Co-working figures strong

| May 10, 2019

If recent Victorian Government figures are anything to go by, co-working is far from a fad with the co-working space sector growing a staggering 960 percent over 3 years, according to Launch Victoria.

In addition a recent study by IWG of over 18,000 professionals in 96 countries suggests remote working globally is becoming increasingly popular. The figures also suggest that right across Australia, 50 per cent of employees are now working remotely for at least half of each week and two thirds of permanent workers in non-co-working offices spend at least one day each week outside their traditional office.The changing nature of work due to technology, and demands for worker flexibility are contributing to unprecedented growth in the Co-work space sector.

Of all the co-working businesses operating nationally, Melbourne is home to almost half of them.

For CoWork Me’s Managing Director Rob Materia, the days of co-working operators relying on location alone are gone. According to him, creating a vibrant community is now an important ingredient. “CoWork Me is different because we’re not about creating silos, we’re about community. Our space focuses on connection – and that’s something you don’t get working from home. With shared spaces, partnerships and events, we’re enhancing innovation, ideas and interactions.

“The range of industries and people who use our space are massively diverse here. For example, we have unique eCommerce startups like Minimal Glitter, a company that specialises in biodegradable glitter for face and body applications, right through to Ola, an international ride-sharing company.

Ola chose us to boost local operations, and have taken on a larger space, however we have others who choose to move around the building as a hotdesker. The beauty of co-working is that it can be completely scaled up or down – it’s incredibly flexible.”

Creative Partner and Digital Art Director Brendan Moore has been co-working since summer. As a startup in the Digital and UX field, he likes the energy a co-working environment brings.

“Our company The Animals has certainly benefitted from the co-work approach. As someone collaborating with a range of outside teams – in ad firms, marketing consultancies and client organisations, I’ve found having passionate people around you can be a big motivator. Here you’re surrounded by some very hard working people with big ambitions for their businesses. They want to grow, and that becomes contagious.

“The events at CoWork Me we’ve attended have covered topics such as obtaining grants, new business thinking and entrepreneurialism. Mixing with others you get to find out all kinds of information and that helps you set your own goals.”

Emily Wallace has found co-working agreeable not just in terms of facilities but also in developing contacts. Her buyer’s advocacy business is aimed at taking the stress out of purchasing property.

“The networking aspect has been very beneficial for me. I made a connection with a partner who is going to help me develop an ebook. If it wasn’t for co-working I wouldn’t have met any of the people in the space had I just worked from home. Before starting out on my own I was always working in a team environment and co-working replicates it. Being in the property industry I work Saturdays, so being able to come through to the office day or night with secure parking, print off items and prepare client material quickly is really handy.”

Currently small businesses account for 98 per cent of Victoria’s total businesses with 2770 currently active startups and scale-ups currently in operation. Victoria is now home to 6 ‘unicorns’ with a market capitalisation of over $32 billion. For those with the right ideas and a dedicated hardworking approach, the payoff of starting small and going big can be immense – and being surrounded by other like-minded individuals in a co-working space can be a great motivator to help you go for it.