More firms flock to co-working spaces but rising costs hit operators’ profit margins


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SINGAPORE – Ms Elizabeth Wu, 41, who is a mother of three, saw a business opportunity when she realised that there was no co-working space here that allowed parents to be near their children.

She co-founded Trehaus with Ms Elaine Kim in 2016 to plug the market gap.

Trehaus is a co-working space at Funan integrated with its own pre-school and childcare service, where parents can work and be near their children at the same time. The company also provides child-minding support.

The company, which has 47 employees, now houses about a dozen companies in its 15,000 sq ft space and has 20 families using its co-working space and childcare services.

“We’ve seen an increase in people interested in using our services due to the recent push for flexible working and people re-examining their options for work. We also capture the niche crowd of parents who want to work near their children,” said Ms Wu.

The demand for flexible workspaces is bouncing back, according to property consultancy CBRE in a report on Nov 25.

Occupancy at Singapore’s flex space centres has recovered from an average of 50 per cent to 60 per cent during the pandemic to 80 per cent to 90 per cent on average by the third quarter of 2022, with the reopening of borders and resumption of back-to-office arrangements, the report showed.

Said CBRE: “Leasing volume by flex operators in office space amounted to 0.15 million sq ft in just the first nine months of 2022, overtaking 2021’s full-year volume of about 0.12 million sq ft.”

Some co-working spaces, like Trehaus, put a different spin on the concept to stand out from competition.


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