COWORKING SPACE - How Do You Choose the Right Coworking Space?
| by Yaanin
Whether you are just starting a business, are a slasher, or want to switch from using a traditional independent office to a shared space, you may read this article to get some ideas. It introduces you various categories of coworking spaces:
Pros and Cons of Using Shared Spaces VS Traditional Offices
Traditional offices usually require you to sign a long-term lease (generally at least one full year); most coworking spaces do not impose this restriction. Coworking Space provides you a flexible option when the business is not stable; the prospect is uncertain; the current office needs to be re-decorated, or a new big project coming with temporary expansion. Most shared spaces not only accept monthly contract, but also accept moving rooms halfway through the contract period.
Secondly, coworking space is suitable for small and micro businesses with only one or two persons, that is, companies whose bosses do everything from planning to cleaning. In this type of company, when the boss needs to go out to meet clientss or is sick, it is not practical for the company to simply close its doors, just like having days off. True that there are mobile phones and emails, and communication is very convenient even there is no one in the office, the company still needs to have someone there to receive the package or wait for the courier company to pick it up.
In addition, in terms of price based on size, despite coworking space is more expensive than traditional office, considering that smaller rooms are available and occupants do not need to maintain and decorate it by themselves, the overall expenditure should be lower.
Indeed, there are some advantages of using traditional offices over using coworking space. Traditional offices are with a higher degree of independence and privacy. People prefer working quietly alone do not need to worry about dealing with other people sharing the same space. The other side of this coin is that it does not provide you the chance to strengthen connections with people sharing the same space.
Locations and Grades of Coworking Spaces
Like the traditional office, some coworking spaces are categorized as grade A!
The grade is related to location and decorations. Like traditional office space, some ultra-high-end co-working offices are located in Grade A commercial buildings in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, and are very close to MTR stations, such as REGUS and SERVCORP.
This type of shared office is not only high-grade in location, but also decorated with the best materials. Besides, the facilities are excellent. It will be explained in details in another subsection below.
Indeed, the price of coworking space of this grade is not cheap. Those who choose this level of shared office are generally those who need to meet customers in a more formal place to impress the customers of their professionality.
If one is limited by budget, what options are there? Lesser options are some industrial areas, with locations along the railway line and within walking distance of the MTR station, such as Lai Chi Kok and Kwun Tong. Although this type of coworking space is located in the industrial areas, some of the decorations are very modern and unique. Since they are aimed at young users, the design is relatively fashionable, which is very suitable for start-up companies. An example of this is THE GARDEN that offer affordable spaces one at Lai Chi Kok and the other at Sheung Wan.
[One of the coworking spaces funded by the Social Innovation Fund: www.sie.gov.hk/tc/coworkingspace.page]
Many startups do not yet have any business, or they are owned by slashers themselves, so that they still need to take much care of their full-time jobs. They don't actually spend much time in the workshop or office. They have only the minimal budget. In this case, one may consider more remote locations, i.e., somewhere far away from the MTR station, such as industrial areas at Tuen Mun, Kwai Chung and Wong Chuk Hang.
COWORKING SPACE is generally divided into the following categories:
1. Open Space
Just like a study hall, there are only desks and chairs; pantries and toilets. It is the most cost-
effective for this kind of coworking space. The fee is charged per head. Occupants are free to work on his/her own or group discussions there (but not too loud).
It is a combination of open spaces and privates rooms for offices or workshops. There is an open space, usually with a long table seated with several people; there may also be a featured space such as a cafe. Besides the open spaces, there are also private rooms (offices or workshops) and conference rooms at the same time. This design is more flexible and caters for different types of customer groups.
3. Private Rooms Only
There is also a kind of coworking space that is with rooms, i.e., without any open or shared spaces. These are commonly known as "subdivided units". Entering the front door, one only sees a long corridor and doosr. There may also be mailboxes, small pantries and meeting rooms. Most of them do not operate with a proper reception, and thus receptionist. There is only CCTV for security. The user enters by pressing the password by himself.
4. Start-up Incubation Base
Another category is start-up incubators, such as Cyberport and Hong Kong Science Park. But they all require certain qualifications to apply for and contracts may not be renewed after the initial subsidy period.
Among the four types, the first type is the cheapest; the second more flexible and the third the most practical.
Categorized by length of contracts: HOURLY PASS, DAY PASS, MONTHLY CONTRACT and YEARLY CONTRACT
No extra service
Tea, coffee, snacks (PANTRY)
Secretary for answering the phone for you
Accounting; filling out tax return form
In conclusion, one of the benefits of choosing COWORKING SPACE is its flexibility. Various kinds of services can be selected, as well as contract types. It is very suitable for startups and slashers with business natures not yet clear. For one thing, it is worth noting that:
1. The scope of business that can be operated by the industrial building deed and the commercial building deed is different. For example, if you are engaged in the production of handmade handicrafts, it is more appropriate to choose a coworking space in an factory building. As for teaching as business nature, only commercial buildings are the right one to consider.
2. Coworking Space is a place shared by many people with different personalities. One should consider the feelings of other people working in the same place. Regardless of personal hygiene or the sound level, one should try to minimize the impact on others.
Author: Yaanin is a co-owner of a co-working space, as well and a sole owner of an online flower shop.