Shanghai Co working spaces

Shanghai Living

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Is it naked Hub vs. WeWork?

You either:
Use a co working space
Have heard of a co working space
Don’t care about co working spaces

All of these are fair responses.
In case you didn’t know: co working offices are spaces at which you can rent (1) a Hot Desk and use any location, going in and sitting in the communal space, (2) an ‘open’, not-full-enclosed office or (3) a private office.

They all offer free soft drinks and beer, with everything included in one fixed cost, such as internet etc.

They all also propose a ‘community’ — that they will help with events, networking and more, in order to help your business and life.

I’ll be honest from the outset — I believe in the co working space concept. Not necessarily that the theme or concept is very special, or that I like to use my Apple device while laughing uproarously with my super-diverse friends as we all wear our hats backwards.

That kind of imagery has been taken and bastardised to promote co working spaces, while doing so actually harms the co working idea.

It’s not for ‘cool millenials’ (millenials aren’t cool), it’s not for lounging around on a sofa while drinking the free-flow drinks, and to be totally frank you may not even speak to other people while you are working there, mainly because people are there to work rather than date (on the main part). WeWork’s homepage has a big photo of a blonde lady hugging a man. ‘Sex sells’ is the main marketing truism, but don’t go in the doors expecting to be quickly embraced.

So, while these things are true, co working is a very simple benefit for any business of any size, because you get much more for much less.

In many places in the world, you would likely pay much more for your office needs, with infinitely more hassle.

Why would you bother finding the right location, negotiating the lease and terms, finding and paying for furniture, internet, etc. etc.?

Then take the hassle and Chinafy it, with landlords, internet, staffing issues, and so on and so on.

In a simple look at cost of money + time + effort, co working spaces have done all of these things for you, at great locations and reasonable prices.

The two biggest co working spaces in Shanghai are naked Hub and WeWork.

Both are about the same price. A naked hub Hot Desk is ¥1,800 and WeWork is literally a few hundred RMB more expensive at some locations.

Here are pics of both of them:

Naked Hub Co Workspace:

Wework Co Workspace:

While this risks prompting desk-bound WeChat editors across Shanghai to all write a ‘naked Hub vs WeWork’ article, or Shanghai Wow to write a list of ’85 Co Working Spaces in Shanghai’, these two must still be noted as the best choices — not even for ‘co working’, but just for having a working space / office in Shanghai.

Why should you not bother with other office spaces?

As stated above, while co working spaces are ‘co working’, in that you share a physical space and in some cases a community app with other working people, their very specific title isn’t the point. The point is that they are high quality offices at reasonable costs.

But, even if other co working companies / locations are cheaper, there’s no real point to use them.

Sorry if that offends another co working brand, but this is because naked Hub and WeWork are at an approx. monthly cost of ¥1,800 for a Hot Desk and around ¥3,000 per person for a private office.

If you can’t afford that, then to be completely honest you should just work from home or from cafes and save the budget to grow your business / life etc.

These two brands offer much better locations, nicer places and the other companies that use them are more international, so the environment is more suitable.

Which one should you choose?

Whichever one you feel better with after a tour of the space.

That might seem like a lazy way to advise picking one, but it’s just honest.

There wasn’t really any point in making a table of pros vs. cons, because as both basically do the same thing, it comes down to personal choice.

Within these companies, just like any company internally, they have their beliefs on why they are better. ‘We serve better beer!’ or ‘we have more locations!’ or ‘we are bigger internationally!’ or ‘we are bigger locally!’, and so on.

It is true that naked Hub has many more locations and is a Shanghai-born brand, but while that is good for them as a business, as a standard ‘user’, you may be unlikely to use all 20 or so locations.

What are their ‘communities’?

Regular events at the spaces, at which you can meet other people who work there. On balance, naked Hub takes this the most critically, as they relentlessly define the community as their USP. They focus strongly on their community events and effectiveness in connecting their ‘Hubbers’ together.

What is ‘co life’?

You might see in the Shanghai media that naked Hub have opened a new space on Loushanguan Rd. (Changning district)

It’s the biggest co working space in Shanghai. They say it’s ‘co life’ as they have health classes and F&B within the building.

This probably does add a level of convenience to working there for employees of a company that has rented a space there.

To be very frank, it might not be the most amazing thing ever, as if you are a Hot Desk user then your lifestyle is probably flexible enough for you to choose your favourite gym / exercise class and food each day.

But in the Loushanguan Rd Hub, they do have healthy food like Saucepan, pleasurable food like pizza, a bakery and so on, along with exercise classes that mean if you spend a lot of your day working, you can do everything in one space and save the time and hassle traveling around the city.

What are other co working brands?

If you still want to check, there is SOHO 3Q, Olabs, UrWork, FunWork, and more. Regus say they do co working, but the probem with a lot of these is that they are as much co working as sitting in Starbucks, i.e. zero connectivity. In fact it might be easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger in a Starbucks or fancy FFC coolio eatery.

So for the internationally-minded person looking for a space to work, these two are still the ones to go and see.

It’s simple; no matter the size of your company, these spaces save considerable budget while making employees happier to go to work.

We focused on the Hot Desk aspect, but companies like HSBC, Budweiser (AB), Microsoft etc. use such spaces for these basic reasons. So go take a look.

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