Leonia Lee, Associate Director at Arcadis Hong Kong, discussed two interlinked trends – the development of Kowloon East as a second CDB and the move towards agile working – at a Chamber roundtable on 19 October.
She noted that in the past 20 years, the relocation of the airport and Hong Kong’s move away from manufacturing has “left a huge stock of industrial buildings which are under-utilised.” The redevelopment of the area is now seeing the arrival of global companies including JP Morgan, DBS and Hugo Boss.
Lower rents are obviously a major draw, but there are other attractions in Kowloon East, Lee pointed out. New and totally refurbished buildings can be more high-tech than those in Central, many of which are becoming outdated. The transport infrastructure has improved greatly, and there are more facilities and attractions nearby.
Lee also discussed how a more agile way of working can help attract and retain talent as technology transforms our jobs and lifestyles.
“You don’t go to work,” she said, “you carry it with you.”
She used her own company as an example of this trend. On moving to Kowloon East, Arcadis got rid of assigned desks and even desk telephones, and has introduced facilities like showers on every floor and sit-stand desks.
Creating a more comfortable and flexible environment is becoming increasingly important as more millennials enter the workplace. And a happy workforce is more engaged, loyal and productive.
“Engaged staff members are five times less likely to leave,” Lee said. Amid Hong Kong’s serious manpower shortage, this is a factor worth noting.