office.

“But coworking space is often much denser than traditional office space. When adjusted for density and like-for-like costs, the cost differentials decrease substantially, or disappear altogether. In Singapore, when density is taken into account, traditional leases cost only about 5% more than flexible space leases,” the report stated.

In the Philippines, co-working spaces have gained ground in recent years, as a growing number of Filipinos prefer flexible work arrangements.

Regus Philippines is a major player in the sector, having launched its 25th business center at the 41st floor of GT International Tower in Makati City last July.

Ayala Land, Inc. last year entered the flexible working space segment with its own brand called Clock In.

ASPACE is another homegrown co-working brand that runs collaborative workspaces in Makati, Bonifacio Global City, and Cebu. — Cathy Rose A. Garcia