Entrepreneurs are turning Singapore into hotbed of startups as more and more new companies form to meet a rising demand for talent and ideas and creating the Next Big Thing.
But renting an entire office requires capital that young founders just don’t have. That’s why coworking spaces have mushroomed all over Singapore.
At the same time, the number of freelancers and remote workers in Singapore has also been rising. And it seems that Starbucks can no longer contain all of them and their Macbooks either.
Coworking spaces function as workspaces for both startups and freelancers who just need a place where they can plug in their laptops, connect to Wifi and mingle with a community.
But how do you pick the right coworking space for you, and how much should it cost? Here’s a guide to 15 popular coworking spaces, what they offer, and how much they cost.
NO TIME TO READ? HERE'S HOW MUCH COWORKING SPACES IN SINGAPORE COST
Coworking spaces generally charge per month. For a hot desk, expect to pay around $300 to $500 a month for unlimited access. If you want a dedicated desk just for yourself, it’s usually about $600 and up a month.
Here’s a price comparison table of the 13 coworking spaces we reviewed.
These monthly prices are for a reasonable amount of access for full-time work (i.e. unlimited access or at least 120 hours a month). You can usually pay less if you just want to come in for a couple of hours a day or like 2 days a week.
|Coworking space||Nearest MRT||Price (hot desk)||Price (dedicated desk)|
|The Workshop||Ang Mo Kio||$220||$330|
|Cospace Park||Kent Ridge||$250||$400 (min. 4 pax)|
|The Working Capitol||Outram Park||$255 upwards||$700 upwards|
|JustCo||Tanjong Pagar / City Hall||$398||$750 upwards|
|Found 8||Clarke Quay||$490||$690 upwards|
|The Hive NBR||Clarke Quay||$398||$450|
|WeWork||Raffles Place / Orchard / Esplanade / Kent Ridge||$500 $450 to $620||$630 to $825|
|The Work Project Capital Tower||Raffles Place||$395||$800 upwards|
|The Bridge||Kent Ridge||$550||$688|
|The Great Room||Raffles Place / Promenade / Orchard||$750 (office)||$2,500 upwards (office)|
Cheapest coworking space: Generally the farther away you are from the CBD, the cheaper. The cheapest ones we found are The Workshop in Ang Mo Kio and Cospace Park in Kent Ridge, where you can get a hot desk for $250 and under.
Cheapest in CBD area: You can expect to pay at least $400 a month for a hot desk in a central location. The Working Capitol in Outram Park and JustCo offer slightly cheaper rates, but they’re more of the hipster/social kind of workspaces which may not be suitable for everyone.
Coworking spaces for creatives: If your work requires a bit of studio space, consider The Workshop and Workhouse which are a bit more skewed towards creative industries.
Best for business meetings: If your work requires you to meet more traditional clients, steer clear of the more hipster coworking spaces which have a college dorm vibe. The Bridge and The Great Room are more expensive but will score points for being a lot more business-y.
Family-friendly: Need to watch over your kid while you work? Trehaus is the most kid-friendly of the lot and even has a childcare centre on-site.
Location: 5008 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, Techplace II, #04-09/16
The Workshop is probably the cheapest coworking space in Singapore – a hot desk with unlimited access goes for just $220 a month, less than half of what many others are charging! However, the location in AMK might be a dealbreaker, especially if you need to meet clients/investors in the central area.
This space is particularly suited to freelancers and creatives. Small companies can rent the workpod, which is a workshop-type space that can house a team of up to 18, or can function as a studio. They also rent out storage units separately.
Monthly rates: $220 (hot desk) / $330 (dedicated desk) / $650 (workpod)
Location: Sparkle @ Singapore Science Park 2, 43 Science Park Road #01-11
Cospace Park is also a very affordable coworking space option with hot desks at $250 a month. The tradeoff, of course, is its location in the west. However, this may not be a bad thing if you want to be near NUS, NUH and the healthcare/medical hub in One-North area.
Membership includes 24/7 access, which is nice for night owls, as well as a suite of lifestyle/business perks like masterclasses, talks, networking events, health/wellness classes and Grab coupons.
Monthly rates: $250 (hot desk) / $1,600 to $2,400 (private office for 4 to 6 pax)
THE WORKING CAPITOL
Location: 1 Keong Saik Road
If you ever go to Keong Saik Road, you won’t miss The Working Capitol – it’s housed in a gorgeous historical building that feels totally different from a corporate office. Surprisingly, it’s one of the most affordable coworking spaces too.
It’s also one of the nicest ones in terms of lifestyle facilities. There’s an in-house cafe and a rooftop member’s bar, a magazine library, lots of startup/networking events, and even showers. In fact, you might have trouble actually getting down to work…
Monthly rates: from $255 (hot desk) / from $729 (dedicated desk) / from $900 (private office)
Locations: MacDonald House Marina One East Tower Marina One West Tower Marina Square Raffles Quay Robinson Road UIC Building
Given its very central locations, JustCo is actually really affordable – in fact it’s probably the cheapest coworking space in the CBD.
