The co-working movement

Shared workplaces or co-working spaces, have changed the way people work and collaborate with each other, offering flexibility, opportunities, networking and even relaxation in ways a traditional office cannot. There is no doubt that there has been an abundant amount of such communal spaces in Thailand (look no further than our cover story on co-working spaces a few issues ago), which means that various start-ups and businesses have begun to change the way they operate. JustCo, headquartered in Singapore, is a leading provider of co-working spaces and opened their first co-working centre in Thailand in May. Their first space, which is two-storeyed and is within the AIA Sathorn Tower office building, has attracted potential clients with their vibrant setting, casual and cosy ambience and creative lighting designs. We chat with Kong Wan Sing, founder and CEO of JustCo, on why such spaces are in demand and expansion plans.

Was location an important factor when JustCo was being set up in Bangkok? Why choose Sathon?

We brought co-working into the AIA Sathorn Tower as it stands out as one of the iconic office buildings within Bangkok's CBD. The space is also easily accessible and within walking distance to BTS Surasak, which makes it convenient for commuters.

JustCo is expanding all over Southeast Asia. Why the need for more co-working spaces in the region?

We've seen the co-working scene open up in the past years and foresee it to continue to increase in the near future. Clients who wouldn't have been open to the co-working concept previously are now interested in getting in on the action. They see value in being connected to a community of talented and like-minded individuals and businesses.

It's no longer just a workplace for start-ups, freelancers and enterprises. They now include members from all different sizes of companies and business types, including many global brands. The co-working model today appeals to a wide range of businesses and with a strategic location, it helps companies expand their network, leverage on a common pool of resources, attract the best talent and drive success to their business.

What are the advantages of working in a shared space compared to a traditional office setting?

Through co-working spaces, members will gain access to a large community, make new connections and explore new business opportunities. The meaningful part of a co-working space is the community, the conversations had and the connections established. Members of a co-working space will automatically become part of a connected community with options to network and attend social and professional events, to learn new skills and build their own connections within the community.

Additionally, employees are constantly seeking for workplace flexibility, networking and innovation opportunities. Co-working spaces are breaking the walls of traditional offices and it is a platform offering more flexibility, community, which drives productivity and inspiration.

What was the thought process behind the design of the JustCo co-working space in Bangkok?

The concept of our co-working spaces are unique to each location. At AIA Sathorn Tower, we wanted to create a workspace that supports creativity, focus, collaboration, well-being, community and happiness. We work with award-winning design firm Siren Design to develop a concept unique to each location.

The space design encompasses the use of industrial furnishing and raw materials, communal tables and swing chairs, with splashes of vivid colour tones and plants throughout cosy corners. It boasts modern and vibrant interiors paired along with quirky and playful elements.

We love the local art scene and incorporated this element into our interior design. We

 worked with Pomme Chan, a Thailand-based artist, who added her creativity to our walls, bringing our hot-desking area to life with her abstract interpretation of a melting pot of different businesses, entrepreneur talents and cultures.

Our vision is to make work better, together! So we set forth our mission to establish work spaces that constantly challenges and redefines collaborative working, connecting vibrant and dynamic communities in open, conductive and creative work spaces for our members to experience.

JustCo Thailand will be getting a second co-working space soon. Any plans to expand more than that?

Our second centre is at Capital Tower, All Seasons Place, and will open this month. We are looking to operate 100 centres in Asia by 2020.

What are future expansion plans?

JustCo will build on its presence in Southeast Asia and expand into other Asian markets such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia and India. Our joint investment with GIC and Frasers Property will also support our continued focus on ramping up technology solutions and enhance service offerings to facilitate collaboration, engagement and networking opportunities among our growing base of community members across Asia.