We recently had an engaging interview session hosted by BFM 89.9 Radio Program Host & Producer Richard Bradbury. We explore the role and relevance of co-working spaces in the office space landscape here in Malaysia, why businesses are outsourcing office management to us, and our overall value proposition for clients of all sizes.
Below are some sharing from Andrew Yeow (Co-Founder and CFO at WORQ) from the interview.
Businesses Outsourcing Office Management and Our Value Proposition
In this interview with Andrew Yeow, we delve into the role and relevance of coworking spaces in Malaysia’s office space landscape. We explore why businesses, including large corporations and multinational companies (MNCs), are increasingly outsourcing office management to coworking spaces and the overall value proposition we offer to businesses of all sizes.
The Growing Demand of Large Companies in Co-Working Spaces
We’ve also shed light on the involvement of large companies and MNCs in the coworking industry which our Enterprise Solution has strong demand among our clients in custom building office space. Many businesses are turning to coworking spaces to avoid the complexities of managing their own office spaces and to benefit from the office-as-a-service model. Coworking spaces act as intermediaries between property owners and businesses, providing hassle-free office setup, maintenance, procurement, and other logistical services.
Flexibility and Agility: Meeting the Needs of Dynamic Businesses
The conversation emphasized the value of coworking spaces in offering flexibility and agility to businesses, particularly in today’s dynamic economic environment. Andrew has pointed out that large companies, with shorter business planning cycles, are drawn to coworking spaces due to their ability to quickly adapt and scale office space as needed. Coworking spaces provide customized solutions, catering to companies that require immediate office space without the hassle of searching for and setting up a traditional office.
Client Breakdown: From MNCs to Startups and Freelancers
We discussed the client breakdown in coworking spaces. 60% of WORQ’s business comes from MNCs and corporates, with an increasing number of corporate clients since the pandemic. The SME and startup business segment is also rapidly growing.
Serving a Wide Range of Industries and Filling the Gap
The interview highlights that coworking spaces cater to a diverse range of industries, including global tech companies, media firms, and financial institutions. Coworking spaces offer flexibility, streamlined processes, and enable large corporations to allocate budgets and office spaces without lengthy approval processes. This helps bridge the gap between the supply and demand for coworking spaces in Malaysia, as the current supply accounts for only 1% of the office inventory, while the global demand reaches around 20% in major cities. We have the opportunity to create new concepts and services to meet the growing demand.
Networking, Community, and Hospitality: The Essence of Co-Working Spaces
Andrew stressed the importance of networking and community-building in coworking spaces. While the role of a community may decrease for larger corporate clients, it transforms into employee wellness and a better workplace experience. Andrew highlighted the value of providing a positive experience and ensuring our members feel well taken care of.
Strategic Expansion and Accessibility
Andrew discussed the strategic importance of accessibility in our expansion plans. WORQ prioritizes locations connected to LRT/MRT public transportation, making it convenient for members to access their satellite offices. Our goal is to build a network of coworking spaces across different areas, providing convenient spaces throughout the city. Our core idea is to provide convenient locations near clients’ homes while maintaining access to a broader community.
Evolution and Adaptation: How Coworking Spaces Have Changed
Andrew reflected on the changes and evolution of WORQ over the past few years, especially in response to the pandemic. WORQ has implemented practices from the real estate industry, leading to stability and profitability. He’s emphasized that WORQ has been profitable since day one and remained cash flow positive throughout the pandemic. He highlighted the importance of affordability in coworking spaces, debunking the misconception that they are limited to a specific type of client. WORQ offers competitive pricing, coupled with added-value services such as reliable IT infrastructure.
Expanding Services and Continuing Growth
Looking ahead, Andrew discussed WORQ’s plans to expand our coworking business organically. We are introducing new lines of services and exploring partnerships, such as our recent collaboration with Alunan Resort in Perhentian. We aim to double our footprint/size this year and triple it within the next two years. We will continue to be providing affordable and community-centric coworking spaces while adapting to the evolving needs of our members.
Coworking Spaces: Driving Nation-Building in Malaysia
Our interview conversation concluded with a discussion on how coworking spaces contribute to nation-building in Malaysia. Andrew emphasized the creation of an ecosystem that attracts experienced individuals from different countries, fostering innovation and idea-sharing. Coworking spaces serve as a gateway for foreign firms looking to set up in Malaysia, bringing new jobs and economic opportunities. By promoting Malaysia as an affordable and talent-rich destination for business, co-working spaces play a vital role in attracting companies and contributing to the growth of the local economy.
In summary, the interview showcased the rise of coworking spaces in Malaysia, attracting not only freelancers, startups, and small businesses but also larger companies and MNCs seeking flexible and hassle-free office solutions. The interview highlighted the evolving role of coworking spaces, our value proposition, and our contribution to nation-building in Malaysia. For the full interview session, you may click below to listen to the full podcast episode.