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The Retreat of Coworking

2019 was the year we saw coworking spaces officially overreach. Almost all of the big players made sweeping, ambitious expansion resolutions at the start of the year, and none panned out. WeWork, uCommune, Metta, and KR Space have been forced to scale down and some have reneged on their land grabs, in fact.



Why are coworking spaces struggling?

The business models of large coworking spaces have always relied heavily on creating a community of like-minded individuals working for start-ups and medium-sized businesses. With high rents in Hong Kong, the spaces cannot survive just on membership fees from these individuals alone; they need large groups and corporations to purchase bulk packages with lots of desks. Unfortunately for them, Hong Kong’s freelance, start-up culture is not as strong as it once was and the corporate sector is not doing that well either. This is due to a variety of factors that include:


A decrease in private-sector investment due to the current social unrest playing havoc in Hong Kong for the last 6 months.A movement towards smaller bootstrapped independents that wish to be apart of the so-called Work 3.0 wave.An overly-competitive market for coworking spaces with over 200 individual coworking spaces in Hong Kong, forcing high rents and some landlords even setting up their own spaces such as Swire properties.


There are just not enough customers ready to move into nicely renovated coworking locations. KR Space just walked away from a lease they signed in Wan Chai and are shutting down their Times Square location. Market observers are predicting this trend will only continue in the new decade, for the big coworking space sector.


Coworking Spaces Are Too Rigid For Some

Individual single Coworking spaces lack flexibility, people may be free to work on their own tasks, but they still need to go to a specific location much like a traditional office. They may still require a commute, awkward stop n’ chat conversations in the hallways with people you only know from work. In short, they don’t offer the flexibility that more and more WFA (work from anywhere) workers are coming to desire.


All of this is to say that conventional coworking spaces do not provide everything for remote workers who want maximum flexibility and freedom.


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash


Where Should Remote Workers Go In Addition?

A good addition is a Hot Desk network like TableWorks. Here are just a few reasons Hot Desks make for such a flexible workspace.


  • Location-independent — Hot Desks are not all located in office buildings. Instead, they are scattered around a city or a wider area — over 410 desks, in the case of Tableworks. They are located in carefully selected cafes, restaurants, or other areas that inspire creativity and productivity. Members are not tied to one single place and can choose where they work depending on their location, mood or schedule.

  • A casual environment — Since coworking spaces are only for work, some can come off as overly formal.

  • Time-independent — Hot desk network members generally get to control their own time. For instance, some Tableworks’ locations are open until as late as 11 pm. Members can schedule their personal activities and still have time to be productive.

  • Optimized for productivity — Hot Desk areas in Coworking spaces are usually crowded, and that can make for a distracting work environment. Hot desk networks let you move around and each location is carefully curated as somewhere a remote worker can get work done.


And to top it all off, Hot Desk networks are considerably less expensive than coworking spaces. Tableworks memberships start as low as $23 per month with an annual plan.

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