Finding a workspace is one of the fundamental steps when starting a business and it has always been a roadblock for cash-strapped start-ups in Hong Kong. Research from global workplace provider, Regus has revealed the two most popular reasons for choosing co-working spaces – it provides the opportunity to meet likeminded workers from different firms (82%) and to network (80%).
The findings also highlight how businesses regard co-working as a cost-effective alternative (79%), especially when compared to fixed-office leasing.
The result from Hong Kong respondents are in line with the global average. Some 80% of Hong Kong respondents agree that co-working spaces are ideal environments for start-ups, compared with global average rate of 74%.
The benefit of cost-saving (83%) is the most acknowledged incentive that drives Hong Kong professionals to consider using co-working spaces. Without long-term contracts or hefty deposits, businesses – particularly start-ups – do not have the stress of funding a huge initial payout.
In fact, Hong Kong is ranked as one of the world’s top 25 start-up hubs and the top five fastest growing start-up ecosystems, according to the Global Start-Up Ecosystem Ranking 2015 study.
Statistics on the benefits of picking co-working spaces:
|Global Ave||HK||Mainland China||Taiwan||S’pore||UK||USA|
|a. Offer a creative environment||67%||78%||80%||86%||76%||59%||66%|
|b. Meet professionals from different firms||82%||81%||85%||88%||83%||78%||73%|
|c. Offer networking opportunities||80%||82%||79%||84%||84%||79%||79%|
|d. Meet other entrepreneurs||74%||77%||70%||84%||81%||67%||68%|
|e. Ideal environment for start-ups||74%||80%||85%||77%||82%||72%||68%|
|f. Keep up to date with industry news||48%||52%||60%||70%||55%||41%||46%|
|g. Keep skills/expertise up to date through interaction||62%||65%||72%||78%||65%||55%||63%|
|h. Offer inspiration through shared skills or experience||69%||69%||73%||82%||72%||64%||69%|
|i. More casual about dress code||50%||64%||52%||62%||71%||52%||59%|
|j. Offer new business and new project opportunities||66%||69%||74%||78%||70%||62%||65%|
|k. More cost effective than fixed leasing arrangements||79%||83%||82%||81%||86%||83%||82%|
(Source: Regus 2015)
“All too often businesses interpret remote working as home working, but this doesn’t look very professional and can often lead to people feeling isolated. Using collaborative workspaces counters this by enabling business people to work alongside one another, even if they are not employed by the same firm. This can result in key business relationships being forged,” said Natina Wong, Country Manager of Regus Hong Kong.
It is clear that operating from a co-working space enables people to enjoy the combined benefits of flexibility and going in to an office, without the common feeling of isolation from fellow professionals experienced by home-based workers.
However, 87% of Hong Kong respondents confirmed that the setting provided by co-working spaces is sometimes not professional enough for client meetings, which is much higher than the global average (76%).
Some 81% of Hong Kong firms say that there is a risk to privacy (75% globally) and 71% of Hong Kong entrepreneurs say that meeting room space is scarce, which is a higher rate than the global average of 59%.
“Aside from cash-strapped start-ups, many more consolidated businesses are also looking to co-working spaces as a cost-effective solution to workspace. However, businesses must be aware that a formal meeting space for important client meetings is a key requirement and that privacy needs to be protected. So while co-working spaces bring many benefits, spaces must be professional enough to carry out sensitive work,” Wong added.
It is obvious that businesses require a range of professional environments to operate efficiently from co-working spaces. In particular, Wi-Fi connectivity and bandwidth have topped the table as metrics that affect businesses decision-making.
Fully 60% of Hong Kong businesses are concerned about low Wi-Fi bandwidth when using shared internet connections in a co-working space, while only 56% of global enterprises expressed this worry. This research was conducted on more than 44,000 business professionals from 100 countries, including 349 respondents in Hong Kong.