April 29, 2016
The number of flexible workspaces is growing in Australia, which has seen a 15 percent increase in new serviced offices and co-working spaces opening in the last year, according to data from Instant Offices. But the country still has some way to go when compared to other major international destinations for business, with only 300 such offices in total compared to more than 3,000 in the US alone. During the relative economic uncertainty of the past year – with growth limited to 2.5 percent however, Australia is now witnessing the growth of a “contingent” workforce. Small businesses of four employees or less make up more than three quarters of the total market, and considering that in two of the country’s commercial markets, Sydney and Melbourne, the typical entrance to the market has been via fixed lease of seven to 10 years in length; the agility offered by flexible workspaces is gaining in appeal.
Instant Office’s research suggests that the growth of big-name tech companies in Australia is also a key indicator that flexibility in obtaining business space will become a growing trend. The names of Twitter, Apple, Amazon and Atlassian are starting to become buzz words in the property world. Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that with the large proliferation of small businesses, the office market would benefit from providing more flexible workspace solutions, which align with their requirements.
Sean Lynch, Managing Director at Instant Asia-Pacific, said: “We have seen in other established markets that the number of SMEs is growing and that they are occupying office space in a very different way. They want to collaborate, and interact with other businesses to generate ideas and new business. And many large tech firms also mimic this behaviour.
“It is the dual trends of collaboration in the workplace, and also the need for business to be more agile, that are driving a change in the way that business space is being procured. This is borne out the growth in co-working around the world and this is a trend that is really starting to pick up in Australia.
“Start-ups and new entrants to the market do not want to commit to long-term leases as it is impossible to predict growth for the medium to long term in this market. They want to occupy the best spaces in the country’s cities – offices that attract and retain employees – but do so on their terms and without the need to sign a long term lease.”