Overseeing the growth and consolidation of many co-working businesses around the globe, 2019 has proved itself an influential year. In 2020, the topic has gained significant attention with more and more people around the world moving into shared office spaces – rising 1,650,000 in 2018 to 2,170,000 last year. To get a better understanding and help elucidate why people have decided to make this transition, we sat down at theDesk Leighton Centre with Wallace Cheung, co-founder and COO of Invbots and member at theDesk to get a first-hand account.
Since being founded in 2016, Invbots has chosen to base their offices in co-working spaces. A robotic investment platform based in Hong Kong but aimed squarely towards the wider global market, Wallace and his team require a flexible and productive work environment to get their most effective work done. “We are a big family of young talents mostly studying in Hong Kong. We have around 5 full time staff, but in fact have been hiring close to 30 student interns from year 1 bachelors to PhD students across finance, computer science and more”, he explained. “Because of our unique business and organization, we needed somewhere that could help us build a family”, he added. Aimed at promoting professional business communities and fostering inter-member collaboration, co-working spaces seemed an obvious choice, especially for a company with constantly fluctuating team sizes.
A factor that keeps reappearing when discussing the benefits of a shared office arrangement, flexibility is also key for Wallace and his team: “Working in another more traditional leased office space is better suited for professionals rather than a company in high growth that needs a more flexible business nature”, he says. Short lease terms that mean you don’t have to think up to 2 years down the line make for a much more cost-efficient and suitable work environment at the present. “theDesk is one of the best choices providing very flexible terms as well as helping us think bigger. We can see that our company has been expanding very well and all the staff and operations have helped things go very smoothly”, he added.
But for Wallace, arguably the biggest reason for his move to co-working and shared offices at theDesk was the community. “One of the things we love about the entire co-working business thesis is the way they encourage sharing and build up communities. This is part of our DNA as well”, he explained. “It’s a really friendly place that’s suitable for our young and energetic business culture. We often encourage people to share desks or sit on the sofa and grab a cup of coffee just to chat”, he says. Cultivating a community that loves to network, collaborate and facilitate business connections is a big part of what co-working spaces want to promote in their shared office environments. It’s a benefit unique to shared offices that provides grounds for effective growth and consolidation right at the workplace. “Before joining theDesk, we visited around 5 different co-working spaces. theDesk suited us best in terms of the location, the leases, as well as the business culture.” Another aspect of the community surrounding shared office spaces is the frequent events. Not only providing another possible avenue for marketing exposure, they are great places to meet new people and network. Despite being based at theDesk Leighton Centre in Causeway Bay, Wallace is keen to join more events hosted across other locations. “We definitely want to learn more from other members going into 2020,” he adds.
Moreover, the infrastructure and premium facilities available at theDesk also remained one of the core benefits that attracted Wallace in the first place. “Our productivity has improved quite a bit after joining theDesk. Perhaps its because of the layout, perhaps the white and minimalistic interior or even the space and sunlight”, he muses. “We also make great use of the meeting rooms for bigger and more formal meetings. We find that we can immediately get the resources and space to facilitate any sudden need to talk about things,” he adds. He firmly believes that these aspects of shared office culture enable them to work in a smooth and efficient manner: “The network connectivity, the room sizing, the open space areas all give us a good way to think, plan and discuss.”
Providing an effective solution for those looking to build their community and learn from other members and industry leaders, shared offices have a promising future in 2020. With all-inclusive prices in premium locations and flexible terms, they are a great alternative to traditional offices and cater to higher growth and rapidly evolving companies.
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