As the popularity of coworking spaces continues to rise, there has been a notable shift in the mindset of large enterprises towards these modern-day collaborative spaces. In the past eighteen months, global giants such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple have all embraced the co-working phenomenon and its undeniable benefits. Hong Kong, while a little slow on the uptake, is also beginning to see companies leave the constraints of central business districts in search of digitalization, cost benefits, and millennial talent. By 2030, it predicted that shared work environments will make up 30% of office spaces. Let’s take a closer look at the motivations driving this market trend.
Forward Thinking Collaborations
Collaboration and networking lay at the very core of coworking spaces, they’re intrinsically a breeding ground for diverse business relationships. Many large MNCs are making the jump to coworking spaces to be in close proximity with smaller, more digitally-savvy, businesses.
“We’re seeing more established MNCs willing to break away from traditional office spaces and situate their teams within flexible environments with inclusive communities,” said Thomas Hui, CEO of theDesk.
Startups are leaders in digitalization and technology and being amongst them offers MNCs valuable business opportunities. Either through partnerships, adopting them as a vendor, or exchanging professional services, larger businesses can leverage startups to stay ahead of the technological curve and embrace new ideas. Multinational companies like Samsung, Barclays, and Volkswagen, to name a few, have recognized how collaborating with startups can help them and have already moved their innovative teams into shared offices spaces.
Happy Equals Productive
Another benefit which big corporations are beginning to recognize is the increased productivity and happiness of their employees when in co-working spaces. Comfortable layouts, inspiring atmospheres, various social events, and networking activities, all add to the employee experience at a coworking space. This results in employees being more enthusiastic about their work. The Deskmag’s Annual Global Coworking Survey shows that 68% of employees are more focused and 71% are more creative in a coworking space.
This sense of flexibility and freedom is of particular importance for the Generation Z cohort, with 81% of them thinking that social and communal areas are important in the workplace. According to a panel discussion on ‘Generation Z’, that was held at theDesk coworking space, the Generation Z group is thoroughly attracted to flexible work schedules and cherish communal ties. As the future of the workforce, due to surpass Millennials as the largest generation by 2020, larger corporations are smartening up to the fact that to attract this younger talent they need to start providing them with attractive work environments.
Tangible Talent Pool
In a saturated market place, such as Hong Kong, find quality business leads and new talent can be an arduous process. Coworking spaces, with their inundation of small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, are very well equipped to solve these issues. Smaller companies are constantly looking to outsource particular business services to more financially equipped counterparts. While MNCs can often find the perfect solopreneur, who can help them solve a very niche issue, creating an ecosystem that benefits both smaller and larger businesses.
As locations packed full of bright minds, co-working environments can help both MNCs and SMEs connect easily and engage in mutually beneficial transactions. Whether it’s IT support or Human Resource expertise, co-working environments have an abundance of talent that’s just waiting to be utilized.
Cost and flexibility are two of the main sticking points between coworking spaces and traditional office settings. On top of the flexible contract terms and 24/7 access to spaces, enterprises can also enjoy a range of sites to work from across a city. Businesses can easily base an employee or a team in a location where they don’t have an office so as to be in close proximity to their clients. Furthermore, business expansion and adding headcount is far more manageable in an adaptable work setting where you can easily rent a few more desks or offices. Cost is always a major factor in making a choice about offices and in short, the overhead of having a desk or an office in a coworking space is, on average, three times lower than renting a traditional office in Hong Kong.
As the Asia-Pacific, MD at Instant Group stated, “Corporates are absolutely adopting [coworking] and people are becoming more open about how they work, where they work, and more demanding about different types of space”. This is a new reality; the big corporations are leveraging coworking spaces to gain the benefits they offer, all while providing their resources and margins of scale to startups.
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