Blog - Commercial
COMMUNITY AT THE HEART OF COWORKING POPULARITY
Once the domain of creatives, coworking spaces are now home to a broad range of industries, from technology and professional services to start-up and freelancing communities.
Growing from just 75 coworking spaces globally in 2007 to an estimated 14,000 by the end of 2017, individuals and organisations are enjoying the many benefits that come with being part of a flexible workspace, as opposed to a fixed traditional office.
What is coworking?
Coworking is a membership-based concept where multiple freelancers, independent professionals and organisations share a communal working space. More than just a room full of strangers, coworking is about joining a community of like-minded professionals whose unique skill sets can be shared, and may even complement, other members.
Building a coworking community
Ask anyone who has worked in a coworking hub, and they will likely tell you it’s the sense of community and collaboration that makes working in this type of working space so appealing.
Before these hubs existed, freelancers, small businesses and other business owners would often base themselves in their home, local coffee shop or small private offices. Today, coworking spaces provide people with more opportunities to network with other professionals, generate new ideas and grow their business through referrals – all under one roof.
But it’s not just independent workers or start-ups who are using these spaces. Larger organisations are also seeing the benefits of coworking, using the concept to provide a flexible and productive working environment for remote or work from home employees.
It also helps that many coworking spaces offer amenities to make the working experience more enjoyable. Some of the perks include:
- Professional workshops
- Social events
- On-site cafes and bars
- Games rooms
- Open plan feel
- Meeting rooms
- High-speed Internet
- 24/7 access
Add inspiring office designs and great locations to the mix, and it’s no wonder coworking spaces are being embraced by people all over.
The local scene
In Australia, the coworking scene is growing at a rapid pace – confirmed by the fact that we have the highest number of coworking spaces per capita worldwide. There are currently over 300 spaces, up from only 60 in 2013.
Major coworking spaces such as Hub, WeWork, Spaces and Fishburners are leading the charge with locations in multiple cities across Australia. However, smaller share spaces are also proving popular.
One of the newest boutique spaces on the Sydney scene is Here Coworking, based at 5-11 Harris Street, Pyrmont. The studio occupies the former CSR sugar mill, one of the last remaining heritage warehouse buildings on the harbourfront. With floor to ceiling windows offering masses of natural light and stunning views of the harbour, one can see how creative thinking would flourish.
Here has a ‘free range’ open studio approach, where its members work on oversized desks in a generous light-filled space.
“Fundamentally our focus is on our members first,” said co-founder Karen James. “We have invested in space, large desks and a perfect mind, health balance to assist people in being productive. The better people feel, the more productive they are.”
TGC sales & leasing agent, Eric Lundberg, who negotiated the leasing package including an upgrade of the building said: “This classic warehouse building has all the attractive features so sought after by creative industry tenants – complete with water views. Coworking environments meet an obvious and growing need in the commercial office sector, and Here Coworking has created a beautiful space to share.”
Coworking: A threat to traditional office space?
While coworking will continue to become more mainstream, there will always be a continued need for traditional office leasing. This is great news for owners of commercial property, with even more opportunities to utilise their spaces for multiple purposes and a variety of tenants. However, commercial property owners, particularly strata owners, must consider coworking as a new competitor and make changes to stay competitive.