From Zero to 30: The JustCo Journey
The Co-Working Phenomenon
Today, co-working is a buzzword closely associated with well-designed offices equipped with open spaces and a multitude of recreational options from ping pong tables to mini golf facilities and a free flow of coffee.
While it is almost unimaginable to think that offices today have any less, as recently as 2014, co-working was still widely considered a concept reserved for freelancers and millennials. Some even perceived co-working to be another passing fad. But look at how it has grown and evolved so far.
Since JustCo launched its centre in 2011, the industry has burgeoned. On the one hand, millennials are leading the way in re-shaping workplace convention. On the other, companies are increasingly recognising the need to re-define work-life balance and flexible working options. The co-working segment has a valuable role in these two trends.
From Space to Solutions
At the beginning, we started with a simple offering in mind – flexible office solutions that help businesses achieve greater efficiencies. In our first three years, over 80% of our members were either individuals or SMEs looking to save on rent. On average, our members achieved between 25%-45% in cost savings.
We have since expanded our footprint tenfold across the region and evolved our offerings.
Earlier this month, JustCo has secured three new centres in Taipei, Taiwan. Located in the premier Xinyi, Zhongshan and Songshan office districts, this has expanded our total portfolio to 32 centres, and increased footprint to close to one and a half million sq ft in eight key cities – Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Shanghai, Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei and Seoul – across Asia Pacific. The new flagship JustCo centre at Dian Shih building will comprise an interconnected office and a hotel. This building will be powered by JustCo’s innovation and process, to create an intelligent building with the use of technology solutions.
The second centre at Minsheng Jianguo is housed within an A-class office building and a business hotel, while the third centre is located at Hung Tai Financial Plaza spreads across two levels. Even before the official opening, these centres will have an even split of SMEs and MNCs/enterprise clients – offering members the opportunity to form part of the greater community and partake in events and networking sessions curated by JustCo.
Over eight years, JustCo has evolved from being a landlord to a multi-purpose solutions provider and even a consultant for both developers and tenants – a growth made possible by identifying the opportunity, and disrupting the developer-tenant relationship.
We save developers the overheads and hassle of curating a tenant mix. At the same time, our diverse understanding of purposeful design, community programming and workspace versatility allows us to deliver personalised experiences and cater to the needs of any business, anywhere, at any time. Late last year, we were appointed by GuocoLand to operate its co-working space in Singapore’s Central Business District, a prime spot in the country. The centre was opened in May, which introduced a new multi-faceted concept whereby tenants within the building can enjoy common spaces such as a café, snooze lounge, an event space as well as specially curated programmes, while JustCo members have access to the shared workspace and facilities. This follows a prior appointment by telecommunications giant Verizon, where we played a primary role in curating and managing the company’s first Asian innovation community space in Singapore.
Teamwork makes the dream work
A strong contributor to our success is the strong partnerships we have forged in this short time. By working with business leaders in the region, we have been able to elevate our proposition and scale successfully into new markets.
Our partnerships have not only been key to how we shape our local strategies, but have also enabled us to build a deep understanding of the local nuances and needs that are critical to businesses in Asia Pacific.
One such example is our partnership with Gunung Sewu in Indonesia. Their broad local expertise in the food, property, insurance, and manufacturing business allowed us to build an infrastructure that is robust and sustainable in a very short frame of time. The third JustCo co-working space in Indonesia was secured at a premium skyscraper developed by Gunung Sewu’s property business – Sequis Tower, Jakarta, which opened in May 2019.
In May 2018, we also secured a joint investment with Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, GIC and mainboard-listed Frasers Property to develop a coworking platform across Asia. The partnership with Frasers Property has allowed JustCo to leverage and tap on Frasers’ global network and resources, with the ability to secure prominent new centre locations in buildings owned by Frasers Property, such as China Square Central in Singapore and Samyan Mitrtown in Thailand.
This has been a key milestone in driving our rapid expansion into other parts of Asia, to scale and grow our flexible workspaces within the region, including China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and more.
Across the region, working closely together with our local teams in each market has also been instrumental in the rapid expansion. With a deep understanding of local nuances, we are able to design spaces and curate programmes in our centres that resonate best with the needs of the locals. Partners such as Australian Interior design firm, Siren, allow us to tap on cross-market experience and efficiencies to deliver customisable space solutions in a shorter timeframe than most.
Looking to the future
As the world battles with rising commercial real estate costs and the need to be more nimble than ever, we anticipate a 70-80% increase in the number of enterprise businesses adopting co-working solutions.
On our part, we will continuously strive to lead and redefine the new normal, creating solutions that do not just meet the needs of businesses but enriches the lifestyle of people that make up the organisation too. After all, people are at the centre of every company and if they are able to collaborate and work together better, then it is better work done.