The idea behind co-working is simple – rather than base your small-scale operation from home (with the occasional escape to a café), why not pay a weekly or monthly fee for a desk in a communal office with other like-minded start-ups?
At their best, co-working spaces can foster innovation, provide essential expertise to solo operators and lead to game-changing business partnerships.
There are some potential downsides, such as concerns over sharing intellectual property in large, open-plan workspaces, but we think that co-working hubs are officially A Good Thing.
However, with so many collaborative spaces launching in the last year or so, it can be hard keeping up with what’s available out there.
To help you get a better grasp of this rapidly expanding market, we’ve picked out five co-working spaces from across Australia that you may not have heard of.
1. House of Commons
- Website: http://houseof.co/
- Prices: ‘Drop-in’ rate of $25 a day, with the first day free. Permanent stays start at $400 a month for 12 months.
Launched earlier this year by Marc Katsambis, founder of Koodoz Design, House of Commons is a rather cosy, DIY affair. The space has capacity for 20 people, who are required to bring their own hardware and chairs.
Nevertheless, House of Commons, located in the arty Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford, has a meeting area, a TV for demonstrations, a fully-functioning kitchen, a Playstation and a table tennis table.
A notable resident is tech start-up BugHerd, which raised $500,000 in funding from Starfish Ventures in January.
“The best thing is being able to share information about how to run a business – how to do things effectively and get a lot of inspiration and ideas about the latest trends,” Katsambis told StartupSmart in April.
“It’s hard for one person to retain all that information. If there are 10 or 20 like-minded people, it opens up a whole other world.”
2. The Thought Fort
- Website: http://thoughtfort.com.au/
- Prices: $395 a month, $118 a week or $25 a day.
If you like the idea of taking your business out of your home, but not lose the casual, all-hours approach of working in your spare bedroom, Brisbane’s The Thought Fort could be for you.
Billing itself as “Brisbane’s dedicated 24/7 shared office and co-working space”, the Fortitude Valley-based hub never closes its doors on its eclectic mix of designers, techies, freelancers and consultants that call it a home away from home.
Launched on Valentine’s Day last year, The Thought Fort is aimed at businesses of three people or less. Facilities include printing, desks and chairs, table football, an “awesome” fish tank, a balcony for pondering and, of course, unlimited wireless internet.
Thought Fort organiser Adam Corney told The Brisbane Times earlier this year: “Part of it is [also] if you are sitting at home all you’ve really got is the internet and you kind of get this stir crazy mode where the minute your partner walks home you start begging your partner about their day.”
“Whereas here you’ve got that social interaction and you can ask questions of people and you can just go out for a coffee if you need to come out into the sunshine.”
“You don’t have to come in every day, but if you do want to come in, the space is ready for you.”
Which is true – The Thought Fort currently has 10 spaces up for grabs.