Coworking spaces have seen a huge increase over the past couple of years. According to global coworking space aggregatorCoworker.com, there are a total of 169 spaces from Malaysia registered on the platform.
To differentiate themselves from such a saturated market, coworking spaces have come up with innovative ideas such as the case of Colony where they have built a premium space with premium services.
However, the Malaysia-basedCommon Ground who have 12 outlets in Malaysia and 2 in the Philippines has just recently launched a coworking space that goes in a bit of a different direction—a pet-friendly space.
A Paw-some Space
Speaking to Yvonne Lee, the Country Head of Common Ground Malaysia, she mentioned that they had the opportunity to launch the very first pet-friendly coworking space in Malaysia when their landlord Jaya One decided to make their latest building, The Square, a pet-friendly place.
“We just opened on the 1st of February 2019 and we already have about 40 members who occasionally bring their pets to work,” added Yvonne, who said there are also visitors who come by just to have a cup of coffee and hang out with the pets as they don’t have one themselves.
The 22,000 square feet Jaya One venue still boasts all of the Common Ground signature branding, design, and setup that spans across all their venues. However, this venue is also designed to have 2 floors, with the ground floor being pet-friendly and the first floor being pet-free, so it’s still a viable working space for those who don’t like pets.
Pet-friendly features include dog toilets and a “puppy parking” built indoors where owners can keep their dogs safely whenever they’re busy. However, currently only small dogs below 10 kg in weight are allowed, with plans to expand the types of pets in the future.
“Furthermore, we will be curating partnerships with local pet-inclined vendors and organisations to secure the best benefits for our members and their furry friends, so they can enjoy perks beyond our Common Ground walls too,” added Yvonne.
Cleanliness & Safety Fur-st
As the first thing that comes to mind is the cleanliness and safety of the space, Yvonne mentioned that there was no need to worry as the team is comprised of animal-loving individuals who have pets of their own and have been briefed on how to deal with pets.
“Our cleaning service still runs daily, and members will also be 100% responsible for their pet’s well-being, behaviour, and biological needs including: scooping, bagging, cleaning, and sanitising as needed,” she explained.
Furthermore, there are rules that pet owners must adhere to maintain fairness, safety and harmony in the space.
Here are a few rules out of the many:
Pet owners must register their pets with the Community Team prior to bringing them into the work space. And all pets must be registered with DBKL, with a copy of the official certificate. Micro-chipping is not necessary, but preferred.Pets must be on a leash and under their owner’s supervision at all times.Pet owners must maintain a homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policy that does NOT exclude dog bites or have specific breed exclusions.Pets must be at least 4 months old.Pet owners must clean up after their dog’s waste outside. Waste should be disposed of properly in a trash receptacle outside.
If a pet misbehaves 3 times or becomes overly aggressive, the owner may be prohibited frombringing the pet to Common Ground PJ again. They will also be responsible for any expenses and cleaning resulting from their pet’s behaviour.
There are more rules not listed here, and if you would like to find out more you can contact the Common Ground team on their social media.
“The foundation to a peaceful and clean pet friendly coworking space can be achieved by educating our members,” said Yvonne. “If every member who bring pets is responsible for their own pet, we will not face that much of a problem.”
“Being able to work in a space where your pets can keep you company is massively helpful and research has long shown that pets help with reducing people’s stress and anxiety levels,” explained Yvonne.
She referred to a study published a few years ago by the American Psychological Association titled “Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership”.
The study highlighted the many beneficial impacts that pets often have on their owners. Of the many, the notable ones included a decrease in social isolation, loneliness, stress, and depression, along with an increase in self-esteem and conscientiousness.
Furthermore, pets are interactive and energetic animals, and these qualities have been proven to benefit their owners’ physical and mental health.
This is due to the fact that pet owners tend to stay more active and fit in order keep up with their furry counterparts, and they maintain better mindfulness and awareness as a result of care taking for their pets.
“Lastly, this new pet-friendly concept will be beneficial to our members as it’s conducive in streamlining the convenience and productivity of their work,” she explained.
According to Yvonne, Common Ground will be planning to double their current number of spaces in Southeast Asia this year with their expansion into Thailand.
Their space has even seen multinational corporations signing up with teams of 200 and even up to 500 people.
“We’re also planning to expand our Enterprise portfolio to provide customised spaces for the bigger teams,” she added. “Also with the focus on our app bringing the community in the region together, we also plan to expand the partnerships to ensure value for all members.”
Feature Image Credit: Common Ground