Hubs pop up as hot property - The Weekend Australian

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Shared office space is proving popular for a growing group of professionals. The Weekend Australian spoke to our cofounder Jacqui Esdaile, who commented on the growing number of professionals who are using Gravity to run their consultancy business from. Read here for the full text, and we'd love to know if you would use a coworking space such as Gravity? If yes, what companies have you worked for previously? Join the debate. By Verity Edwards, in the Weekend Australian Professional Section, Page 51, 14.11.2015

The Weekend Australian spoke to our cofounder Jacqui Esdaile, who commented on the growing number of professionals who are using Gravity to run their consultancy business from. Read here for the full text, and we'd love to know if you would use a coworking space such as Gravity? If yes, what companies have you worked for previously? Join the debate.

Co-working office facilities are opening rapidly throughout central business districts in the nation’s capitals, and despite the hype surrounding the start-up community and its needs, more professionals are turning to communal hubs as an alternative to working from home or crowded offices.

Gravity, which operates coworking hubs in Sydney and Brisbane, will open a third space for up to 200 people in Melbourne next month. Co-founder Jacqui Esdaile says 75 per cent of those who use Gravity are white-collar professionals, in contrast to many other co-working spaces that attract start-ups and graduates.

“They’re professionals that are working for blue-chip companies like Deloitte and Deutsche Bank,” Esdaile says. “They’ve been in the workforce for 10 or 20 years and they’re consulting back. They’re not start-ups. They want a space they can bring people into for meetings, they’re equating it with high-end offices.”

Professionals aged 35 and older — Gravity’s market — want a central office with no overheads, a receptionist, boardroom, meeting spaces and 24-hour access. They do not want to work from home, and co-working suits.

Esdaile says most of the professionals who use Gravity arrive by 8am and leave by 4.30pm, rather than popping in and out.

They share knowledge, collaborate, use kitchen facilities and pay $900 a month — much less than the costs associated with leasing space or taking out a business loan.

Gravity’s users fit with the increasing number of professionals using co-working hubs in the US.

A Harvard Business Review study in September found people who used co-working hubs had higher levels of collaboration, there was less competition among workers and people were more focused. Using a shared, independent office also meant study participants had a structured day compared with working from home. Users recorded a higher rating on a scale of how much they thrived, compared with those who worked from home or in general offices.

With co-working become popular, American giant WeWork is looking to expand into Australia next year. The hub network was founded in 2010 and is worth $5 billion.

Hub Australia has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and other companies are sprouting in office buildings and lofts in every major city.

Servcorp, which has 150 coworking sites in 22 countries, has eight locations in Australia and offers virtual space as well.

But while co-working spaces may be convenient for short-term use, Servcorp chief operating officer Marcus Moufarrige says users need to think about their long- term vision and whether these spaces will allow small companies room for growth.

Moufarrige says businesses need to think about the repercussions of joining such a specific “cliche” to co-working — of funky workspaces and bright colours — and whether it will suit them in several years.

“The future of co-working and its success will be highly dependent on the supplier’s ability to be more than just a provider,” Mou- farrige says. “They need to be a partner, a consultant, an enabler. They need to enable the growth of their clients and provide their clients with the tools to see success.”.

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