Tapping shared space synergies

20160611-bt-tapping-shared-space-synergies-pic Newer co-working spaces have gone posh and even expanded overseas, but they haven't deviated from their main objective - cultivating the right culture and collaboration opportunities among tenants.

DREAD having to drag yourself out of bed on Monday mornings? Not if you work at The Great Room.

The newly opened co-working space is so stylishly designed that you might even be tempted to go to the office early and stay longer than you need to.

In fact, the space could be mistaken for a fancy hotel lobby, which is what Jaelle Ang, co-founder and CEO of The Great Room, intended it to be.

"When you walk into a well-designed hotel lobby, it feels different from conducting business in a stiff and grey office," she says. "You feel an elevated sense of purpose and connection with people - like today is the day you are going to sign that deal, or meet that special business partner."

Celeste Chong, The Great Room's director of marketing, says: "We want to change the way people feel about coming to work."

The 15,000 square foot Grade A office space was designed by hospitality specialist Distillery Studio, who also designed Manhattan Bar at the Regent Hotel. "We specifically wanted the design to be led by a hotel designer, not an office designer," says Ms Ang, who previously worked in the hospitality industry.

And when Distillery Studio merged with international design firm Hassell last year, Ms Ang says that they ended up with the best of both worlds. Hassell is known for designing cool offices.

"What we got in the end was a beautifully designed space, with all of the intelligence and business efficiency of an office," says Ms Ang.

Most of the furniture are bespoke pieces and have been ergonomically designed without compromising on aesthetics. The colour theme here is mostly blue and tan, which Ms Ang calls "the new corporate neutrals".

She also worked with art gallery The Artling to fit out the co-working space with a curated collection of over 30 works from Singapore-based artists, such as Tang Ling Nah and Ketna Patel, with pieces ranging from paintings to photography.

Members of The Great Room have various options to pick from for their workspace. Hot desks are available around the office, and many come with window seats that look out at the city skyline.

For those who want a little more privacy, The Great Room offers Hot Offices, which are private offices that can fit one to four people. Members can book these rooms for two hours, two days or even two weeks.

Then there are the Dedicated Offices, designed for teams of two to 20. Ms Ang says that such offices are good for those who still want to be near Raffles Place, but not experience the typical stuffy, corporate feel. These rooms can be booked for a minimum three-month period. These offices come with timber desks, leather task chairs, storage shelves with brass detailing, flattering lighting and good fengshui.

Other features that The Great Room has include the State Room, a boardroom which can seat 14 people, with private access to the bar area, as well as several Phone Booths, which are insulated private phone booths.

But the best place to hang out at to work or mingle is at The Drawing Room. "Our advantage is that we offer that hospitality touch," says Ms Ang.

Members get free coffee, tea, and filtered water, and they can purchase snacks at discounted prices. To fight off the Monday blues, The Great Room will soon introduce a Monday Breakfast Club, where members can enjoy complimentary breakfast on Mondays, with their Papa Palheta coffee. Tired workers can also have a massage on Monday afternoons for a fee, and as the day winds down, a turndown cart brings around a warm cookie for those who are staying late to work. "We want our members to look forward to Monday," says Ms Chong.

From August, The Great Room will start offering yoga lessons on its premises.

But it is not just all play. Business concierges will be on hand to act as connectors between members, and there will also be social networking events.

The Great Room offers day passes at S$70 a day, and membership from S$750 a month which grants them access to Hot Office usage. The rates for Dedicated Offices vary according to room size.

Some of its current members include a non-profit organisation, recruitment firm, and a talent management company.

Ms Ang says The Great Room is not targeting any industry but rather "specific mindsets". "These would be the thinkers and influencers in various industries."

She adds: "We see ourselves as a grown-up co-working space, one that is stylish, and refined."

Source: Business Times, 11 Jun 2016