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INNOVATORS VS COVID 19

Re-Defining Coworking during COVID-19

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Wynd Team

We talked to Ray Chung, business manager at WYND Co-working Space, about office-space sharing and this is what he said about it.

First of all, tell us about your career in WYND Co-working Space.

Ray Chung: I am currently the Community Manager at WYND Co-working Space. My main focus is to build a vibrant community within our workspace, encouraging cross-collaboration between our members. What intrigues me the most here at WYND is that I get to meet very committed and motivated individuals, entrepreneurs, or SME teams from different business sectors and cultural backgrounds on a daily basis. I still remember when we first opened our doors back in 2013, UBER became our first client. It was an eye-opening experience to witness how dedicated they are to build their business operation for the Asia Pacific Region out of our workspace in Hong Kong.

How does WYND Co-working Space innovate? 

Ray Chung: We adapt and we innovate, striving to provide quality service and seamless experience for our clients. While we are a pioneer to try different things including different technologies to enhance our service, we always execute them with an effort to build a more sustainable environment. As such, this has commended us with the Carry Company Award for 8 consecutive years by The Hong Kong Council of Social Services and awarded the Energywise Certificate by the Hong Kong Green Organisation Certification. 

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect the business, and how does WYND manage it?

Ray Chung: WYND Co-working Space has taken a cautious approach in growing our operation over the years, as such, our business is not majorly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, on a contrary, it poses more opportunity for us to expand. Throughout the years, we have always focused on our relationship with our clients, as such, on average our clients stay with us for over 4 years. 

We implemented stringent preventive measures right from the beginning of the pandemic, and we are glad that we never had any confirmed cases at our space, and our operation and service have never been suspended. We did experience a wave of clients becoming insolvent or trying to downsize during the earlier days of the pandemic. We have taken the approach to be understandable and adapted a more lenient and flexible approach for them. This period of time was quickly replaced by other new clients and we are currently over 90% occupied. 

In addition, during this period of time, we have taken the opportunity to improve and upgrade our operation, infrastructure, and service. For example, we upgraded our video conference facilities in our meeting rooms to cater for the sudden increase in online conferencing, webinar/podcast demands; we migrated our operation to a more interactive cloud SaaS system to enhance the efficiency of our service; we have introduced more flexible plans with on-demand service (pay per use), with no contract commitment, calculated on half-hourly rate usage of our coworking space, targeted to “work from home” clients who prefer not staying home, etc.

Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?

Ray Chung: Nope. In fact, we increased our headcount during this period of time.

How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?

Ray Chung: We adapted to be more resilient. We make ourselves available on most of the online interactive communication tools for more efficient and effective communication, such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, WhatsApp, Live Chat Systems, etc. We have enhanced our Point of Sales (POS) payment system and booking system to a more online-based system, exploring and making ourselves available on Stripe, PayPal, Square, Octopus, etc. 

Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?

Ray Chung: We received grants from the government via the Employment Support Scheme. It was helpful to ease our operation especially at beginning of the pandemic where everything was uncertain. Since then, we did not apply for other grants, instead, we focused on capturing opportunities from these challenging times. 

Your final thoughts?

Ray Chung: Challenging times could pose new opportunities, be optimistic and be with your client this critical period of time. 

Your website?

http://wynd.hk/

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