The rise and rise of coworking in Australia

The rise of coworking in Australia, Flexispace, Sydney

The rise and rise of coworking in Australia

Coworking is booming in the US, Europe and increasingly Australia as a new generation of entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers, SMEs and corporates embrace the benefits of reduced overhead costs and collaborative working styles.

Work spaces are undergoing a transformation driven by the changing nature of work, mobile technology, the sharing economy and changes in workforce demographics. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Sydney is leading the movement here in Australia.

Coworking space has grown by almost 300 per cent across Australia since 2013 according to a recent Knight Frank report. The rise has been highest in Sydney, with 65 per cent growth during the past year compared with Melbourne’s 63 per cent.

Sydney Coworking Space, Flexispace, No. 1 Martin Place, Casual Desk
Sydney Coworking Space, Flexispace, No. 1 Martin Place
Sydney Coworking Space, Flexispace, No. 1 Martin Place, Private Offices

Sydney CBD and corporates lead the charge

The Sydney CBD has experienced the strongest coworking floor space growth, growing from virtually no coworking facilities just a few years ago to over 25,000m2 in the CBD at the end of 2017. And the majority of that space is located in prime office buildings rather than secondary sites.

Rowena Young, Director of InterOffice Property Services, which operates Flexispace at No. 1 Martin Place, says

People often think of coworking space as being the domain of start-ups and entrepreneurs but we’ve seen a dramatic increase in larger businesses and corporates using the space for their employees. We have clients from national and global companies who use Flexispace as their Sydney base for distributed workers to work and collaborate. It gives them everything they could wish for - a wide range of workspaces, project rooms, meeting rooms, event spaces, break out areas, state-of-the-art facilities and smart technology - without the overheads of a long term lease and office fit-outs. Our philosophy is to understand each client’s working style, activities and priorities and tailor a space solution to meet their needs. Because our furnishings, ambiance and services reflect a corporate professional environment, it provides a seamless transition from the traditional office environment to a flexible one.

The Google Effect takes hold

The changing nature of workspace design has been led by technology companies like Google and Facebook in the US. The new norm of ‘unique’ work space – known as the Google Effect – has seen corporate offices become more like mini college campuses where employees have access to restaurants and cafes, gyms, laundry services, medical and dental services and daycare facilities.

And it’s not just about keeping people at work longer. Technology companies have hired architects and psychologists to analyse the concept of the work space before they even start building. Thought is given to promoting collaboration, stimulating imaginative thinking, enhancing random interaction, and much, much more.

Of course, not every company can custom build their own mini campus which is why coworking space is changing the landscape of commercial real estate. Companies that might have once taken out a 5- or 10-year lease and customised the space to their needs can now make short term or flexible term commitments while providing employees with up-to-date facilities that optimise productivity and wellness.

Another way coworking has challenged the leasing market is the reduction in demand for smaller serviced office suites – ones that were initially designed by landlords with start-ups or growing businesses in mind.

Coworking gives real flexibility to businesses to expand and contract their space to align with their business growth. We have SME clients looking for a permanent home with access to all the facilities they need without the overheads. We have large corporates which need extra space to house temporary project teams. And then we have overseas or interstate businesses that are looking to move into a new market. The higher utilisation of space, lower cost structure and ability to tap into shared innovative work spaces at Flexispace enable the agile style of working that businesses are looking for.
The rise of coworking in Australia, Flexispace, Sydney
Coworking Office Space, Flexispace, No. 1 Martin Place
Sydney Coworking Space, Flexispace, No. 1 Martin Place, Meeting Rooms

The future is flexible

The rapid rise in coworking is likely to continue into the future. By 2030, real estate services firm JLL predicts that 30 percent of all office real estate will be classed as “flexible”. This coincides with the growth in Generation Z and Millennial employees – predicted to be 75% of the workforce by 2030 – who seek dynamic, flexible and tech-enabled working environments.

A 2015 Harvard Business Review study reported that the sense of autonomy and the space for personal expression are some of the things that make coworking professionals thrive.

We see every day how much professionals enjoy working in this environment compared to conventional office space. People love working in different spaces to suit different working needs such as group collaboration, brainstorming or independent work. To experience that sense of autonomy and creativity right here in the heart of Sydney makes coming to work a truly enjoyable experience.
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