Live at your own pace in your own space
The sharing economy, which involves activities allowing individuals to acquire or sell usually temporary access to goods or services, has disrupted several industries such as tourism, car and fashion.
With the rising rate of urbanization, the sharing economy has made its mark in real estate with the emergence of communal spaces that cater to day-to-day work or living needs of people across different backgrounds.
Co-working spaces have redefined the meaning of office by giving today’s generation of workers flexibility, while still providing the comforts of a traditional office space. Fully-furnished, ready to use, and cost-efficient with short-term leases starting from hourly to monthly rates, these co-working places attract remote workers, independent professionals, freelancers and those in startups, IT firms and other micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) who do not want to worry about running and maintaining an actual office.
A Harvard Business Review article pointed out that a co-working space provides a thriving work environment as it is a place where people are doing projects they actually care about and where workers have more control of their jobs while still feeling part of a community.
Work productivity is also enhanced in a co-working space as this type of office removes the distraction that comes with working from home or in noisy coffee shops. At the same time, as a place full of entrepreneurial, creative and innovative minds from a wide arrange of professions, a co-working space provides a diverse pool of talents one can connect with.
The rise of flexible workspaces in Metro Manila is currently being driven by a tight market, a growing mobile workforce and multinational corporations (MNCs) looking to further bring down operating costs and provide flexibility to their employees, according to Colliers International Philippines.
Colliers recorded a flexible workspace supply of about 3.8 million sq.ft. last year, representing about 3.2 percent of the total Metro Manila office supply.
In its report titled The Flexible Workspace Outlook Report 2019, Colliers forecasts Metro Manila’s flexible workspace area to expand by at least 10 percent a year over the next three years due to the continued rise of MSMEs, the influx of MNCs and outsourcing firms looking for plug-and-play offices, and the implementation of policy reforms likely to improve the business climate.
A pioneer in the co-working movement in the country is co.lab, which was established in 2011, and located in Pasig City. Proudly Filipino-owned co.lab is home to tech companies, start-ups, architects, boutique marketing teams, and social development practitioners.
Packages at the co.lab—from hourly passes of P110 to a monthly membership starting at P10,800—come with basic inclusions including comfortable work space, high speed internet, coffee, tea, water, free printing/photpcopying, one-hour free use of the meeting room.
ASPACE, which is also among the first coworking ventures in the country, now has four locations—three of which are found in Makati while one is located in Cebu City. Work space options at ASPACE include the Guestie Lounge for short stays, trial runs, and projects; Cowork club, designed for small teams; Private HQ for private office; and Sweet Suite for a multi-room space for more than 20 people.
US-based WeWork, the world’s largest flexible office space provider, meanwhile found home at Megaworld Corp.’s 19-storey office development, the Uptown Tower Three, located in Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig City. WeWork’s first Philippine hub, which opened last December, occupies two floors with a total gross floor area of 4,081 sqm.
Its amenities include front-desk service, mail and package handling, high speed internet, business-class printers and IT support, game room, an indoor garden area and a pantry. It also has bike storage and 24/7 building access. Private offices, which come with desks, chairs and filing cabinets, can be leased starting at P28,500 per month while dedicated desk in a shared office starts at P17,000 a month.
As more people, particularly the driven young professionals who are just starting out in their careers, embrace the fast-changing urban lifestyle, finding the right dwelling can be a challenge.
According to Euromonitor, co-living involves people sharing spaces and mutual facilities to save money and inspire collaborative ideas or provide comfortable, more acceptable living conditions. This trend stems from the hyper-urban hubs that have adopted the sharing economy as a lifestyle choice.
In Metro Manila, the worsening traffic and the rising prices of residential spaces in the central business districts have led to a demand in co-living spaces that provide safety, comfort, proximity to work without the expensive cost of city living. These spaces are designed for the younger members of the workforce who need halfway shelters while they can’t afford yet to purchase their own homes.
The SM Group-led dormitory developer and operator Philippines Urban Living Solutions (PULS) Inc. is building its largest co-living property to date with MyTown Los Angeles. Set to open in 2020, it features a seven-storey, 1,000-bed dormitory located along Kalayaan Avenue in Makati.
To date, PULS operates 16 dormitories in the metropolis, mostly catering to the BGC and Makati market. Its dormitory chain has served more than 10,000 young professionals, with a total of 3,000 beds.
Based on its website, MyTown units come in four configurations, each fully-furnished with a bath, kitchenette, a desk, and smart bunk beds with ergonomic gadget provisions. MyTown buildings also have a wide range of comprehensive amenities and recreational areas. Its biggest property to date is MyTown New York, a 700-bed dormitory in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati, which is also equipped with a movie theater, game rooms, resto bars, KTV rooms, function and study rooms, and a roof deck.
The concept of dormitory was introduced in McKinley Hill township more than a decade ago with Megaworld’s Woodridge Residences. It was launched in 2008, at a time when condominium prices were rising, the IT-business process outsourcing industry was booming, and many local property developers were focusing on luxury dwellings.
Units at Woodridge, which can accommodate four people, have two bunk beds, a shower room, a toilet room, a kitchen with its own sink, cabinets, dining table and chairs while units for 10 people have five double decks, a common bath and toilet, and a common pantry per floor, best suited for those who want to bunk in with the barkada.
The Flats Fifth Avenue, Bonifacio Global City’s flagship co-living development, caters to students and young urban professionals who are looking for a home in the city to skip the hassle of commuting to and from their school or workplace.
Located along 5th Avenue and a walking distance from Bonifacio High Street, The Flats is a 16-storey shared residential building with rooms that can comfortably fit up to four people. Renters can choose among quad-sharing and triple-sharing rooms with options for bunk bed, loft bed, or single bed types.
The monthly rent at The Flats comes with furnished rooms with beds, workstations, cabinets, a kitchenette, and a toilet and bath. Community events like parties, seminars, movie nights, game nights that promote interaction with like-minded individuals are organized at the Community Lounge and Skydeck. There is also access to food options, housekeeping and laundry services.
Sources: Inquirer Archives, hbr.org, flexiblespace.colliers.com, colab.ph, aspace.work, blog.euromonitor.com
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