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Jun 28, 2017

The future of co-working

by Imogen
Imogen Baker
Copywriter & Social Specialist
“A man's memes are his own business”

Imogen creates premium words and terrible jokes. The jokes are free but the words will cost ya. Her journalism degree from QUT and years of industry experience in copy and journalism give her mad writing authority. Her love of dorky memes dilutes this, but only a little.  She can often be found wearing overalls, eating cheese, and having heated debates about the dangers of uncovered urban wells.

She kindly asks her colleagues to please stop hitting table tennis balls at her.

Lightcreative  Imogen  V2

Coworking in Melbourne has been growing exponentially since its debut in 2007.

Hundreds of coworking spaces have opened since the first, spanning from the CBD to the outer reaches of the city limits. Coworking is a momentous trend but is it just that? A trend that will peter out and return us to traditional hierarchical and closed-door office spaces or the evolved form of working? We’re inclined to believe coworking is the future for most of us, especially those in the creative industry, as it allows a more interactive mode of working, and here’s why...

Design for coworking is the future of office design

Design for coworking is the ultimate user experience challenge and generally conforms to the needs of the user. In this way, coworking design is best practice for all offices.

So, what are they doing right? Good coworking spaces feature a variety of spaces, that follow the gradient from completely private to open and collaborative. It’s all about variety. Within those spaces, the freedom to customise seating arrangements is also important. A lack of privacy (leading to frustration and a drop in productivity) is a criticism often leveled at the open plan office model. But adaptable, varied spaces and mobile workers are the answer.

There are other design features championed by coworking spaces that will soon become industry standard for all office spaces:

  • Traffic flow - traffic is evenly dispersed and corralled with furniture placement;
  • Light - a balance of natural and artificial light. Artificial light must have variety (dimmer switches and mobility);
  • Ergonomic furniture - this should be a given but it’s often not. While sleek wooden stools and milk crates look cool, there’s a reason the Platonian form of a chair has four legs and sturdy back. Office chairs don’t look great but you try sitting on a milk crate for a day and then decide if you want one;
  • Green space - studies have found the more plants, the happier your workers will be - and up to 15% more productive. And plants help to reduce Co2 and other airborne pollutants, increase humidity, and reduce dust levels.

More startups means more coworking spaces

Coworking and startups are a match made in heaven. Well, a match made in Silicon Valley where, three decades ago, both revolutionary theories of working developed side by side. Still today, startups thrive in coworking spaces. The cross-pollination and free flow of ideas, while rubbing shoulders with mentor startups at different stages of development, is crucial for a successful startup. And with so much necessary infrastructure shifted to the cloud, young startups are free to find a coworking space to suit their needs.


Freelancers need a place to call work

In the creative and technical service fields, we’re noticing a surge in freelancers. The freedom to define your own hours and hustle that free market is appealing for so many reasons. But freelance life is also lonely and, increasingly, sole traders and freelancer are flocking to coworking spaces to networking and gossip in equal measure. 

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Coworking spaces are better for hiring than LinkedIn

Creative agencies and services (like us at Light Creative) are also naturally drawn to the prospect of inhabiting coworking spaces. We work from, and run, our own coworking space (Framework, check us out!) for many reasons. Firstly, we got to custom-build an office that we like and that meets our needs. Second, we get to fill it with cool people who make coming to work a delight. And thirdly, we get to meet and get to know creatives who often join our agency family or industry network. And fourthly, most importantly, we constantly throw great parties. 

While coworking is still working out a few issues, it’s looking like the future for office layout design. And as the workforce changes with an influx of millennials, and working patterns change in general, coworking will no doubt be evolved further to suit the needs of a new generation of workers.

If you’re interested in the history of coworking in Melbourne, check out our article on the subject. And if you’d ever like to challenge us to a game of table tennis, we’re at Framework from Monday to Friday.

Light Creative is a Melbourne-based creative, content, and digital agency.