Despite being in the midst of all the suits, it’s a really nice place done up like a hipster cafe (there’s even an in-house barista to make coffee for you). There are also recreation facilities like an arcade and foosball room and a pingpong table.
Monthly rates: $398 (hot desk) / from $750 (dedicated desk) / from $800 (private office)
Location: 59 New Bridge Road
The Hive is another buzzy coworking space slightly away from the usual CBD area – it’s in one of the conserved shophouse units at Clarke Quay.
The Hive sounds like any other coworking space, except that they have special rates for entrepreneurs below age 23, start-ups and early stage companies. Also, if you want to try it out you can get a day pass for $30 or a 10-day hot desk pass for $250.
Monthly rates: Clarke Quay: $398 (hot desk) / $450 (dedicated desk) / $600 (private office)
Location: 20 Pasir Panjang Road #03-22/24 Mapletree Business City (East Wing)
For those who live in the west/south, the location of Level3 is pretty great – right in Mapletree Business City. Apart from a nice space to work in, Level3 offers pretty useful services like access to Unilever Foundry’s events and mentorship programmes, and pro-bono consulting for legal, financial and business strategy advisory.
Monthly rates: $400 (hot desk) / $650 (dedicated desk) / $3,000 to $4,5000 (team suite for 4 to 6 pax)
FOUND8 (MERGER BETWEEN FOUND AND COLLISION 8)
Found8 location: 1 North Bridge Road #08-08 High Street Centre
Perhaps Collision 8 figured out that its name isn’t for the pantang, so they merged with Found, another co-working operator. Now, they’re called Found8.
It still maintains some of Collision 8’s focus on network over its lifestyle amenities.
Members get access to global affiliates, regular networking events, skills-building workshops, tie-ups with mentors, and personalised introductions and business matchmaking. You can try it out with a $60 day pass. Or, go for the $390 per month Hotdesk Lite package to enjoy 10 days a month in the co-working space.
Monthly rates: from $490 (hot desk) / from $690 (dedicated desk) / from $1,500 (private office)
Locations: 60 Anson Road 22 Cross Street 8 Cross Street 8 Claymore Hill #03-01 2 Science Park Drive #02-06 71 Robinson Road 15 Beach Road
Probably the biggest coworking chain in Singapore, WeWork is actually a global chain that does the same thing in 72 cities worldwide.
Apart from the basics like a reception, fast internet, printing/scanning facilities, meeting rooms and a lounge/pantry, they also have nice perks. Think nap pods, private phone booths, bike storage and micro-roasted coffee. For those who keep odd hours, WeWork offers 24/7 access.
Monthly rates: $450 to $620 (hot desk) / $630 to $825 (dedicated desk) / $1,100 to $2,700 (private office)
Location: 442 Orchard Road #03-01
Now that your kid is a little older, you might feel the itch to run a startup or nonprofit with your free time. However, most of the coworking spaces here would not appreciate you treating the space like a daycare.
Trehaus in Orchard, however, is a sort of hybrid between coworking space and childcare centre. There’s a dedicated kid zone complete with childcare facilitators and a “kids atelier”, plus enrichment programmes (pay separately). You can get peace and quiet at the adult-only zone.
Monthly rates: $500 (hot desk) / $800 (dedicated desk) / from $3,200 (private office)
Locations: 100 Cecil St #10-01/02 The Globe 168 Robinson Road #12-01 Capital Tower
With 2 CBD locations, Collective Works is rather pricey. It is perhaps more suitable for people who don’t need a desk the entire day – like if you’re doing this as a side gig, for example, or are going to be out and about meeting clients most of the time.
They have hot desk packages for 40-hour work months ($240) and 80-hours ($440) in addition to the full-time access passes.
Monthly rates: $540 (hot desk, 120 hours) / from $700 (dedicated desk) / from $1,600 (private office)
Location: 2 Science Park Drive
Located near Kent Ridge MRT station, The Bridge is a good location for those who want to be close to the healthcare and biomedical hub in the West (e.g. if you run a healthcare startup).
The office has a rather corporate feel compared to the more hipster-leaning spaces on this list, but what’s good about it is that it has LOADS of meeting rooms/spaces. If your business involves a lot of meetings with investors/partners, and making a professional impression is a big deal, then perhaps this space is worth paying for.
You get 24/7 access and complimentary credits for booking meeting rooms. Membership is cheaper than the stated rates below if you commit to a 6- or 12-month period, but you have to pay upfront, much like a gym membership.
