What is a coworking space?

by Daan van Rossum 19 Nov 2021

To explain what is a coworking space, let’s start by imagining a traditional office. As a company:

  • You have to sign up for a long lease, usually 3 to 5 years or more.
  • You need to hire a designer and design your office, even though you most likely don’t have experience in designing offices.
  • Everything that you want to offer to your employees, you have to put inside the space that you rent, even if you only use it sometimes, like a big boardroom or event space.
  • You then need to hire a contractor to build that office and oversee that work, likely without prior experience.
  • You have to buy all elements of the interior – from the IT equipment to the desks and chairs.
  • From that moment on, you have to operate and maintain the workspace, from refilling the water tank to repairing furniture.

Now, imagine the opposite. Imagine a place where experts have put their years of experience in designing offices and their understanding of what employees want into a fantastic design. A design that’s created around collaboration, inspiration, and productivity. In a great coworking space, it doesn’t just stop with a better design. The entire interior and all furniture and equipment have already been paid for and installed. You can just walk in and get to work.

Then, especially in enterprise coworking, you have a team that operates the space for you. Anything that relates to the office, you can now just mention to the on-site team and they’ll arrange it for you. And what’s more, you only pay for the space you use. Often you can pay for only 15m2 for a small team, and get up to thousands of square meters of space and facilities to use whenever you want.

It’s no surprise then, that more and more companies are moving into coworking spaces.

How does a coworking space work?

A coworking space – and especially enterprise coworking spaces, which are also called flexible offices, like Dreamplex – takes everything you would need in an office, and delivers it at a fixed monthly fee. Think of it like the office version of Spotify: instead of buying individual CD’s or MP3s, you simply pay one fee per month and you can consume as much music as you’d like.

Companies who have run an office before know that maintaining and operating it can be a huge hassle. You have to deal with so many vendors, from the mail service to the maintenance, and from the coffee machine vendor to the cleaning company. On top of that, there’s usually no one to keep the office looking good, let alone to continuously make it exciting to step into it.

At coworking spaces, all of this work is done for you. A company can sign a membership agreement for as little as a few employees all the way up to hundreds of team members. That agreement can be short, or long, although most companies start off with a one year commitment. After all, you’re moving your team here, so you want them to not have to move again soon. From that moment on, anything that has to do with the office, is now the work of the coworking space. The company just needs to focus on their own business, and leave the management of the office to the coworking operator. Simply said, a coworking space allows companies to outsource all their office needs.

What are the main benefits of a coworking space?

The main benefits of coworking space are flexibility, increased productivity, less work for the company, great IT, accommodating a Hybrid work or Work from Anywhere strategy, and a better employee experience.

  • Flexibility: Coworking often offers move-in ready offices that allow companies to expand and contract as they want. In an unpredictable world, this is worth a lot to companies.
  • Productivity: In the words of Antony Slumbers, a real estate strategist in the UK: “Companies don’t want offices, they want a productive workforce.” Coworking spaces are expectedly designed to foster productivity and collaboration.
  • Less Work: The work of running an office – from design to operations to maintenance, is now the operator’s job. The company itself can focus on what they need to focus on: growth.
  • Great IT: as more work takes place online, enterprise-grade IT is required. For smaller companies these kinds of IT solutions are often out of reach. In a coworking space, large investments have been made to ensure connectivity. Now, and in the future.
  • Hybrid Work-Readiness: more companies have adopted hybrid work or agile work. Coworking spaces help businesses combine work from home, work near home, and work from the office. All under one platform, from one provider.
  • A Better Employee Experience: Providing a competitive employee experience allows companies to attract, engage, and retain the best talent better. And a great office is key to this. Coworking operators like Dreamplex are specialized in delivering a strong employee and workplace experience.

Can coworking spaces work for large companies?

Traditionally, coworking spaces have been for smaller companies, startups, and freelancers or individuals. But as work has become more distributed, and as companies are all vying for the same talent, there is more pressure on companies to deliver a compelling employee experience.

This has driven more companies to partner with flexible office providers for a premium experience driven by innovative design, hospitality, exciting activities, and a range of great spaces for employees to use. With Dreamplex for example, even within one location employees may have access to over 2000m2 of shared spaces including a coffee shop, lounge, garden terrace, training room, event space, meeting rooms from 4 to 10s of people, and more.

Some of the largest companies in the world, like Standard Chartered, HSBC, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Facebook, are now partnering with coworking providers. For large companies like them, the benefits are clear:

  1. Companies find it harder to predict the future, and want more flexibility. Dreamplex offers flexible lease terms and no upfront investment for design, furniture, IT, security, and more.
  2. Increased remote and hybrid work means that more and more desks and offices are sitting empty; and companies don’t want to pay for it. At flexible offices, you only pay for the space you use.
  3. The social lounges, cafes, video call rooms, and wellbeing spaces that employees are demanding, are too expensive for one single company to build and pay rent for. At Dreamplex, you share these spaces with a small group of other companies for free or at hourly rates.

How expensive are coworking spaces?

For many companies, a coworking space can save them a lot of money. Delivering an employee and workplace experience at the level of professional operators – who make this their core business, is hard to replicate for companies under 200-300 employees. The amount of people it takes to do this, as well as the resources across IT, facilities management, and more, would be too costly for most companies.

Additionally, having access to meeting rooms and event spaces, but not having to rent them 24/7, like in a traditional lease, save companies a lot as well. Even things like printing systems, a reception, digital access control, and more, would all require upfront and ongoing investments that companies wouldn’t like to make for themselves. In the flexible office model, all these costs get shared by a group of companies.

No wonder that research from DeskWanted shows that coworking spaces can be up to 50% cheaper than workspace in a traditional office. The actual savings will differ based on two things: the size of the company, and the level of employee and workplace experience the company aims to provide.

About Dreamplex

Dreamplex creates “A Better Day at Work” that perfectly meets the needs of fast-growing companies who understand that their young employees expect more from their workplace.

Well-designed private, branded offices, 5-star hospitality-level care and an engaging program of social activities, training & development, and wellbeing initiatives help those companies attract, engage, and retain Millennial and Gen Z talent in Vietnam.

Dreamplex has 5 locations across Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and looks to expand further in 2022 to create a better workplace for even more people-centric companies and their employees. It services companies including Tiki, FinOS (Allianz), AIA, as well as many fast-growing startups.


To learn more about how Dreamplex can help innovative companies of any size offer their teams a Workplace Experience of the future, please contact Daan van Rossum, Chief Executive Officer: daan@dreamplex.co or +84 901489369.

Daan van Rossum


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