Co-work­ing space de­mand set to grow

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The de­mand for more flex­i­ble of­fice en­vi­ron­ments is ex­pected to grow in the com­ing years as China con­tin­ues its in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship drive, ac­cord­ing to Steel­case Asia Pa­cific, a US-based global of­fice en­vi­ron­ments man­u­fac­turer.

“More and more mid­dle­and small-sized en­ter­prises have been emerg­ing in China in re­cent years as the coun­try pushes to­ward en­trepreneur­ship,” said Uli Gwin­ner, pres­i­dent of Steel­case Asia Pa­cific.

“Com­pared with tra­di­tional com­pa­nies, the en­ter­prises in th­ese co-work­ing spa­ces, many of which are start-ups, have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments that need to be ful­filled,” added Gwin­ner.

Steel­case Asia Pa­cific re­cently in­tro­duced Navi TeamIs­land, a new de­sk­ing sys­tem tar­geted at rapidly-grow­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions in China. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany, this new sys­tem’s ef­fi­cient and flex­i­ble de­sign was cre­ated to pro­mote the well-be­ing of work­ers while en­abling or­ga­ni­za­tions to grow and sup­port the new work be­hav­iors of to­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s re­search which stud­ied more than 1,000 en­ter­prises in In­dia and China, new work be­hav­iors are emerg­ing in the lat­ter but work en­vi­ron­ments are not sup­port­ing th­ese new work styles. As a re­sult, em­ployee well-be­ing and en­gage­ment have been neg­a­tively im­pacted.

The re­port found that only 41 per­cent of work­ers in China be­lieve their com­pa­nies have a gen­uine in­ter­est in their well­be­ing and con­cluded that this could be one of the main rea­sons why 26 per­cent of the re­spon­dents from China rate them­selves to be highly or somewhat dis­en­gaged.

“There is an in­crease in lo­cal prod­uct de­vel­op­ment which is cre­at­ing new de­mand for more cre­ative, highly-skilled knowl­edge work­ers and chang­ing the be­hav­iors at work in China. The type of work peo­ple are do­ing in th­ese mar­kets is chang­ing and this has great im­pli­ca­tions for the work­place,” said Olivia Lee, Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor of Steel­case Asia Pa­cific.

“When th­ese new be­hav­iors are not cor­rectly sup­ported, it of­ten comes at the ex­pense of em­ployee well-be­ing and en­gage­ment,” added Lee.

Gwin­ner said that the abil­ity for spon­ta­neous in­no­va­tion can be boosted by re­think­ing of­fice space to cater to dif­fer­ent work­ing modes and en­cour­age dy­namic in­for­ma­tion de­liv­ery. He added that a work space that sup­ports di­ver­sity and al­lows for col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties in re­al­time can also help with the creation of in­no­va­tive ideas.

Re­gus, the world’s lead­ing provider of flex­i­ble work spa­ces, said it has also been in con­tact with uni­ver­si­ties in China to de­ter­mine what are the prod­ucts that lo­cal start-ups and young en­trepreneurs re­quire.

In 2016, the multi­na­tional com­pany in­tro­duced one of its brands, Kora, to China to tap into the bur­geon­ing startup scene. Kora is branded as a knowl­edge com­mu­nity that closely con­nects com­pa­nies and en­trepreneurs.

Uli Gwin­ner, pres­i­dent of Steel­case Asia Pa­cific

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