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Rouse Hill Town Centre is one location for a smart work centre. Rouse Hill Town Centre is one location for a smart work centre. Featured
14 July 2014 Posted by 


Smart work hub locations selected

By Anthony Stavrinos

THREE suburbs in Western Sydney have been selected as locations for ‘Smart Work Hubs’, offering commuters alternative work locations closer to home, the NSW Government has announced.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner announced the three Western Sydney Smart Work Hubs under the NSW Government’s $1.5 million pilotprogram will be located in:
•  Rouse Hill Town Centre – managed by GPT Group;
•  Oran Park Town – managed by Greenfields Development Company in partnership with Urban Growth NSW, in the centre of Sydney’s fastest growing town; and
•  Penrith – managed by Penrith City Council and located in the Penrith CBD.

Mar Stoner said the three projects would be up and running by the end of the year and would operate for a minimum of 12 months.

“A ‘Smart Work Hub’ is a facility or space that offers workers an alternative to working in their normal place of work or working from home – teleworking from a ‘third space’ that is usually focused around large commuter populations, like Western Sydney,” Mr Stoner said.

“About 33 per cent of workers living in Western Sydney commute outside the region for work.

“Anyone who has had to fight their way through peak hour traffic, or experienced long commutes to get to their work place, should be excited by the huge potential of this initiative.”

He said new work practices and high speed broadband were changing the way people operated in the knowledge economy and NSW had much to gain from taking a leading position in the emerging landscape.

According to building industry news and analysis website, www.sourceable.net, each Smart Work Hub will cater for corporate clients, small businesses and casual users such as freelancers.

It says each site will support a teleworking environment and will offer high speed internet, video conferencing facilities, meeting spaces and on-site tech support.

“While the spaces will be formal, they will offer a community-based environment, social opportunities and a shorter commute for local suburban dwellers,” the website says.

A 2012 Harvard Business Review report said experts project that within a few years more than 1.3 billion people will work virtually, whether by freelancing or by working in a co-working environment.

“Not everyone is cut out for the isolation of a work-from-home lifestyle,” Sourceable says.

“Work hubs offer an opportunity for workers to connect, be productive and have increased work/life balance due to a smaller commute while also taking a much needed load off their state’s infrastructure.”

Mr Stoner said that by establishing Smart Work Hubs in western Sydney, the NSW Government aimed to accelerate the many economic and productive benefits of using technology to support smart working practices.

As part of the pilot scheme, the NSW Government will collect data and feedback from users of the ‘Smart Work Hubs’ in their first 12 months of operation, to better understand user demand, successful operating models and the benefits for business and the NSW economy.

According to UTS’ Institute of Sustainable Futures, the work opportunities in the suburbs chosen will be driven by a significant increase in the rate of teleworking and demand for new types of workplaces.

The researchers assert that for “knowledge workers – professionals, managers, administration and clerical workers – work is increasingly defined by performance and a physical presence in the office is no longer essential.”

While individual workplaces are opting for designs that offer campus style open plan offices and collaborative spaces, Smart Work Hubs are more strategic, offering workers across different companies and industries a chance to work under the same roof.

They also allow people to work close to home no matter where their employer’s office is located.

“By reducing the amount of peak period travel workers undertake to key centres, even one or two days a week each, the community benefits from the reduced demand on the transport systems. This eases the supply pressure on government,” the research report states.

“The public benefit is sizable and significant enough to justify active support by state governments of teleworking generally and smart work centres in particular.”

The study also suggested Smart Work Hubs offer financial benefits, as teleworking can save workers more than $32 per day and save the public between $4,000 to $5,500 per year, per teleworker.


Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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