By Wan Sing
Special to The Nation
This is true of many industries, and JustCo takes this a step further by ensuring that localisation is at the heart of its ‘hardware’. This starts from the design and aesthetics of each of its 35 centres across eight cities and also extends to our ‘software’, the communal experiences brought to each space including specially curated events and workshops. Together, both the JustCo ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ give the centres in each market their own unique personality and local flavour.
Designing a different kind of ‘hardware’
Most of us will spend one-third of our lives at work. As such, it’s vital that the space we work in is conducive, comfortable and inspiring. This is prioritised in each of the JustCo centres, and enriched with fixtures and facilities that are specially localised across each of the eight cities. For each market, we select accessible locations and weave in designs that best support each country’s macro-economic environment and users’ preferences.
For example, at JustCo’s three new centres in Taiwan that are expected to open in the third quarter of 2019, the design is inspired by materials and features commonly found in traditional Taiwanese architecture, such as bamboo and arches. Additionally, recycled materials will be stylishly incorporated in the décor and furniture in support of the island’s national drive towards sustainability and upcycling.
Visitors to the three JustCo centres in Indonesia will also find plenty of natural earthy elements such as rattan baskets and woven swing chairs that can be commonly found in traditional Indonesian handicrafts.
In Australia, locals take their coffee seriously and it’s common for people to hold their meetings and discussions over short coffee breaks. Hence, the four JustCo centres in Sydney and Melbourne each have an in-house cafe for members to get their daily dose of caffeine while connecting with other members and discovering collaborative opportunities.
Common areas are another key focus at the JustCo centres, where members can take a short breather from work, connect with other members, or have some privacy where needed. Based on member feedback, about 30-40 per cent of each JustCo centre is dedicated to these zones, and have a variety of facilities depending on user preferences in each market.
For instance, In Singapore, the JustCo centres feature a recreational area that includes facilities such as a snooze lounge, meditation corner and foosball (table football), mini golf and darts corner to cater to local members’ request for spaces that allow them to network, relax and recharge.
Meanwhile, a JustCo Lab initiative was launched recently at the Marina Square centre to support the country’s start-up ecosystem. The incubation programme empowers early-stage start-ups to tap on JustCo’s collaborative and innovative culture, as well as attend hackathons, masterclasses and gain access to mentors who are successful and established entrepreneurs.
Customising with a ‘soft’ touch
The fixtures, interior design and facilities are just one-half of the co-working formula. The other half is to build a productive, inviting and warm environment where the needs of the members are heard and addressed continuously.
On a day-to-day basis, JustCo ensures that its support teams across all the cities are locals and are in touch with the native business needs and culture. Not only do these teams speak the same language as the locals but they are also in tune with the cultural nuances.
Hiring a local team also helps to curate events, partnerships and community engagement programmes that are relevant, useful or interesting to members in the respective markets. In Singapore for example, women-centric events tend to be popular where female entrepreneurs are able to connect with one another and trade tips. It’s also no surprise that food and culinary themed events do well in the foodie nation.
Even across Southeast Asia, members have different preferences – for instance, Indonesians are techies who tend to gravitate towards tech-related talks or workshops. They also sign up more eagerly for events that feature renowned speakers or organisations in their respective fields, while the Thais enjoy cultural events and workshops that have high levels of fun and engagement such as lantern-making during the Loy Krathong festival.
By adjusting to the needs and predilections of members across markets, JustCo delivers a localised customer-first mindset. In today’s digital economy where the barriers of geography are broken down, it is vital to think locally and act globally to flourish.
Wan Sing, a property and real estate veteran with more than15 years of experience, is the founder and chief executive of JustCo ,