Co-working is not a new concept. The term was coined by Brad Neuberg way back in 2005 when he wanted to create a space for a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. More than a decade later, co-working spaces are dominating the workforce. They are changing how businesses and executives conduct their daily 9-to-5 for the better, one lease at a time.
The team here at Lifestyle Asia has also had a taste of the co-working experience. We’ve been stationed at The Great Room for the past few months, and team spirit is at an all-time high. Coffee runs in the morning now turn into networking opportunities, and every day is a chance to learn something new from a neighbour.
Recently, we sat down with four members from The Great Room and had a chat on how co-working has improved their productivity, amongst other things. Most of them were new to the co-working concept, and some were even a little hesitant to board the ship at first.
“What really convinced me was the Great Room team asking me to come down and take a look at the space,” said Kasia Suzor, partner and CCO of Aquifer Institute. After stepping into the beautifully-designed lobby of the Centennial Tower outpost, Suzor’s concerns were immediately dispelled. What attracted her was the all-in-one package, which caters especially well to smaller teams. “It’s like having a hospitality team working for you 24/7. I never have to worry about my team, or my guests not being taken care of,” Suzor added.
Since their move, the teams of these four members have also seen a spike in morale and efficiency. “Now, you’re able to have these private moments where you take your laptop and go somewhere to hot desk for a couple of hours,” said Phuong Trinh, Vice President of Legal & Policy (APAC) at FIA.
The weekly events organised by The Great Room (a series of which is cheekily titled ‘The Great Thirstday’) are also the perfect excuse to rub shoulders with others from different industries. “They put a lot of thought into the events, curating speakers, and trying to actively promote interaction between the tenants and members,” said Clifford Chow, Head of Business Development (SEA) at Prenetics. “Through a few events, we’ve already met very interesting people who are more applicable to our stage of growth.”
One unexpected benefit of co-working spaces? Having a stylish venue for discussions with clients. Meetings of yesterday used to take place at any nondescript coffee shop nearby. Today, they can be held at The Great Room, thanks to the comfortable lounges and booths available. “Sometimes we have a meeting, and then I tell them to just stay for the rest of the afternoon,” said Vincent Casanova, Head of Asia for A-connect.
During our chat with the members, we also discovered that they have a bevy of interests that range from running ultra-marathons to waking up at 5am in a bid to start the day right. Click through the gallery for more.
(Photography and art direction: Wong Wei Liang
Illustrations: Nadine Christmas)