Coworking might still be a new concept in Cambodia but it’s about a decade old now. It started in the U.S. and has since spread throughout the world. The concept of coworking has been tested to its limits, namely WeWork, one of the biggest or the biggest coworking communities around the world.
The foundation of most coworking projects is real estate, instead of an empty space that doesn’t generate income, in this case, Factory Phnom Penh has successfully transformed a former textile factory into bustling and creative spaces that are Workspace 1 & Workspace 2. A coworking space, in general, is a shared office space with a community as the backbone. A coworking space without a community is nothing more than a space where you cram different people from different companies into one office building, so to say, if a community exists, people would start conversations and that could turn into collaboration. These communities were intentionally formed, not accidentally; and when this kind of opportunity presents itself, coworking spaces will typically host community events such as networking nights, workshops, breakfast clubs, pop-up markets… etc.
There are also many kinds of coworking space, as more and more pop up, coworking spaces are forced to be more creative and innovative when it comes to their motive, vision, interior design, etc. Most are tech-based, which makes sense in developing countries like the U.S., China, Europe, and so on. Tech companies are generally filled with young people who value socialization and wouldn’t mind a shared space with like-minded people. In most cases, a coworking space would have a shared kitchen with a minimal requirement of a microwave and a fridge. Free coffee is a possible availability and some premium coworking space even provides complimentary snacks and fruits for their members. These amenities make sure that people who work in a coworking space won’t have to worry much about their well-being when they’re there. That’s why coworking spaces like Workspace 1 & Workspace 2 have showers and lockers for people who are workaholics that spend a lot of time working or just the convenience of being able to shower after a bicycle ride to work before you begin your day is already a bonus. You wouldn’t receive this kind of treatment if you were to work in a normal office building, it takes effort to find these little pocket of time for people to socialize and create a community where you don’t have to be coworkers to talk to each other; you can literally talk to any individuals from any businesses or startups in the coworking space. That’s why it’s incredibly famous among startups and digital nomads, it’s affordable, diverse in many different aspects, and a good enough place to start even if you’re only paying for a desk.
Let's compare the difference between a conventional office vs a coworking space. A normal office building would most likely have a white background, cubicles upon cubicles that look the same from the outside, offices for executives with tinted glasses, a meeting room, some plants to force a natural vibe, and most likely a printer in one of the corners of the room. What’s unique about a coworking space is that it can change its appearance all the time, one with a wide-open space could look different if the seating arrangements were different. Coworking spaces nowadays focus heavily on interior design that can create an atmosphere that is scientifically proven to brighten people’s moods. And after all, research always states the obvious, working in a coworking space tremendously increases your productivity, compared to working in a traditional cubicle environment.
A coworking space is a shared office space with all the amenities you need, a community with shared values as the backbone, and definitely a working lifestyle that many around the world have adapted to or will have to sooner than later.