Small business, big thinking: The rise of co-working

A new tribe of freelancers, coined ‘Office Nomads’, are finding their freedom in connected co-working hubs. 

Little City Studio, Adelaide. Image courtesy: Little City Studio

When it comes to collaborative working environments, it’s no wonder that entrepreneurs and freelancers in search of partnerships, inspiration, and access to fast broadband are gravitating towards co-working hubs across Australia.

This growing group of business owners have been termed 'Office Nomads’ by KPMG Demographer Bernard Salt.

Salt explains how these Office Nomads are reinventing the traditional office norm of the nine-to-five job in pursuit of a freelance career, setting themselves up in flexible and creative co-working spaces - many of which are connected to services over the nbn™ network.

“With 16 new Australian solo-businesses popping-up every day, the growing flexibility of the Australian workforce provides ideal conditions for start-ups to take the plunge and get their business idea off-the-ground. This new tribe of ‘Office Nomads’ are no longer confined to a traditional workplace, as they move from job-to-job pursuing their passion while being inspired by likeminded entrepreneurs,” Salt says.

“Whether you’re a tradie, creative, consultant or accountant, access to fast broadband and a flexible work environment will enable you to be more productive by taking control of where, when and how you do business.”

Parliament Co-Working, Hobart. Image courtesy: Parliament Co-Working

Progressive co-working spaces have been exploding across the country and are harnessing fast broadband to foster creativity, embrace flexible working hours and help cut down on costs.

They generally accommodate solo or small businesses and provide a mix of rooms, workshops and event spaces.

But that’s not to say all co-working spaces are the same.

Each co-working hub is different, and ultimately dependent on the co-workers that occupy the space.

Psychologists, designers, start ups, yoga instructors… the list is endless and each unique industry and individual’s personality impacts the make up of that co-working space.

The psychical locations can also vary greatly. From reclaimed warehouses to desk spaces for rent in existing offices, there’s even a renovated fire station being used as a digital hub in Ipswich, Queensland!

Photo courtesy: Firestation 101

There are now more than 140 co-working spaces scattered Australia wide, and this trend is only set to grow.

These locations stretch from capital cities to regional towns, providing space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators to adopt co-working as an alternative to the traditional office norm.

There are now more than 140 co-working spaces scattered Australia wide, and this trend is only set to grow.

These locations stretch from capital cities to regional towns, providing space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators to adopt co-working as an alternative to the traditional office norm.
There are now more than 140 co-working spaces scattered Australia wide, and this trend is only set to grow.

These locations stretch from capital cities to regional towns, providing space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators to adopt co-working as an alternative to the traditional office norm.
There are now more than 140 co-working spaces scattered Australia wide, and this trend is only set to grow.

These locations stretch from capital cities to regional towns, providing space for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators to adopt co-working as an alternative to the traditional office norm.

Bec Mutch, co-founder of The CoworkCo, Melbourne. Image courtesy: The CoworkCo

Check out below a selection of nbn™ connected co-working hubs that are taking advantage of access to fast broadband to support their members.

  • NSW – Creative Fringe (Penrith) – a shared office space in a converted warehouse designed to support collaboration amongst consultants, small business owners, freelancers and commuters.
  • QLD – Firestation 101 (Ipswich) – with state of the art digital infrastructure, it is an innovation hub that supports start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators
  • SA – Little City Studio (Prospect) – a passionate collaborative working space with a focus on supporting artistic, community-minded and professional service small businesses.
  • TAS – Parliament Creative Co Working (Hobart) – an open plan working space, which fosters professionalism and a sense of community where members can build relationships.
  • VIC – The Cowork Collective (Brunswick East) – a boutique co-working, workshop and event studio designed to support those launching a solo business with connection and resources.
  • WA – The Makers (Mandurah) – a social enterprise offering creative shared work spaces, committed to raising awareness of social innovation and entrepreneurship

More and more Australians with small businesses are turning to co-working spaces for their online activities, thanks to fast broadband over the nbn™ network. Check out why and how enterprising Aussies are ditching the cubicle in our special blog series.