Next stage of CO-WORKING

/ EdgeProp Singapore
November 2, 2018 5:20 PM SGT

Jonathan O’Byrne, founder and CEO of Collective Works, talks about the shift in the co-working space and why he has chosen to exit as an operator

A first mover in the co-working sector, Jonathan O’Byrne, founder and CEO of Collective Works, has seen a radical shift in the business over the past two years. “The game is now around rapid expansion, growing market share and opening more square footage,” says O’Byrne, 32, an Irish-born expatriate who has lived in Singapore since 2010. “It’s completely different from when I started Collective Works; it was created because we wanted a space that was better than home and that empowered people to live their best lives.”
Collective Works' O'Byrne: People will look at space on a subscription basis. I will be able to bring my skills and expertise to provide a more complete workplace solution for the next-generation workforce (Photo Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
According to Colliers International Singapore Research, flexible workspace stock in Singapore has nearly tripled since 2015 from about one million sq ft to about 2.7 million sq ft today. The CBD accounts for 84% of the co-working space, amounting to a footprint of 2.4 million sq ft as at June 2018, says Colliers.
Last year recorded the steepest annual growth — a 44% increase y-o-y, which translated into a 680,000 sq ft increase — in co-working space. The forecast is that the sector will see another 30% to 35% y-o-y growth in 2018, or about 670,000 sq ft, given the aggressive expansion plans of co-working operators. The growth rate has been forecast to moderate to about 20% y-o-y next year (see chart belo).

‘Price war’

Amid the pursuit of market share and more locations, there has been a drop in the number of members psf. “Singapore is in the middle of a price war in co-working,” says O’Byrne.
This observation is backed by Colliers’ research, which found that incentives for members to sign on have ranged from one month’s free rent to six months’ free rent for...