Co-working spaces have become a new trend around the world and Hong Kong is no exception.
In a diverse city with many different nationalities, it is interesting to note that this global phenomenon also reflects cultural variations across Chinese and Western tenants, typically observed in their floor plans, use of partitions, and even glass materials.
Co-working spaces welcome not only start-ups and slashes (people with multiple careers), but also companies who want to expand their network and explore new talents. Global co-working brands usually adopt open office designs to promote a sharing culture. They prefer transparent glass (if they use it at all) so everyone is aware of what’s happening around them. This encourages the sharing of creative ideas and group problem solving.
Local names are more conservative in office planning and opt for private space with partly-transparent or frosted glass partitions when dealing with business and meetings. These “open rooms”, usually priced higher, provide a certain amount of privacy with their man-height frosted glass walls. This could be seen as a Hong-Kong specific variation of the open office, probably due to the fact that local enterprises are more concerned about product protection and work privacy.
To fit into the Chinese culture, many global co-working companies in Hong Kong are offering glass-partitioned offices instead of large open common spaces (which can also help to maximize their rental yields given the high land costs). We can see that it is important for landlords to take into consideration cultural differences when they design space, as Hong Kong and Asian occupiers generally prefer a quieter, private workplace while Western companies and individuals may share a more open attitude.