Flexible workspaces contributing to the growth and success of MNCs in Singapore

There is a common misconception in Singapore that serviced offices and co-working spaces are just for startups and freelancers. However, worldwide work trends are revolutionizing this idea to tremendous extents. In Singapore, more and more major national and multinational corporations (MNCs) are moving their teams into flexible workspaces for a better work environment and the Government is helping lay the groundwork to meet current and future demand.

Jointly set up by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and National Library Board (NLB), and operated by global flexible workspace provider Regus, four Smart Work Centres (SWC) were recently opened in Singapore, in Toa Payoh Public Library, Jurong Regional Library, Geylang East Public Library and the newest addition, Tampines Regional Library. The SWC initiative aims to help workers and businesses take full advantage of new technology and a wider range of flexible workspace options.

With government bodies supporting these new developments, leading the way in exploring other community buildings for new workspaces, Singapore is welcoming a multi-gen flexible workforce landscape to enhance work productivity and quality.

Co-working space at The Working Capital, Keong Saik Road


In 2017, Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore) launched its Plug and Play Network to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) ‘go regional’ and access new markets by providing support in business advisory services, business matching and market set-up via co-working spaces. This initiative is in line with the Government’s belief that a co-working environment allows a company to “familiarise [itself] with local business conditions”, and the critical necessity of “finding partners with the right networks”. 

The establishment of JTC LaunchPad, in two locations, one-north and Jurong Innovation District is a Government venture to encourage entrepreneurialism through co-working. While procuring ample opportunities for knowledge-sharing, a nurturing flexible office environment will also help facilitate successful collaborations in the marketplace.

Along with enhanced work-life grants and incentives to implement flexible work arrangements endowed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently, we are expecting big businesses in Singapore to be embarking on these workplace improvements full scale. In fact, they are already doing vast research on how they can tap into these phenomenal workplace trends and are forecasted to be increasingly taking on huge spaces in serviced offices.

WeWork research predicts that by 2020, half of large companies will have some form of shared office space, whether that’s co-working or another model. The concept has become central to corporate strategies on growth and expansion. (Curbed, 2017)

Why The Massive Corporate Buy-in?

1. A Cohesive Community > Rigid Company 

A corporate hierarchical office structure can be daunting for employees, needless to say, unproductive and inefficient when designating work or handling campaign matters. Smarter MNCs and corporations are realizing that their success is dependent on how cohesive teams are within the company. A modern, community building flexible workspace, such as those found in serviced offices, makes collaborations and communication much livelier and work-productive, enhancing an innovational field for the collective while empowering work managers to make sharpened board decisions. 

2. Working For A Corporation Feeling Like A Freelancer

Co-working started out as a millennial venture for young promising entrepreneurs looking for a flexible, conducive work environment. However, today co-working has stretched far beyond this demographic and purpose. Corporations are realising that they can benefit from this diverse working environment without a slight compromise of professionalism. Employees can feel free in an eased work environment while enjoying the security of corporate employment. Giving employees the liberty to achieve work objectives in autonomous ways can be a positive leadership move. "Because of their life experiences, Millennials have very high expectations for learning, development, transparency and flexibility on the job. Providing them with the freedom to manage much of their own work and to determine when and where they do that work is fundamental to their satisfaction," said Donna Wells, former CEO of Mindflash.

3. An Agglomeration of Innovative Businesses

Serviced offices and co-working spaces are filled with communities of brilliant start-ups, early stage businesses and even unicorns that are dynamic, experimental and an inspirational buzz of brilliant work ideas. Large enterprises recognize the importance of retaining a growth mindset and the capacity to innovate consistently and have started moving teams out to shared workspaces to be a part of this stimulating collaborative network.

Examples of MNCs leveraging startups spaces

  1. Unilever Foundry, the international consumer goods company’s innovation arm, announced the launch of Level3 a new co-working space in Singapore in 2017. The 22,000-square-foot (2,040-square-meter) space is located at Unilever’s regional headquarters in Singapore’s Mapletree Business City area. (Tech In Asia, 2017)
  2. An example of corporates shifting some of their teams into flexible space is Lendlease housing 100 of its 550 Singapore staff in The Work Project at OUE Downtown in the Central Business District. (The Straits Times, 2017)
  3. Occupying nearly 75,000 sq ft across 11 floors at Robinson Road is the biggest co-working space opened last year in the heart of Singapore Central Business District (CBD) to meet local and regional demand for a greater diversity of working options for corporate organisations. (Yahoo Finance, 2018)

Advancements in technology have redefined what a workspace means. Larger corporations are leveraging and finding value in flexible or co-working spaces for lower rental costs and multiple benefits like productivity, collaboration and employee well-being in this new world of work. With serviced office and co-working area evolving at a rapid pace and incredible progress in the corporate real estate world, how can occupiers best utilise this type of space on a global scale?

Read more: How Can Corporates and Large Companies Make The Most of Co-working and The Ever Evolving Serviced Office World

If you would like some impartial advice on your office requirements, or assistance with finding the right space for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Workthere, the flexible working space experts. Workthere, being part of Savills, is perfectly placed to provide impartial advice on finding the right office space for your business.