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Co-working brokers emerge as the sector grows quickly

November 8, 2018

WeWork expands to North Sydney at the end of 2018 as the sector booms. Photo: Supplied

Flexible workspace broker The Instant Group is negotiating two new “head leases” to accommodate the “flexible” expansion of two financial services groups in Australia, as flexible working and co-working office demand boom in Australia.

The group’s business volume has risen 30 per cent each year in the past 10 years of operation, not just because of the rise in co-working spaces like WeWork, but the rise of organisations who choose to “flex”, that is, the signing of shorter leases without the risks of assuming any fitouts or investments.

The two leases are 1000 square metres each.

Brokers like the Instant Group not only help businesses find the best lease deal among the 250 co-working centres in each of Sydney and Melbourne, but they are also now in the business of taking on head leases, paying for fitouts, providing a bespoke office solution and handling all lease negotiations. Businesses pay them a fixed fee for a sub-lease.

The number of co-working spaces is growing at a rate of 12 to 13 per cent a year, the group’s latest APAC Flex Market report said.

There are now 8600 centres across the Asia Pacific region, which is growing faster at 16 per cent a year.

“Flexing has risen traditionally because many businesses have been burnt by long leases. But now with flexing, companies can move and expand quickly,” director Tom Fleming said.

“They want more agile spaces … and not necessarily just for cost savings.”

“Australia uses brokers for finance, for insurance, for holidays… why not co-working as well?” he said.

The “flex workspace”, which includes co-working spaces, allows workers to operate from more cost-effective spaces in any location, not necessarily the CBD, which may be expensive to commute to, according to the group’s report.

“This, combined with the vibrant start-up culture in these markets, means that co-working and flex workspace provide a robust alternative to office markets that can be prohibitively expensive to all but the most well-established corporate firms,” the report said.

While the Instant Group takes on head leases, it does not run any co-working spaces.

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