Most co-working outfits in Singapore have attracted companies and freelancers alike with sleek designs and central locations, but a new player is catering to more industrial requirements, such as storage and logistics amenities.

Workfriendly – a co-working space set up by Hong Kong-based self-storage firm Storefriendly – has opened a facility in Paya Lebar.

This has proved ideal for Ms Jaslyn Goh, director of vegan food and lifestyle product supplier Souley Green.

Her company recently took up a unit, as it fit its requirements for both office space and warehousing.

She had considered other co-working spaces, but they were beyond her budget and did not meet her needs.

She now has access to loading and unloading bays, pallet jacks and trolleys, which are necessary for distribution and shipping operations.

Ms Goh said taking up a traditional office unit in an industrial building had also been out of the question.

“As a small business, we wouldn’t be able to afford such a large sum for renovation… (and) other fees that we would have to worry about, such as for utilities, furniture and season parking.”

Workfriendly officially launched last month, after a few months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. The space includes hot desks, private units catering to both industrial and more formal office requirements, as well as an event area.

It started welcoming customers in September last year to test-bed the concept.

Storefriendly co-founder and chief executive Jes Johansen told The Straits Times that while the firm’s core focus and background is in self-storage, it expanded into co-working units after receiving feedback from businesses.

“We know users need space, not just for storage, but for activity, and that’s where Workfriendly really came out,” he said, noting that the feedback included requests for Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and a space where people could interact with customers.

The space is “specifically tailored for small businesses that need a helping hand cost-wise and don’t want to pay downtown rates, but would like something similar”, he added.

A key feature lies in its lease functions, providing users with amenities such as a loading bay, a front desk that can assist with courier needs and meeting areas, Mr Johansen said.

“We’re hopeful, we’re confident that there is a great demand for that kind of use,” he added, acknowledging that traffic has been slower given the pandemic.

Ms Loretta Chen, founder of event styling firm Invited, said the flexibility of space use was a draw.

While the monthly rent for her Workfriendly unit is around the same as what she had been paying for an office space in an industrial building in Bartley, there are more varied areas available for use, such as a reception area. She also has her own warehouse space for working with props and design ideas.

Mr Harold Koh, co-founder of content producer Roar Collective, said pricing was an important factor, especially as his is a new start-up. His firm was one of those that moved into Workfriendly in September during its test-bedding period.

A desk at WeWork, for example, would cost around the same as a small unit at Workfriendly, Mr Koh said, noting that while the American co-working space giant, like other players, has its merits and is “fantastic for what it offers”, it would not have made sense for his start-up.

Roar Collective has expanded from its initial 100 sq ft unit to one around 375 sq ft.

Mr Koh noted that the flexibility in moving between units within the space has been a boon, adding that the convenience of not having to worry about setting up basic working needs such as utilities and Wi-Fi was also an attractive factor.

Mr Johansen said the Workfriendly space in Paya Lebar could be rolled out to its other self-storage facilities here and abroad.

“It’s a natural extension of the activities we have now – it allows us to take more space, and add value to them,” he added.

Source: https://www.straitstimes.com/business/new-co-working-space-caters-to-industrial-needs

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