Mention “co-working space” and most people already have an idea of what that looks like.
Perhaps it’s dishevelled young men speaking code and playing ping pong, or perhaps it’s artists and architects sitting among creative mess sipping posh coffee.
The fact is both scenarios, and many more, are true. The co-working leasing market is on the edge of an explosion and in doing so is catering to a variety of industries, say experts on the scene.
Finding the right space
“I don’t think there are any downsides to co-working,” said 41-year-old Taylor Tran, consultant and author of Innovation Melbourne – a guide to shared offices.
“I think there’s an opportunity for different co-working spaces to own different spaces in terms of culture and brand.”
Taylor Tran, consultant and author of Innovation Melbourne a guide to shared offices.
Tran has spent months researching various co-working spaces, and believes there are thousands of people who depend on more than 70 spaces in Melbourne.
“Some are quite artistic and creative, while others cater to different stages of business growth,” he explained.
“Some are really cool and based purely around freelancing where as others, such as community-led co-working space Inspire9, are basically tech-heavy incubators for start-ups.”
Tran had a 20-year career in the corporate world before stepping away to consult. In his hunt for places to host meetings, he found co-working the hard way.
“It didn’t even occur to me at at the time to Google hubs, and I thought maybe there were only five,” he said.
Work or play?
One co-working space which is owning the premium end of both real estate and culture is Work Club, founded in Sydney but now with a Melbourne office.
Creator Soren Trampedach selected Collins Street in Melbourne and Elizabeth Street in Sydney. The Sydney office has already established itself with a well-heeled clientele, which has been designed for “diversity”.
“A lot of people think the space is exclusive,” he said. “There’s more than 50 different industries represented in our office and that’s because I believe in this age of great change, we all need different perspectives.”
Soren Trampedach’s Work Club has been designed for diversity, with more than 50 industries represented in the company’s offices.
Danish-born Trampedach has designed working environments for Google and Microsoft and views Work Club as a blend of “work, leisure, retail and hospitality”. To this end, the space offers yoga, meditation and naturopathy.
“This is not a 9-5 space and it is reflecting the blurred reality of our lives,” he said. “We just found our that 40 per cent of our meetings are between members, which shows just how much cross-collaboration is happening.”
Despite avoiding the exclusive label, membership for Work Club begins at $500 a month and can go up to well over $1000.
Co-working is taking over Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, too.
Creative hub Salt Space in Brisbane’s New Farm is the heart of the start-up precinct but offers reprieve from the intensity of that world.
Tom Cameron and Anne Slee at Brisbane’s Salt Space. Photo: New Farm Village News
Reflecting prices in New Farm, a monthly membership at Salt comes in just under $500.
“The original founders ran a design firm and were just sub-letting extra office space out,” explained manager Tom Cameron, who also runs IT firm Mooball Technologies.
“Then slowly over time, they developed a strategy and built up a culture.
“Most of our tenants are creative in nature, we’ve got architects and artists but not so much tech.”
Innovation Melbourne will be on sale from June 16.
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