- How co-working companies are offering work perks beyond beanbags and beer
- Overseas companies set to rock Australia’s ‘sleeping’ co-working market, expert says
Flexible office provider Victory Offices is set to open its first Perth workplace, with an array of collaborative and flexible co-working spaces, at the Exchange Tower at The Esplanade.
Part of the Melbourne-based company’s Australia-wide expansion plan, Victory Offices has leased 1100 square metres of floor space at level 17 of the tower.
It will provide high-end, yet low-cost options for small businesses, as well as mining and resource companies – with prices starting from $17 a week for the most basic virtual office, which does not include desk space.
Other options are private offices, shared space, hot-desking, co-working, day offices and video conferencing and board rooms.
Victory Offices chief executive Dan Baxter said the flexible office industry is growing rapidly and is driven by an increasing number of small businesses entering the market who were all seeking low-cost and ready-to-move-in options.
He said the Perth market is in need of alternative office solutions.
“Perth is an interesting market. Some agents will tell you that that commercial occupancy rates are very low, but at the same time rental prices are still some of the highest in the country,” he said.
“So we know that businesses are looking for better deals, but that they still want premium quality.
“We see real growth in Perth, through a growing small business market, as well as government, resources and engineering firms. While tenants are conservative with costs, there is still plenty of enquiry – so in that sense Perth was an attractive option for us.
“It’s not practical for these businesses to take out long-term, expensive leases and so flexible solutions are a logical and cost-effective option for them.”
Mr Baxter said “pay-as-you-go” options for telephone, internet, mail and secretarial services were also offered.
“Locations allow clients to outsource all or part of their office requirements, and offer executive, unbranded office spaces, with secure 24/7 access and cutting-edge ICT (information and communication technology) capability,” he said.
Victory Offices’ Perth flexible workplace will launch in June.
Perth market “recovering”
Knight Frank senior director head of office leasing Western Australia Ian Edwards said the level of business confidence in Perth has increased in the past few months, with big and small businesses looking for space.
“The economy is well and truly recovering and while the major resources sector players are expanding, a lot of new players are entering the market too,” he said.
“There has been a lot of net take-up of space, and enquiry has been very strong, particularly at the smaller end.”
Mr Edwards said Exchange Tower is home to some large corporates who are increasingly looking for short-term space for project teams as the economy recovered.
While serviced and shared workspaces occupy a small portion of Perth’s office market, Colliers International office leasing associate director Dustin May said the flexibility they offer are now a recognised part of the commercial real estate market.
“Generational change is impacting on Australia’s workforce and Perth is joining in on this transition.
“A cohort of flexible office providers has been operating in Perth for some time but the recovering WA economy is generating more interest from big players in the sector who are exploring opportunities here.”
Colliers International office leasing director Daniel Taylor said there is currently a shortage of smaller, ready-to-lease office space in Perth.
“As demand for office space recovers, quality, fitted out offices have been the first to lease. The ability to relocate quickly and smoothly into a new office is highly valued, especially by smaller businesses that frequently operate on tighter time frames,” he said.
Mr Taylor said start-up and small businesses have traditionally been the main users of flexible office spaces.
“There has also been demand for serviced and shared workspaces from companies that reduced their office space during the downturn and those wanting to secure short-term office solutions while they wait to see how quickly WA’s economy recovers.”
Other flexible workplace companies in Perth include Spacecubed, Regus, Liberty, Servcorp and The Executive Centre.
There were many operators within this growing sector; 72 per cent of new office leasing deals over 500 square metres in Perth last year were on existing fitted spaces, CBRE office leasing advisory and transaction services senior director Andrew Dennyall said.
Savills WA office leasing director Shelley Ritter said Perth’s flexible office industry is growing rapidly, largely driven by a generational change with tenants desiring less formal and more collaborative working environments.
“Different providers have their niche markets. The well-established providers tend to service more corporates and mature businesses seeking a corporate presence. The newer providers tend to attract more start-ups and a younger workforce,” she said.