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CEO Grant Philipp. CEO Grant Philipp.
28 February 2018 Posted by 

Ditch the commute: Emerging trend of co-working spaces takes hold

WORKERS in Western Sydney are ditching the arduous commute to work and opting for a desk in a shared office.
The emerging work trend of co-working spaces and smart hubs is booming as a new generation of small businesses, start-ups and freelancers swap the traditional office and commercial lease for a shared workspace.
 “The trend back in 2014-15 was to be (in a co-working space) in the CBD or fringe but in 2017-18, there has been strong interest from regional hubs across Greater Western Sydney,” said Grant Philipp, chief executive of Office Hub, a website for finding and listing shared and serviced offices and co-working hubs. 
“Shared spaces offer flexibility for businesses who simply don’t have the ability to commit to longer term space.
“They love the shared facilities and the fact that the capital costs are zero and they don’t need personal guarantees and six month bond to secure the space.”
Real estate consultancy Knight Frank said the co-working industry was one of the most prolific changes to workplace design in recent years, putting its growth in the last five years at 297 per cent.
Since its launch in September last year, flexible workspace provider WOTSO has grown to a network of 12 sites, including Penrith.
Marketing and communications manager Jennifer Hancock said the greatest advantage its smart hubs offered was flexibility.
“Not having to commit to a 3 or 5 year commercial lease, particularly in your first few years of operation, takes a big stress off smaller businesses. But for corporates too, the month-to-month is attractive,” she said.
Among its fans are builders and plumbers to app designers and solicitors.
“At our Penrith space there are a number of corporate satellite teams because the space is more convenient than commuting to the city for workers from the Blue Mountains and surrounding areas,” Ms Hancock said.
“We know that location and convenience are major drivers for our spaces but there are other benefits such as presenting a professional business frontage and the obvious networking opportunities.”
Or as Mr Philipp puts it: “Success builds success and passing on the right impression to one's client is what drives confidence and relationships. Walking into your bedroom for a high-level meeting is not going to cut it and coffee shops are so yesterday. 
“Also, it’s a soulless world working from your bedroom and many entrepreneurs need human interaction to brainstorm and survive the early days of a start-up. The ability to strike up a conversation with a co-worker during the day is the part that sole traders working from home love about co-working.”
But the rise of ‘work anywhere’ technology has meant working from home remains prevalent. 
The federal government said about one million people run a business from home however Hills Shire based group, Home Base Business Network, puts that figure closer to two million.
“In Australia, it’s estimated between five and six million people per week work from home in some capacity,” said Jim Taggart, co-founder of the network that connects home based business people and offers support services.
“Technology has been the enabler that has really allowed people to take on different work patterns.”
Office Hub’s Mr Philipp said enquiries for shared working spaces had doubled year on year.
“There is no stopping it from here. Over the next two years there will be double the number of co-working spaces in all markets including Western Sydney,” he said.
Home Base Business Network: www.hbbn.com.au


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