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This Start-up is Catering to Changing Notions of Work in Indonesia

GoWork’s founders want to take what they’ve seen globally and infuse it with local preferences

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 22 May 2017

work in indonesia

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

GoWork wants to cater to the Indonesian tech ecosystem in a way that is most conducive to how people work.

“With over 2,200 Indonesian start-ups today, and more than 1,000 coming, there is a real departure from traditional notions of office space. Instead, we see the emergence of a digital economy whose needs are as varied as millennials today,” says Peony Tang, one of the five co-founders of GoWork.

“We decided to come together and combine all that we love Renee (Real Estate) + Peony (Communities & People) + Donny (Technology) + Richard (Finance) + Xavier (Marketing) to create magic in the co-working space,” she says, noting that they were all united in wanting to take the best of what they’ve seen globally, infuse it with local preferences, and offer it at an affordable price.

Says Tang, “While some prefer to work in a coffee shop, others may prefer to work on-the-go using just their mobile phones. Whatever the case may be, there is one thing in common: the new workspace is a dynamic force, which combines community with elements of work, life, and play. It often blurs the line between office and hospitality!”

GoWork caters to start-ups, freelancers, creative artists, remote workers, as well as foreign companies looking to expand their presence in Indonesia.

True to her word, GoWork offers a lot on the “office” side of things, including corporate services such as accounting, tax services, and even legal consultation. The goal of these value-added services is to lay the groundwork that helps businesses grow, Tang says.

GoWork is also bringing these services online. Members can now book meeting rooms in real-time via the GoNetWork, an online community for all their co-working members.

“GoNetWork is one of many ways we’ve integrated space and technology to strengthen the bonds of community, which is inherently what co-working is all about. As a place for entrepreneurs, visionaries, and artists, GoWork is forging connections between different individuals to collaborate and create,” she says.

On the more “hospitality” side of co-working, GoWork has all the basics, including ergonomic chairs, fast Wi-Fi, free coffee and tea, and weekly community and networking events—something that start-ups especially need.

For instance, at a recent event celebrating women in technology in line with the national holiday Hari Kartini, Tang says many prominent women spoke, including Retno Marsudi (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Kusumaningtuti SS (Komisioner Otoritas Jasa Keuangan), Mari Pangestu (Minister of Trade of Indonesia from October 2004 to October 2011, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, from October 2011 to 20 October 2014).

According to Tang, one of the foreign companies who had just recently set up at GoWork was able to network with the panelists and spread word about the work they’re doing in Indonesia.

Growing the co-working space

But perhaps what best distinguishes GoWork from other co-working spaces is the space itself.

“GoWork is conceived by the award-winning Indonesian designer, Revano Satria, who’s made full use of the floor-to-ceiling windows to capture natural light and augment the already high 5-meter ceiling. The reception and lounge of GoWork is immaculately floored with herringbone-patterned wood and decorated with brass ornaments on white marbled table tops,” Tang says, adding that the space even has a mural showcasing the evolution of work.

As beautiful as GoWork is, some start-ups are still unable to commit to a long-term arrangement, as they face liquidity issues. As a solution, GoWork tries to offer competitive day rates for workspaces, starting at Rp 140,000 or about $10 per day.

The company is looking to expand to a second and third location, effectively quadrupling their space from its current 500 meters. Tang says the hardest part of expansion is finding, attracting, and recruiting talent.

“While we have ambitious plans for expansion, we are limited by the amount of human resources at our disposal. We run a small and lean team, but our entire team is highly passionate, motivated, and productive. Finding similar people that can fit in our culture is always a lengthy and difficult process!” she says.

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