Cover Photo: Courtesy of Banyan Workspace

From its eco-conscious design to a commitment to its charity partners, Banyan Workspace is a co-working space with a conscience

When Amy and Rasheed Shroff found themselves in search of a co-working space, they were faced with a flood of polarising options—on one end of the spectrum were spaces catering to millennial-minded individuals (with beer taps and pool tables on site), and on the other, run-of-the-mill corporate spaces void of personality. 

But nothing quite reflected the couple’s values and their focus on sustainability and social responsibility—especially important in a busy city like Hong Kong. Rather than settling for the next best thing, the entrepreneurs set about creating a space for themselves. 

A short time later, Banyan Workspace opened its doors in Quarry Bay. The co-working space spans more than 3,000-square foot in one of the neighbourhood’s industrial buildings. The bright, airy space is flooded with natural light, while air-purifying plants scattered throughout to keep the toxins at bay for a clean working environment. The co-working space also placed hand sanitisers and alcohol throughout the office space. Made without the use of detergents, the disinfectants are kind to both skin and the planet.

With a capacity of just 55, the boutique space consists of a mixture of hot desks, dedicated desks, private offices and flexible meeting spaces. Its comparatively small capacity allows members to get to know each other well, and for a sense of community to be fostered, with assistance offered in everything from drafting job descriptions to connecting entrepreneurs with skilled freelancers. But it’s not just members that benefit here. Banyan Workspace actively encourages networking and engaging with the wider community of small business owners and entrepreneurial spirits, making it as easy as possible to connect.

Sustainability has been a key pillar of Banyan Workspace since its inception. From sourcing furnishings and interiors made from repurposed waste to encouraging its members to take part in its composting program, minimising waste has been made simple. Members are also given reusable cups and containers (that the space washes and cleans at the end of each day) to help omit single-use plastics often handed out with takeaway meals.

The same ethos applies to Banyan Workspace’s relationship with its charity partners Redress, Teach for Hong Kong, Plastic Free Seas and OneSky. Two per cent of members’ monthly fees are allocated to the charity of their choice, and the co-working space also supports The Women’s Foundation’s mentoring programme. News and updates from the non-profits are regularly shared in Banyan Workspace’s newsletters. These small steps add up to make a big difference in the long run and make kindness in the community easy.

While the Shroffs may have expected a demographic similar to themselves to fill the workspace, they have been surprised to see younger clientele in their midst; in some cases, even fresh graduates. Irrespective of age or background, they explain, people have been engaging with the culture of the workspace.

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