Saturday, 5 August 2017

(The Star) Workspace with heart aims to connect community

Conventional offices are becoming a thing of the past for the younger generation.

They seek flexibility, added value and purpose in their working environment, which has spurred the emergence of shared working spaces within the Klang Valley.

The latest is the CO3 Social Office, located near IOI Mall Puchong.

CO3 chief executive officer Yong Chen Hui said the workspace, which measures about 2,044sq m, has a capacity of up to 400 people.

“There are three parts to this workspace: the ‘hardware’, ‘software’ and ‘heartware’.”

The open pantry functions without a cashier system, people are free to take anything and pay accordingly.

The hardware is the fundamental needs – you’ve got the booths, the common area, meeting rooms, fast WiFi and sleeping pods,” explained Yong.

“Then you have the software such as in-house talent development programmes, visiting professionals of specialised fields as well as volunteer efforts.”

Yong said the third part – heartware – is where CO3 distinguishes itself from other shared working space concepts.

“It’s this intangible spirit that has a lot to do with freedom, dignity and trust.

“Everyone is given space that allows their ideas to flow freely; everyone enjoys the same rank in this safe space, and everyone is expected to have integrity.”

Yong explained that CO3 has an open pantry without a cashier system so people are expected to be honest and pay accordingly.

He added that all profits from the pantry go to charity.

CO3 is not simply a space rental business, it is also a place where a community can grow

Explaining the name CO3, Yong said it ties together three “COs”.

“When you ‘COnnect’ people, they start to ‘COllaborate’ and it becomes a ‘COmmunity’.”

Artiste Wu Chun from Brunei, who is also a co-founder of CO3, said they hoped to bring something new to young and millennial talents through this workspace.

“People nowadays search for quality of life, they want to put lifestyle into their work and have fun while they are at it.

“On top of that, the place will be filled with people from different industries and they will be able to foster smart collaborations with each other,” he said.

CO3 director Eugene Wong said it was not just any space rental business.

“We build a community within the space and promote entrepreneurship.

“Some of the startups and businesses that have signed on with us have already started making acquaintances,” he noted.

“Every member has a chance to access a wide network of opportunity,” said Wong, who is also executive director with Sin Chew Media Corporation Bhd.

Sin Chew is a co-founder of CO3.

Meanwhile, Yong said their working space was already 80% leased with more than 200 members signed on.

“The best thing about this place is that people can lease space for a period as short as one month with us.”

He said this system could also work to the advantage of certain companies as they can change a fixed cost to a variable cost.

“Every company has two expensive costs: staff and real estate. CO3 is the solution to lower real estate costs, and offers flexibility with human capital while able to attract and retain talent,” he added.

Plans for CO3’s next four workspaces are already under way with Yong confirming that its second and larger location will be at Jalan Universiti in Petaling Jaya, beside the Sin Chew Media Corporation office.