The growing number of technologically integrated workspaces that are open for the public, also known as coworking spaces, have prompted big corporations in Indonesia to redefine their work environments as tech-savvy millennials are demanding more flexibility in the office world.
Eddie Ang, executive director of Central Asia-Pacific businesses at Lenovo, said that open workspaces were catering to millennial employees who preferred the spatial flexibility of sitting beside colleagues to discuss and solve problems rather than sitting alone in cubicles.
“The majority of large corporations are renovating their offices to become open spaces,” Eddie said during a recent press conference in Jakarta.
Eddie said that even Lenovo’s office in Jakarta had “knocked down walls, shrunk meeting rooms and purchased new furniture” earlier this year.
Google Indonesia communications manager Jason Tedjasukmana told The Jakarta Post on Friday that his company, a benchmark for next-generation workspaces, agreed on the importance of an open workspace to foster collaboration among millennial employees.
“Generally, Google’s idea is to create a workspace where you want to go even if you don’t have to,” he said, adding that Google fostered a paperless work environment wherein documents were transferred device-to-device through a network.
Catering to Indonesia’s 90 million millennials is important for any company based in the country as young adults are expected to comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, according to experts.
In the past two years, the growth of coworking spaces in Indonesia has been significant with a 400 percent surge, according to the Indonesia Coworking Space Association. In 2016, the association said the number of coworking spaces was only 45, but it reached 170 by January 2018.
The shifting millennial demand has also affected the banking industry, which is generally held as a bastion of rigid organization.
Maybank Indonesia president director Taswin Zakaria told the Post on Friday that his employees, who are more than 50 percent millennial, had pushed management to renovate several offices into being “more fun” and “high-tech” environments.
Google, Maybank and Lenovo’s decision to invest in open office spaces reflects a recent study by the United States-based market research firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), which found that 36 percent of large companies in Indonesia have looked into or have shifted some employees to open coworking spaces instead of renovating offices.
IDC data shows that Indonesia’s percentage is the highest in the Asia-Pacific compared to the 17 percent in Singapore, 30 percent in Hong Kong and 31 percent in South Korea.
The data also shows that 55 percent of large companies in Indonesia recognize the need to bring change to the workspace because of the increasingly large millennial workforce.
“Indonesia is at the top in Southeast Asia in terms of a willingness to change into an innovative work culture,” said IDC Southeast Asia managing director Sudev Bangah recently.
However, he added that work flexibility entailed more than providing open spaces but also providing employees a chance to work remotely and at hours of their convenience.
He acknowledged that top-level management generally preferred the predictability of fixed schedules and workplaces, but that companies would, inevitably, have to cater to the demands of their workforce. (nor)
This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post’s print edition on Nov. 24, 2018, with the title “Tech-savvy millennials redefining workspaces”.