Is the pandemic making it difficult to focus while working from home?
Avoid naggy parents, cramped spaces, or demanding children by heading down to coworking spaces with relaxing vibes.
You can escape to a commitment-free coworking space that is tranquil, clean, peaceful and offers even unlimited complimentary coffee and tea. The catch? It costs a small fee to enjoy these benefits.
Recognising the shifting habits of users, WeWork last month released its On Demand service for coworking spaces in Singapore, as part of its international launch.
The service does not tie users to fixed plans, and users can book by the hour.
This, as WeWork recognised that the work landscape is changing rapidly as remote work becomes a norm.
“The work landscape is changing and flexibility is of utmost importance to both businesses and individuals as they navigate a new world of work. WeWork On Demand is part of our efforts to digitalise our real estate portfolio and as a pay-as-you-go offering,” said a WeWork spokesperson in response to queries from Vulcan Post.
With this new offering, the firm said it wants to expand its suite of services to more workers by “providing more options and tools to decide how, where, and when they want to work, right from their smartphones”.
The service also caters to businesses that require meeting rooms for teamwork when larger groups are allowed according to government regulations. The flexible, short-term services aim to help companies navigate an uncertain business landscape and avoid the trouble of being tied down to traditional leases.
But of course, keeping in mind the latest heightened alert and the advisory for most to work from home for now, individuals will have to practise good personal hygiene in these spaces. To put concerned customers at ease, WeWork said its coworking spaces provide frequent cleaning schedules, safe distancing measures, and enhanced air quality.
The ‘new normal’ way of work
The way we work has been disrupted, but the writing was already on the wall since years ago. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, employees were already less tethered to the traditional office space.
The pandemic had in fact exacerbated things by forcing most people to work from home to prevent community spread. This gave business owners a reason to look for alternative options to house their workers since the offices will be partially filled at most anyway, as companies adhere to safe distancing measures.
WeWork said it noticed the disruption and decided to step up its provisions with its new On Demand service.
The decision to expand internationally follows strong growth and positive user feedback after its pilot in North America, where monthly On Demand bookings for a workspace has quadrupled and room bookings more-than-doubled since March 2021. It records nearly 70,000 bookings to date.
In Singapore, there are 12 WeWork On Demand locations, such as at 9 Battery Road, 30 Raffles Place, Suntec Tower 5, and Beach Centre.
WeWork On Demand aims to provide individuals and businesses an even more flexible option with zero commitments. “As a pay-as-you-go service, this is the most affordable way to book a short-term workspace in a timeframe that suits users’ needs and budget. Whether they are a freelancer or a company looking for temporary space, you can now pay a simple, flat fee instead,” explained the WeWork spokesperson.
According to WeWork, coworking spaces provide the space for small companies to scale up and down with ease as well.
How to sign up for the service?
The on-demand rates start from S$49 per day for shared workspaces and S$20 per person for every hour for meeting rooms. All prices are displayed in the app, so users always know exactly how much they are paying, said WeWork.
To sign up, customers have to download the WeWork On Demand app, create an account and add credit card information before finding their preferred location. Check-ins are done on the spot and a key card will be provided.
They can choose to book a single work desk or opt for a meeting room if there’s a team discussion.
Customers will be given full access to unique common areas, phone booths, and outdoor space as well as business services including high-speed Wi-Fi, charging points, printing facilities, conferencing A/V, and unlimited coffee and tea.
For meeting rooms, guests are permitted so long as they’re within the number of seats available in the room booked. Guests will be registered at the entrance of the coworking space and will be permitted to access the premises only during such booking periods.
Can food be consumed while at the workspace? “Yes, you may do so, but must immediately put your mask back on after eating, drinking, or taking medication,” the WeWork spokesperson said.
Covid-19 precautionary measures
Members can expect hygiene and cleaning standards that align with local health organisations at the workspaces, said WeWork.
This includes enhanced air quality at the venue and improved heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) operations that are in line with industry guidance and health experts.
HVAC systems control the amount and cleanliness of the air in an indoor area, as well as the overall thermal comfort that the air can provide. WeWork said that it already had HVAC systems in place even before Covid-19. Its workspaces “adequately supply outside air and filtering technology as required by local codes and regulations”.
The shared spaces are modified to provide safe distancing, and there are also frequent cleaning schedules and complimentary sanitisation products. Signages are placed in the spaces to encourage hygiene best practices and health and safety. Face coverings are also required for users in Singapore offices, as per government regulations.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have implemented heightened cleaning measures including disinfecting common areas more frequently and are providing complimentary sanitisation products in spaces,” said WeWork.
Amid the pandemic, the company is taking additional steps to review and track the indoor air quality of its workspaces.
“WeWork is also closely monitoring guidance from global industry and health experts as well as applying new technologies to modify our HVAC systems and reduce the risk of transmission through airborne particles,” it said.
You can even use WeWork On Demand overseas next time
Interest in this service in Singapore has been promising since its launch in August here, said WeWork.
“On Demand has become an alternative for many people seeking to implement flexible working arrangements beyond just their homes and offices.”
In the near future, when overseas travel becomes more frequent, users can look forward to tapping on overseas WeWork On Demand services when travelling for work too.
The service is currently available in nearly 300 locations in countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia.
Future of work
With the rise of the hybrid workplace, more companies are shifting away from traditional office settings.
Research firm Knight Frank noted that Singapore office rents are set to fall by five per cent this year, before recovering next year. There will be a lower net new demand for office spaces due to the adoption of remote working by many firms.
“The rethinking of traditional office space usage in an age of flexible work arrangements, and the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic as the government withdraws business support measures will likely add to contractionary pressures for office space,” the consultancy said.
Flexible, short-term leases will help companies navigate an uncertain business landscape without the hassle of a traditional lease, while still enjoying the benefits and amenities of fully-equipped office space, said WeWork. “The new pay-as-you-go service is an additional option for businesses and individuals looking for a workspace.”
“Now more than ever, flexibility is of utmost importance to both businesses and individuals as they navigate a new world of work,” Samit Chopra, President & COO, International, WeWork had said in the media announcement of the On Demand service.
“In today’s climate, flexibility is key. As we move in and out of lockdowns and companies plan for a return to the office, WeWork On Demand…(allows) people to test the waters of hybrid working, find a space to collaborate, or access workspaces away from home,” added Balder Tol, WeWork General Manager, Australia and Southeast Asia.
Featured Image Credit: WeWork
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