With so many business opportunities available in Hong Kong, more and more SMEs and professionals are choosing to use the economic powerhouse as a base to expand into the Asian marketplace. Due to this, coworking in HK is on the rise and with more interest and more people, the shared office environment is changing. With more internationals and expats using these spaces, the potential for cultural blunders and poor coworking etiquette is on the rise.
However, a little effort can go a long way towards creating a positive and productive space for all. If you are preparing to establish yourself in the Hong Kong coworking world, be prepared to behave in accordance with both local customs and with the same consideration for others that you would expect from any shared working space.
Let’s take a look at some specific etiquette points to be aware of before coworking in Hong Kong.
Be Aware Of Hong Kong’s Business Culture
Having a general background in the specifics of Hong Kong’s business culture will provide you with most of what you need to know to be courteous in your coworking space. While you may be seated among many other international professionals, be mindful of your surroundings and do your best to act in accordance with local customs. For example, you should be aware that the Hong Kong handshake is less aggressive than in western countries and that business relationships in the country are taken quite seriously. Hong Kong is very cosmopolitan and so it is likely that your local colleagues will be quite understanding if you make a faux pas, as long as you at least make an effort.
In terms of coworking spaces specifically, remember that silence is important in many Asian cultures. Do not force small talk on anyone and be comfortable with what may seem to be long periods of quiet in a conversation. You should also know that in Asia the concept of ‘saving face’ is very important. That means showing your emotions too much by losing your temper or shouting is often perceived as a highly negative character trait so do your best to remain calm, cool, and collected.
Be Courteous With Phone Calls
As a general rule for all coworking spaces not only in Hong Kong, it’s best not to take extended phone calls directly from your desk amid your colleagues. This is inconsiderate and will distract people from their work. Premium coworking space providers offer in-house receptionists if needed who can take your calls for you and redirect them as necessary. If you find yourself on the phone a great deal when in the coworking space, avail of this option for the sake of your colleagues’ productivity.
Be Social When Appropriate
Premium coworking spaces offer the opportunity to interact and converse with professionals and small business operators from a variety of diverse backgrounds. You never know who you might meet or what brief conversation will inspire you to conduct your own business more effectively.
Contribute to a positive coworking environment by being social when the time is right but by also giving your colleagues enough space to be productive. This will allow the space to be both harmonious and beneficial for everyone.
Trial And Error
Coworking spaces are a welcome development in the business world. The opportunities that they provide for interpersonal relationships are unparalleled. The above pointers will help you to contribute in a positive way towards making your coworking space in Hong Kong a pleasant and productive place for all.