Pandemic broadens co-working horizons

money-glitz | Staff Reporter 25 May 2020

Some local co-working spaces are expanding their business and recruiting new staff when many companies are experiencing sales slumps amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the virus has made top managers realize the importance of flexibility of working positions.

Co-working spaces have boomed in Hong Kong recent years. They aim to provide shared equipment in the community-led environment. With the advantage of better space use, these co-working spaces have become new hubs for many start-ups.

Finest Design Nest in Lai Chi Kok is one of the local players, designed around the idea of building high-quality space. The company has maintained occupancy of above 90 percent amid the pandemic, while it expanding working space from 8,000 square feet to more than 12,000 sq ft, and hiring more employees.

Assistant marketing manager Hazel Wong said people are realizing the importance of flexibility of working positions amid the pandemic, so the market value of co-working spaces is beginning to show.

For example, Finest Design Nest's Area Member rents for HK$2,500 per month, without any fixed room, she said. "The shared space accounts for 82 percent of the total area, we are also providing shared equipment in kitchens and living rooms. That's what young people are looking for in the working environment, helping tenants learn from each other and communicate with each other," Wong said.

When choosing a co-working space, flexibility and self-improvement are major considerations of potential tenants, she added.

Finest Design Nest also prioritizes interior space design, spending heavily on shared equipment, adding European ergonomic office furniture from brands including Italy's Arper Denmark's Bolia, Netherlands' Koplus and Spain's Vondom, etc. This furniture creates a good environment with visual enjoyment.

The fixed office area against the wall is connected by a leafy corridor, as the designer hopes to ensure natural light in each room.

Senior marketing executive Cathy Chiu said the working environment affects employee productivity, even emotions. "We always value interior design. We hope to create a warm working atmosphere by using natural colors. Members can enjoy fitness bikes in the open space, which will help them release pressure," she said.

Finest Design Nest has invested more than HK$10 million for decoration, Wong said it is because the company's founder and director Eddie Cheung is a designer and owner of a furniture shop. Cheung wanted to set up a creative co-working space.

"He hopes some construction and design start-ups could work in the space so he offers special rent discounts. It's not about whether the business will make a profit. Instead, he hopes young designers or people who commit to serving society, could have more opportunities in the future," she said.

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