The Bulletin

Coworking founder predicts industry will expand to new and blue collar

  • Written by Tess Sanders Lazarus

According to Jenny Folley, traditional white collar dominated coworking and private office spaces are being adopted by blue collar workers across the country.

Jenny Folley is the founder and managing director of the family-run @WORKSPACES, Australia’s leading premium brand of coworking and private offices.

Coworking and private office spaces contain a number of separate businesses that work independently in their own spaces, but share common spaces and resources. @WORKSPACES has locations across Australia as well as overseas and sites are located in city as well as suburban areas.

“COVID-19 has disrupted the Australian business landscape more than we realise,” Folley said.

“Coworking spaces and private offices are set to boom, credit to the ramifications of COVID-19. Non white collar businesses and professionals are looking to move away from fixed cost leases to work spaces that offer flexibility, scalability and access to a broad range of services and resources without the lock-in long term contracts.

“A lot of businesses are starting to realise that you don’t have to own your own space to be relevant.

“White collar workers have long embraced coworking spaces and more recently, coworking and private office spaces in suburban hubs. COVID has really forced people to think about working close to home. Trading the hustle and bustle of the city, extortionate parking fees and tedious commutes, for an affordable, convenient suburban hub – it is a natural choice.”

According to Folley, coworking spaces are creating new collar workspaces – where any type of shirt is welcome.

“Coworking spaces are shaping up to be the perfect post-pandemic fit for all small to medium size businesses across the country. They are also ideal for large businesses seeking to establish flexible spaces for new divisions, mobile workforces and project teams,” Folley said.

“With many blue collar roles coming from small businesses, bouncing back from COVID-19 will require many industries to reduce their overheads by seeking out alternative tenancy options.

“Coworking and private office spaces offer conventional blue collar workers the opportunity to consolidate with a cheaper, more flexible space that will still allow them to work with their standing client base.

“These types of spaces will future-proof trade jobs across Australia by offering each small business tenant access to their own secure, socially distanced workspace.”

According to Folley, this set up is ideal for an array of blue collar industries.

“Imagine a space where jewellery makers and watch technicians could utilise state-of-the-art large bench spaces to perfect their art, hairdressers could own their own chair and work when they wanted, and IT specialists could set up a one-stop-shop to consult with clients and bounce ideas off other neighbouring experts,” Folley said.

According to Folley, this arrangement can also be utilised by healthcare professionals who want a flexible workspace or private consulting room separate from the hospital. Physiotherapists, dieticians and podiatrists are just come of the health practitioners embracing the benefits of this contemporary workplace layout.

“We are actively looking for more sites as well as suburban sites. We believe COVID will push more businesses into adaptable and flexible low risk work environments like coworking and private office spaces,” Folley said.

“I think we are going to see more diversity in the professions adopting coworking and private office spaces. They are going to become attractive locations for a broader range of businesses.

“Our TOK corporate centre in Toorak is already home to many health and wellness services including: cosmetic, physiotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, dentists, doctors and so on.”

@WORKSPACES is a premium service provider of coworking and private office workspaces that are strategically located in cities as well as suburban hubs - and near fitness centres, parks and dining and shopping precincts, so business clients are able to maintain a healthy work/life balance and enjoy all the benefits of a fully serviced office.

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