Co-working spaces – The new way to work
The rise of the co-working office space is more than just a hip new way to do business – it’s proof that sharing your work place is also good for a healthy state of mind.
From open floor plans and movable walls to friendly couches – the new world order has communication at the core of its business practice. It’s the antithesis of the usual office set-up where traditional cubicles, rows of desks and workbenches once ruled the common layout.
In the land of company downsizing, outsourcing and freelancing, co-working spaces have gained momentum in a bid to be a friendly place to base yourself and meet other like-minded business individuals.
Those afraid to commit to long leases or want to ‘try before they buy’ will find co-working beneficial – the concept is ideal for the free-spirited wheeler and dealer who want to nest today and be gone tomorrow.
The perfect place to start
Many start-up businesses are opting for co-working hubs to group their employees while existing in a larger community. There’s a sense of camaraderie and it beats working from home where discipline and meeting others is difficult.
When Iolanthe Gabrie decided to base her Melbourne social media agency Ruby Slipper within a co-working hub seven years ago, it wasn’t so easy to find a place. These days the options are endless for anyone wanting to lease in a co-working environment.
“Co-working meant shared costs with other freelancers and entrepreneurs. This is a big tick when you’re in start-up,” says Iolanthe Gabrie. “It’s a place separate to the home office to work and meet with clients.”
Gabrie says co-working spaces provide a sense of community, support and the potential for referral business.
Based at The CoWork Co in Brunswick, Gabrie describes the environment as a creative, beautiful and quirky space, which aligns perfectly with her company.
“There’s music, conversation, sharing and laughter: it’s a happy place to be,” she says.
“Being based from a co-working environment means small businesses are not cocooned which is a real risk when choosing to put a small team into their own premises,” she says.
“Co-working also means shared costs and pooling resources, which is great for any business’ bottom line. By being inherently collaborative spaces, co-working environments encourage the cross-pollination of ideas and sharing of expert knowledge.”
Ruby Slipper shares the co-work space with a variety of professionals from TV writers, finance brokers, website designers, copywriters, a marriage celebrant, a start-up tech business, an energetic healer, a graphic designer and a coach.
“I don’t think you need to be in a creative business per se to enjoy co-working – but you need to be an open-minded person who doesn’t mind other people’s noise and isn’t antisocial,” says Gabrie.
A US employee software firm OfficeBlog conducted a study last year looking into the benefits of co-working. It found that 70 % of those who worked in this format felt healthier while 64 % were better able to complete tasks on time while 91 % had better interactions with others after their co-working experience.
Location, location, location
The majority of co-working offices exist on the inner fringe of cities like Melbourne and Sydney. It’s where an abundance of converted warehouses or factories are reinvigorated to appeal to the hip looking for an alternative atmosphere for that 9 to 5 grind.
“As the freelance economy continues to grow, co-working is a healthy way to develop your business, avoid isolation and enjoy learning by osmosis,” says Gabrie.
“It’s great for teams and individuals, and Ruby Slipper have no plans to change the environment we love working within as we continue to grow,” she says.
Interior designer and business entrepreneur Daniella Balschiet and her husband Marcus have just launched 1 Inkerman St in St Kilda – a co-working business space that’s aimed at bringing like-minded individuals together.
The location is pitched to those who work in fields such as the arts, fashion and design and photographers looking to congregate with other individuals. But of course it’s not limited to that – those who are looking to branch into a yoga or Pilates studio or even an architect would find the interiors and space appealing.
“We are fortunate to have a rather large space and it helps that we are interior designers,” says Daniella Balschiet who also dabbles in jewellery design under the name Goldie.
“We have been creative with the use of materials used to define spaces and keeping in mind that the intention is to provide and continue to provide a harmonious and feel good work space for our members,” she says.
Healthy for your hip-pocket
Balschiet says co-working suits those who don’t want the headache associated with overheads. “You have no lock in lease term, no utilities or outgoings,” she says.
Last November, a study by Knight Frank for Hub Australia indicated a 25 per cent difference in the cost of a traditional 60-person office, leased for five years, and a 60-person space co-working licence – $819,600 compared with $612,000 a year.
Whether you’re an individual looking to hot desk or set up more permanently, co-working business models are proof they are better for your bottom dollar.
“Apart from the work aspect, the after work social interaction is an added positive,” says Balschiet.
“We want to create happiness in the workplace and redefining the meaning of a day at the office.”
Images: Breeana Dunbar Photography
You may also like