MANILA -- Sometimes, not even the familiar space in your own home or your favorite cafe can be conducive to productivity. Often, an ideal work space is a constant problem for most professionals and students alike.
This is perhaps the reason why collaborative working spaces have been opening up, particularly in the metro's central business districts like Makati and Bonifacio Global City.
Work Folk, strategically located at the M1 Tower in Makati's Salcedo Village, is among the new players in this scene. The place has all the amenities one looks for in an office – a professional set up, high-speed business grade internet and basically a one-stop-shop for clients to work, hold meetings and events.
Opened in August 2018, Work Folk is managed by Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII), a local hospitality and property management companies with a total of 20 properties in its portfolio.
It is not surprising that after two decades, HII got into the business of offering collaborative working spaces, bringing its expertise in customer service and care to this fast-rising category.
“Given the track record and background of Hospitality Innovators, Inc. in the hotel and serviced residence industry, it felt like a very organic and natural next step to get into co-working and serviced offices,” said Shirley Marie Santos, community head of Work Folk.
“HII wanted to offer the same standard and level of hospitality that we provide in our hotels and translate that to the office setting,” she added.
HII manages The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, KL Serviced Residences and Y2 Residence Hotel in Makati, Azumi Boutique Hotel and Parque España Residence Hotel in Alabang and Hue Hotels and Resorts in Puerto Princesa and Boracay, among others.
As an additional come-on, clients of Work Folk get to enjoy special rates at HII hotels, Santos noted.
IDEAL FOR START-UPS
Creating a dynamic working environment for start-ups, freelancers and remote corporate office workers, Work Folk boasts of modern industrial interiors and provides all the necessary tools to accomplish one’s tasks and work at full productivity.
From comfortable desks and private office spaces to meeting rooms, locker rentals, fast wi-fi and unlimited pours of water, coffee and tea, it offers modern conveniences and services that takes away the worries of running an actual office.
According to Santos, the office is ideal for start-ups. At present, Work Folk has an open space, office space and co-working space. The last area is best shared by young professionals and even working students.
Clients who are simply walking in can avail of the Open Desk, which offers affordable membership package fees for as little as three hours to as long as weekly or monthly basis.
The Dedicated Desk, on the other hand, provides you your own work station in a shared office space, with monthly rates that come with free locker rentals and three hours of meeting room use per month included in the package.
Start-up companies or those looking to expand their business can also benefit from Work Folk. For groups or teams requiring four seats to as many as eight or more, there is Work Folk’s Private Offices, a furnished room with desks, chairs and mobile pedestals, which can even come with a view.
Private Office members can access their work space 24/7 through a door access code, as well as enjoy 10 hours of meeting room use free of charge each month. All these without the worry of costly utility bills and association dues.
OFFICE OF THE FUTURE
“This is the future of offices,” Santos beamed. “The need for this kind of business is here. The demand for flexibility, instead of a conventional space, is very much here.”
Service space is apparently the “in” thing. There are workers, especially millennials, who need only three hours of co-working space. Work Folk is even sub-leasing new offices. To date, they have 15 seats left and three offices to fill up, according to Santos.
She believes that flexible co-working spaces will grow rapidly in the next few years. “Co-working spaces are already accelerating globally, as we speak. There is an ongoing market demand for collaborative co-working spaces here in the Philippines and abroad.”
“When you secure a work space, you can move in on the same day,” Santos continued. “No need to construct and furnish your space, meaning, no downtime or disruption in the company operation.
“You enjoy all the membership privileges that we have to offer. We aim to make your stay with us as convenient as possible with comfortable workstations, complete pantry and reception services among others.”
A Work Folk client does not only occupy office space in the building once a leasing contract has been made. He also gets the liberty to use the prime office address for his business card, mail and delivery.
Santos insists expanding your space has never been easier. At Work Folk, you move into an office or combine adjacent office spaces by simply upgrading your membership.
“This flexibility gives clients the opportunity to plan for growth with less capex (capital expenditure),” Santos explained. “You can also collaborate with people within the Work Folk community and create dynamic partnerships.”
Work Folk accommodates as many types of clients as possible. To date, the company has an extensive mix of industries that make it a colorful and vibrant community of workers -- from telecommuters, artists and professionals to start-ups, freelancers and even students.
“Presently, we also have developers and IT/business professionals, both local and international companies, customer service departments, a design, maritime and shipping company, to name a few. We may have to turn down a specific kind of industry due to building limitations,” Santos said.
Most of the clients of Work Folk are multinational companies, although Santos noted that local start-up companies are now seeing the advantages of getting a flexible work space solution.
“Most local companies are strategically located already,” Santos reasoned out. “Flexible work space would be useful to local companies in need of a temporary space or those that are project-based.”
Santos cannot single out any particular hour as the peak in Work Folk, as “every day is a busy day” in the office.
Work Folk also provides an event venue which can be used for talks, workshops and seminars that can enhance skills and further careers. The Work Folk team will be on hand to assist from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
People who visit Work Folk note the “very relaxing and unique aesthetics” of the co-working area and events space and the feedback has been very encouraging.
“When you come in, you will immediately have that feeling of clarity and focus, and the soothing sound will make someone feel like they are in a hotel lounge where they can easily put their minds to work,” Santos said.
“One more thing that we really take pride on is the way we do customer service, the professionalism of the staff and the willingness to help and assist all our clients – an HII trademark.”
Santos is optimistic that a business like Work Folk will thrive in the country in the years to come. In fact, they are extremely happy that in only seven months of operations, the company has exceeded their expectations.
“Co-working spaces are molding a new type of work environment in which we do not see a slow-down anytime soon,” Santos maintained. “Like any other businesses, we experienced challenges when we opened, but most of those challenges serve as learnings now.
“As long as we can provide workspace solutions, a space that is innovative, fun, collaborative and professional, and provide a space that can empower and allow people to work in their full capacity, I’m pretty positive that Work Folk will continue to do good.”