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Changing the Way People Work

The number of co-work places is rapidly growing in Hong Kong, and one of the latest aspires to bring a bit of hotel experience to work.

Walking onto the main floor of The Work Project in Causeway Bay, one of the city’s newest co-work spaces, feels like entering a hotel lobby, and there is a reason why.

Changing the Way People Work

“Of the five members in my work experience team, three of them are former hoteliers,” Junny Lee, founder and CEO, said. “Just like how you design and build a hotel, what we emphasise here is the experience of the end user.”

And there is just the right expertise in Hong Kong to create this pilot product.

“Hong Kong is where some of the greatest hotel brands were born. The talent pool here in terms of hospitality is amazing,” he said.

But The Work Project, evidently, is not a hotel but a place for work, and all the luxury has a purpose.

“There’s an intimate relationship between workplace design, workplace experience, and productivity and retention rates,” he said, pointing to a recent CBRE survey that found 71 percent of millennial workers would trade some work benefits for a better work environment. The US Psychology Bulletin, he said, found happier employees 31 percent more likely to be productive.

At The Work Project, even the music played and the scent are designed to improve concentration and sense of wellbeing. Members of The Work Project can also enjoy services and discounts from restaurants, wellness facilities and an upscale hair salon in the same building.

While these workers enjoy a luxury work environment, the businesses they work for enjoy flexibility that helps them save costs.

“We are the only co-work space provider in Hong Kong that allows the customer to dictate the membership terms. So you can start any day and end any day,” he said. Members can expand or downsize anytime, and even an individual hot desk member has access to the private office when needed.

The flexibility has been made possible, Lee explains, by a completely automated propriety software system that handles bookings and invoicing. “Members can log in, book online and pay online,” Lee said.

It took Lee almost one year to identify the right space for The Work Project, but construction of it took only two and a half months, including four floors of shared spaces, meeting rooms and private offices, for up to 350 workers. There was also the building of a vertical garden designed by celebrity botanist Patrick Blanc and consisting of some 60 plant species.

“This simply would not have been possible in any other city. There is very little red tape in terms of construction and government regulations in Hong Kong, and we were very lucky to be working with wonderful professionals,” he said.

Based in Singapore, Lee travels to Hong Kong regularly for The Work Project. “I love it because there are just so many choices, and there are so many new things happening all the time. That makes the city very exciting and dynamic,” he said.

Friday, January 20, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Consists of four floors of shared spaces, meeting rooms and private offices, for up to 350 workers
  • Offers members services and discounts from restaurants and wellness facilities in the same building
  • Inspired by hotel experience, with music and scent designed to improve concentration and sense of wellbeing

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