Monthly rates: $550 (hot desk) / $688 (dedicated desk)
THE GREAT ROOM
Locations: 3 Temasek Ave Level 17 and 18, Centennial Tower 1 George St Level 10 391B Orchard Rd, Level 22, Ngee Ann City Tower
Imagine if The Great Gatsby had a coworking space… That’s what The Great Room looks like. It’s super swanky, with polished parquet floors, marble tabletops and chocolate leather sofas, a far cry from the more casual tech-focused coworking spaces.
It’s not just good looks too. There are nicely decked-out meeting spaces and lounges, video conferencing and projector facilities, weekly social networking, onsite “member relations officers”, plus free flow of Papa Palheta coffee and free breakfast every Monday.
They don’t do hotdesks here – instead, you get an entire office, which gives you more privacy. But the catch is, this is a “hot office” which means you need to clear out your belongings at the end of the day.
Monthly rates: from $750 (hot office) / from $2,500 (dedicated office)
WHAT IS A COWORKING SPACE AND WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO RENT SPACE THERE?
A coworking space is essentially a shared workspace. But the main difference between a coworking space and your typical office is that the people working there are not employed by the same company.
Instead, they are working independently of each other. Some are freelancers, others are working remotely for their employers with the help of an Internet connection, while others might be working on launching a start-up.
"Now, isn’t the whole draw of freelancing and remote work the ability to work at home in your pyjamas?", some of you might ask.
Well, as anybody who’s actually tried working from home long-term will know, every day can be an exercise in unproductivity. It can also get depressing due to the social isolation and lack of coworkers to interact with. And in the longterm, working from home can also mean fewer opportunities to network.
Coworking spaces solve the above problems by doing the following.
Peer pressure – They enable you to work in the same space as others, which can boost concentration and motivation. You’re less likely to slack off when you’re surrounded by other people hard at work.
Conducive environment – They offer a conducive environment in which to get stuff done. That means comfortable desks, fast wifi, and all the tea, coffee and snacks you need to work through the night. You get to use office essentials such as printers, phones, meeting rooms, wifi and electrical plugs. Yes, and even fax machines too.
Network/community – They give you the chance to network with a community of other freelancers, remote workers and start-up founders. Some co-working spaces organise social and networking events, movie nights, workshops and drinks sessions you can fill up your calendar with.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER JOINING A CO-WORKING SPACE?
Obviously, if you’re a salaried employee whose face your boss wants to see for at least 10 hours a day, you have little need for a coworking space.
But if you belong to one of the following groups of people, a coworking space might be for you:
Freelancers – If you are a self-employed person who is able to do most of your work remotely, you might benefit from having a coworking space to go to, rather than doing everything from home or in public spaces.
Remote workers – You might be a salaried employee, but if your boss lets you work remotely most of the time and you do not need to physically show up at the office, you might want to consider working in a coworking space. If your employer is based in another country, you might even be able to get them to pay or at least subsidise your co-working fees.
Start-up founders – Working to get a new project off the ground and want to keep costs low at the start? Renting a coworking space is cheaper than renting office space if you’re working solo or with just a few others.
Small companies who don’t want a permanent space – If you are a small set-up and don’t want to take on the cost or commitment of renting office space, co-working spaces can be an alternative. They can be particularly cost-effective for small teams who do not need to meet in person every day and therefore don’t need a permanent space.
Business travellers and digital nomads: If you need to work while you’re on the road, it can make sense to use a co-working space rather than try to get work done at your accommodation. Many co-working spaces offer day- or week-long passes.
WHAT OTHER FACTORS SHOULD YOU LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING A COWORKING SPACE?
So, you might be seduced by a particular coworking space’s snazzy interior and promise of craft beer Wednesdays. But there are a few factors you should definitely consider before signing up.
Opening hours – Some coworking spaces are open 24/7, while others have defined opening hours. If you do your best work at 4am, you’re better off picking a coworking space with round-the-clock access.
Subscription types – Some co-working spaces offer various subscription tiers which will enable less frequent users to save money. For instance, hotdesking subscriptions might come with the option of unlimited access, or only a stipulated number of visits per month. It might also cost more to be able to use all the locations in the co-working space’s network, as opposed to just one.
Locations – Just like gyms, some coworking spaces are chains with multiple locations, while others are boutique spaces with only one. Some subscriptions will give you access to all locations, which can be useful if you frequently commute to different areas.
We suggest you first filter out coworking spaces based on your budget and your location requirements (the whole point of working remotely is to avoid long commutes!). Then check what amenities the remaining spaces offer, taking care to ensure your non-negotiables are included.
Once that is down, take the time to visit each shortlisted coworking space’s website and, if it looks like the kind of place you can see yourself hanging out at, contact them for a tour or perhaps a free day pass.
The vibe and crowd will play a big part in your decision—after all, one key reason people are willing to fork out the cash to join co-working spaces is the community and networking opportunities.
So never underestimate the importance of making a personal visit before signing up.
This article was first published in MoneySmart .