grow. : grow - Edition 4 - May 2017
O nce upon a time arriving at work may have meant hanging your coat on the back of a regulation wheelie chair and settling in for eight hours in a beige office cubicle. Depressing, right? Well, times they are a-changing, and leading a much more aesthetically pleasing charge is the co-working space, a place where hotel-like amenities and architecturally savvy fitouts are as important as a working printer. As more people choose to take up digitally nomadic lifestyles, co-working spaces have become easily accessible hubs from which to base ourselves. The fact that they are globally available and, generally, well-designed only adds to their appeal. But these spaces aren’t simply about free Wi-Fi, ping pong tables and a few scattered bean bags. They are a way to network, show off to potential clients and, most importantly, build a community. Over the past few years, Australian and New Zealand co-working spaces have steadily increased. One company, WeWork, was founded with the mission statement of creating and growing a community. WeWork has become something of a global phenomenon with offices across 36 cities. While WeWork is focusing its attention on creating a global community, Sydney’s The Office Space, took one of its shared workspaces down a more luxurious route with the creation of Paramount by The Office Space. Housed in Sydney’s iconic art deco Paramount House building, this sophisticated offering was designed by award-winning architectural firm Woods Bagot. It comprises 22 private suites, all custom built in American cherry wood and furnished with mid-century design pieces. Jay Chubb, owner and manager of Nest in Melbourne, says that he has found that people come to Nest for its community spirit. “I’ve found that co-working works best when you can create a community,” he says. “Even when there are a number of different businesses operating under the same roof, everyone seems to share a similar attitude, which is key to a harmonious space and allows for organic collaborations.” ‘Community’ and ‘collaboration’ are words that appear in most discussions around co-working, but it was flexibility that was the buzzword in a 2015 survey conducted by Harvard Business Review. After speaking to several hundred workers, the survey not only found that people who co-work demonstrated higher levels of thriving than their counterparts in traditional offices, but that what mattered most to them was the flexibility co-working gave them. Flexibility is something Erin Richards, owner of Happy Hubbub, a Melbourne-based co-working space with on-site childcare, wholeheartedly agrees with. “I opened Happy Hubub in 2015 with the aim to allow parents a more flexible working arrangement as well as easing that commute between home, childcare and work,” she says. “By removing all the parental rushing around everyone who works in the space has commented on how much their productivity has increased. “However, what our members rave about most is the community aspect of the space. Being a new parent can be an isolating and lonely experience, as can working from home. Coming to the Hubbub combines both and can do wonders for a new parent’s mental well-being.” It seems that the key to a successful space is to build it to fit the community around it. And with the number of creative communities across Australia and New Zealand only growing, perhaps it’s about time that more traditional workplaces took note. There’s no doubt that it makes sense, as by giving employees more flexibility and control over their working environment, businesses will only reap the benefits of an increase in the morale of their workforce and a lower staff turnover. ⚫ www.rockend.com.au www.propertytree.com BRINGING THE IDEA HOME Taking its success in co-working spaces to the next level is WeLive, WeWork’s answer to co-living. Choose to stay for up to a month; each apartment comes with its own bathroom, towels and linen so you can retreat to your own space after spending time in the community-driven common areas, such as kitchen, laundry and yoga studio.
grow - Edition 3 - January 2017
grow - Edition 5 - August 2017