COMMERCIAL PROPERTY | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Here’s what it feels like setting up an office in a collaborative workspace

Join the Dots’ head shared their experience.

Rather than leasing a typical serviced office, there are a growing number of shared and collaborative workspaces in Singapore which offer businesses lots of flexibility and are great for networking and meeting other business professionals. These kinds of spaces are a great option for businesses new to the region to scale quickly as needed due to the flexibility of the space they offer, as well as develop a network of contacts across industries, especially as many of those sharing the space are start-ups or small businesses.

UK-based research company, Join the Dots, are among many businesses which jumped on the bandwagon. Its first international office in Singapore is in a space called Collective Works, located in The Globe on Cecil Street in the central business district.

“Collective Works offers dedicated office space so we have the privacy of our own office suite, as well as hot-desk areas and a range of breakout spaces, kitchen areas and meeting rooms,” said Karen Schofield, managing director of Join the Dots Singapore.

Join the Dots grew by 28% in 2015 and the new office in Singapore will allow the company to service their existing clients who have operations in the Far East, including Glaxo Smith Kline, Unilever and Diageo. Join the Dots’ other clients include British Airways, Tesco and Nationwide.

It will also allow them to pursue new opportunities across Asia.

Collective Works is based over five floors, and Join the Dots is located on level 15. It has an outside terrace which is great for a morning coffee or lunch.
Karen described the floor as light and airy, with lots of glass which is a great use of the space, and it’s in keeping with their brand and office space in Manchester.

“When we moved to The Hive in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in 2013, we were fortunate to be able to design the office from scratch. This blank canvas allowed us to create an exciting and enjoyable working space for everyone at Join the Dots, with meeting rooms and breakout spaces to suit our needs and a clean, personable open-office environment to encourage communication, collaboration and openness” she said.

According to Karen, they felt that the office in Collective Works was the perfect fit for Join the Dots, as it similarly allowed for both privacy from and communication with other companies working in the building.

“There are businesses sharing the space ranging from PR and social media specialists to app developers and technology companies, so it’s a great community of innovative businesses and a fantastic environment for a company like ours with a long heritage in digital and innovation,” she explained.

Apart from hot-desking and plenty of spaces to meet other people in the building, Collective Works offers an app to connect with members in the space to meet up or ask advice about anything from where to buy stationery or get business cards printed to where to entertain clients, and they hold regular networking events for members to meet each other and discuss ideas.

Karen nonetheless shared that the biggest challenge they have had in choosing a collaborative workspace was setting up the IT equipment to comply with their existing client contracts and data security, including installing our own firewall and network.

“Our Technology Director & Data Security Officer, Peter Jones, took the lead on this when he came over in early January to get us up and running, as it needed specialist guidance and installation. There’s been a much wider team involved in the whole set up process, including Andy Cumming, International Research Director, Graeme Lawrence, Board Director and myself as Managing Director in Singapore, plus numerous others back in the UK, as well as the team here at Collective Works, including Founder Jonathan O’Byrne and Space Manager Farikh Ali,” she said.


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Here’s what it feels like setting up an office in a collaborative workspace

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