It’s so funny how things happen. Sometime last week, I was filming a new campaign for PayPal along Clarke Quay when I ran into an old friend from school. She invited me to come up and have a look at her office – and the next thing I knew, I fell in love and was moving in.
It was all so random and spontaneous that a part of me still cant believe that it’s happened. But it has, and it’s been one of the best things to happen to me this year! To be fair, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time – but it’s always fallen more under the realm of ~ daydreams ~ rather than being an actual concrete plan.
So – what’s actually happening is that I’m renting a coworking space in The Hive. I had my first brush with coworking spaces when I hit New York last year end, mainly because most of my NYC based friends are all entrepreneur-types, working at or founding startups like bunnies. Office spaces are expensive, and so coworking spaces thrive in places like New York City. I remember visiting one in NYC and thinking that I’d jump on it if it ever came to Singapore. And now look where we are.
What’s a Co-Working space?
It’s like Uber for working spaces. You basically rent a hotdesk, a fixed desk, or a private office within a coworking building by the month. A hotdesk is when you come in and sit wherever you want and get work done, a fixed desk (which is what I have) is when you rent a designated space, and a private office is exactly what it sounds like – an private office room within the building!
What does it include?
Depending on your plan, you get a fixed or movable workspace, and all the office benefits. So for The Hive (which is the place I’m renting from), we have unlimited tea and coffee (from Sarnies hurray!!), a rooftop garden where you can do work outdoors if you want and where they sometimes hold yoga classes and TED talks, and a reception desk. Some plans give you meeting room access for if you need to schedule meetings, and some give you printer access as well.
The Hive is basically a 24 hour workspace, so if need be I can work through the night. Though I hope I never have to! They’re also installing lockers at the end of the month, so people who are on the hotdesking scheme can store their stuff there overnight.
I’ve been thinking about renting for a long time for several reasons.
1. As most of you know, a lot of my work is writing based. Besides what I do online, I’m also working on my Masters thesis, and doing a lot of writing. Basically if I’m not on shoot, I’m somewhere on my computer working, so needed a place to sit and work is a huge part of my life.
2. At home, besides being consistently distracted by my cat and bed, I actually share a room with my two sisters and a study with my two sisters and occasionally my dad. Which means that if I want to get work done at home, I either have to wait till the study is free, or work on the dining table and clear it away everytime someone wants to have a meal. It means I have zero workspace set up, and I’m always having to shuffle my stuff around or come home to find that my documents have been moved away and sometimes lost by someone else.
3. I think for freelancers like myself, structure is very helpful. I’ve always found myself to be more productive when I schedule my work day around fixed structures: when I was in school, I would make sure I get at least two hours of writing or work done after the day’s classes end before getting dinner. When I was working in advertising, I had to start the day by going for a run before heading to the office. And when I was working from home, I scheduled either driving or boxing lessons in the early morning so that it signalled to my brain that it was the start of the work day. Now that I’m renting a space, I wake up at 630am, take a bus to work, and then stay there till the end of the work day unless I have meetings or shoots. Just the act of getting up in the morning, getting dressed, and going to work is incredibly helpful when it comes to giving your life some discipline, especially if you dont normally have a fixed timetable to work around!
Aaaand… do I love it?
The answer is yes. Yes I do.
There are so many great things about having your own space. Firstly – actually paying an amount to rent a place gives you a sense of ownership and makes you want to get up and go to work in the morning. Well, at least thats what its like for me.
Secondly – this is the perfect millennial working environment. Everyone here is buzzing with drive. Everyone who’s rented a space in The Hive is working on some start up, or some creative field, or are freelancers. Lara – the friend I mentioned at the start of the post – is a graphic designer herself. They’re all hungry to succeed, and the overall effect is that the working space becomes very conducive and intense.
Thirdly – you get to meet the most interesting people! And by virtue of that, you get new work opportunities. We have a rooftop garden here where they hold events, and every Thursday you get free beer. Haha. And basically youre encouraged to hang out and chat with other people within the Hive community, which is an interesting way to meet new friends, and potential working partners.
Fourthly – the location is great. I work opposite Clarke Quay Central, which means that I’m opposite my darling Starbucks and can pop over for quick meetings, coffee runs, or even just to grab my breakfast on the way to work. The space is in the centre of nearly everything – it’s got a yoga studio down the street, so you can go before/after/during work, you can eat either in Central or at one of the many coffeeshops along the road, and you can go get drinks by Riverside after work. I mean…
Fifth – it’s flexible and relatively affordable. Given my schedule, if I travel abroad for over a week, I can freeze my membership so I dont keep paying, and for people who run on even more fluid schedules than I do, you can even rent a hotdesk by the day. The cheapest regular schemes start from $120 a month, which is honestly great for freelancers who are always on the move. And it’s way cheaper than if you rent a whole office space to yourself, which you may not need. It even works out cheaper per month than if you keep going to different cafes around Singapore to try and get work done, because of how expensive cafe food can get, and also how some cafes start to get pissy if you stay there with your laptop and one drink all day. I also did my research and it’s currently one of, if not the cheapest, coworking spaces in Singapore.
Lastly.. and it sounds like quite a silly reason, but it’s a big deal to me – ever since I’ve had my own desk, I’ve been so hydrated. I often find that I forget to drink water when I’m on the move for work, or that I’m embarrassed to keep asking a cafe for water, but now that I have a permanent desk I bought a 1.5l water jug from IKEA ($12.90!) and I make sure I finish at least two jugs a day. Thats 3,000ml of water a day, you guys. It’s right next to me as I work, so I always just reach for it and have a drink of water without even thinking about it. And now I am VERY HYDRATED. It’s great.
I’ve only been in the new space for a week or so, and already I’m in love. Productivity is up, my life is once again structured, and I find myself actually saving money when renting an office space. It’s fantastic. I would definitely recommend it for any freelancer, or really, any working millennial who’s looking for an inspired space to call her/his own. In any case, The Hive does Try out Tuesdays, where people can come in and try their hand at hotdesking all day for free, so you can see if it’s for you before committing.
Meanwhile, I’ll just be here – settling into my new workspace..
59 New Bridge Road