Forum: Don't overlook small companies operating out of co-working spaces

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said last week that telecommuting will continue to be the norm even as circuit breaker measures are eased (Working from home to be the norm for some time: Chan, May 4).

While many people from multinational corporations are able to work from home, there is a group that has been overlooked - companies that are set up in co-sharing offices such as JustCo, WeWork and other types of co-working concept offices.

I work for a small company of six people. With a small set-up in a co-working office, it has been conducive to managing costs in the last three years.

On the same floor, there are many other small companies occupying the rooms, as well as a shared pantry.

It is a new way to conduct business and a great way to network, but, frankly, there is little or no safe distancing space available.

Although my company's work involves a lot of networking to achieve business targets, we are also able to work from home.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, the lack of physical human interaction poses a challenge to running or even expanding the business.

This is because personal interaction is still key to understanding one another. It allows observation of body language, while the power of presence is not to be underestimated.

Co-working offices as well as companies that have benefited from such a concept are set to face a challenging future.

Companies are able to save on rental costs, but with the ongoing Covid-19 situation, I wonder whether such co-working spaces, with their lack of safe distancing capability, will survive.

Will the Government step in to impose strict guidelines for people working in these co-working spaces?

Gabriel Lim Yoong Hao

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