The future is all about flexible work spaces

A few years ago, people weren’t sure what co-working was all about. Today, many believe it’s the future.

The set nine-to-five working day has become a cliche more than a reality; we need to fit work in when we can and some people prefer to work after hours.We’re always on the go – travelling more but often needing to work from home.

We may have a great business idea but don’t want to fork out for permanent office space in case it doesn’t take off.

In short,we need flexibility. This is what co-working offers. A desk sometimes (or all the time), at any hour of the day or night in cities around Australia, with professional meeting rooms for clients if and when we need them.

So logical is the shift to co-working that flexible workspaces – including co-working and serviced offices – could take up 12 per cent of all commercial office stock in Australia by 2030, according to a global workspace provider.

Co-working can make for strange bedfellows in office kitchens and shared lounge areas as people in diverse industries find themselves working ‘pods apart’.

However, Nous House, which offers spaces in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, believes in the power of such cross-pollination. Since 2016, Nous House has been helping small businesses, professional service firms, project teams, consultancies, not-for-profits and independent professionals to thrive.

Each space is co-located with Nous Group, Australia’s largest, independently owned management consultancy firm.

‘‘Our members are professionals seeking a great place to get their best work done,’’ says Anna Chandler, general manager of Nous House. ‘‘We have a diverse range of really interesting businesses working alongside each other, from sole operators through to satellite offices for huge multinationals.’’

Each Nous House is in a centrally located, A-grade building.Modern, bright, purpose built spaces are able to accommodate between 40 and 70 seats. There are ‘hot desks’ for part-timers as well as lockable offices for one to 20 people. There are open plan areas, as well as quieter, more private spaces. The facilities are impressive: tech enabled meeting rooms, design labs and
sophisticated communal kitchens.

‘‘Each of our ‘houses’ are smaller than many co-working spaces and, given that,we see a real sense of ownership here,’’ says Chandler. ‘‘Our members tell us they love working here, and that their clients love coming here.’’

Members are also aiming to save money. In a co-working space there’s no need to hire your own receptionist, cleaners or bring your own furniture. Nous House’s all inclusive contracts include unlimited Wi-Fi, generous meeting room, printing and photocopying allowances, as well as fruits, snacks and coffee machines.

‘‘Our memberships are truly inclusive – there are no hidden costs,which gives our members peace of mind for their budgets’’ Chandler says.

Another benefit of co-working is the capacity to grow or shrink space use as a business changes, and the short-term contracts at Nous House allow small businesses to constantly reassess their needs.

‘‘We work with our members to scale up and scale down as their projects demand,’’ Chandler says. ‘‘If workloads are high and more space is needed,we make it happen – and vice versa.’’

Today’s work demands a modern take on the workspace. Co-working enables people to work when and how they want, she says.‘‘You really can work how you want to,’’ Chandler says. ‘‘We have members working in different states week in,week out, late at night or just a few times a month. We offer a really flexible option that works with what the individual member wants. Co-working just works. It really is the new normal and fast becoming the workplace of choice.’’

As featured in the Sydney Morning Herald | Thursday July 25, 2019