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Explainer: Co-working Space in Phnom Penh

Gareth Johnson

With digital nomads moving to Phnom Penh, more individuals working online, and companies wishing to decrease their office expenses, co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular. But what is a co-working space, what is available in Phnom Penh and what are the benefits?

What is a co-working space in Phnom Penh?

At its base origins coworking spaces are where companies agree to share office space to save money. Traditionally this means that common amenities, such as printers and Wi-Fi can be shared, cutting down on maintenance, as well as ongoing costs.

However, increasingly though coworking spaces in Phnom Penh and beyond have expanded to be not just placed for a permanent office, but can also be a hybrid cafes with innovative environments. 

Places, such as Factory Phnom Penh have managed to combine being places where people come to work daily when needed, or for meetings, with special rooms available, for rent by the hour rather than being part of an office that is rarely used. 

Why are co-working spaces becoming so popular in Phnom Penh?

From a global standpoint how and indeed where we work has changed greatly. In older times people would work from home or the office. Increasingly though much of what we do is online, with the growth of “working from home” only being increased by the impacts of the pandemic.

Mostly though it is just how many of us draw an income from work online, or independently. This includes several fields from own companies to freelance workers, as well as digital nomads. 

Read more: Encouraging foreign talent will play a key role in the post-pandemic growth of Cambodia

Digital nomads are people that work online and can do so from anywhere. Often associated with bloggers, or travel content creators, the genre is actually much more encompassing, with governments and even hotels now actively courting this demographic for growth.

As for the popularity of coworking spaces and why do people prefer them to an office, or indeed their home? This again can be for a multitude of reasons, but for many, it is the ability to make use of the office element, while shaving cost, while for digital nomads and the like it is often about being in an environment conducive for work. Not everyone has the discipline to work at their home or hotel.

The co-working Phnom Penh Scene

Co-working in Phnom Penh has existed for a long time in the respect of sharing office space. The more modern phenomenon of dedicated spaces for people to go in and work though has started to take off more in the last 5 years, with former factories, cafes and a whole heap of other places popping up in this time.

A key instance of this is the previously mentioned Factory Phnom Penh, which as expected is a refurbished factory. At the top end of the scale, Cambodian coworking spaces do provide everything you might need.

5 Best Co-working Spaces in Phnom Penh

While this list is subjective, they are in our mind at least the five best coworking spaces in the capital as of now. 

1. Factory Phnom Penh

2. Desk CoWorking Space

3. TRIBE Phnom Penh

4. Emerald Hub

5. BasePoint Cambodia

Co-working Cambodia – Outside of Phnom Penh

Outside of the capital, particularly in smaller places such as Battambang, the coworking scene is a little less enshrined, with your best bet being to find a tiny cafe – with decent internet.

Siem Reap though does have some great options, the principle among them being BioLab. BioLab has a restaurant, plenty of plug sockets, some companies based there, private meeting rooms for just $10 an hour, as well as cocktails after 6pm, meaning even post-work drinks can be done in the same environment. 

Co-working Space Cambodia and Tourism

As previously mentioned coworking spaces, as well as ease of work for digital nomads are also affecting how governments and private enterprises set themselves up. The digital nomad scene is now big business, with digital nomads contributing almost $800 million globally.

Read more: How viable a location is Cambodia for the digital nomad lifestyle?

This is partly why governments trying to improve the speed of their internet, but also why the private sector has jumped on. It is rare to see places such as Factory or BioLab not busy, but also some hotels have jumped on.

TRIBE Phnom Penh, which opened in 2022 has a dedicated coworking area, part of its aim is to try and appeal to a younger demographic, something it has seemingly done successfully so far.

Read more: TRIBE Phnom Penh, much more than a hotel

Overall, though appealing to digital nomads, coworking spaces in Cambodia are not only growth industries in the Kingdom, but will also be key to most future green commercial developments. 

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