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August 27 - Business Advice - Culture

South Yarra Accountants and Is A Co-working Space Right For You?

The future is here and we’ve left the good old traditional office spaces behind us, moving into another co-working space in South Yarra (adding to our existing Narre Warren and Perth locations). Co-working is a membership-based workplace where individuals or businesses can work together in a shared setting. We aren’t the only ones who’ve cottoned onto it – co-working spaces are the fastest growing office solution on the market right now; as future-thinking accountants, we’ve been all aboard this particular train for years, but as soon as we took a tour of our new South Yarra space, we knew we’d found our next location. 

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work and increased the demand for flexible office spaces, especially for small to medium sized businesses. From the flexibility to community engagement and networking opportunities, there’s a lot of incentive to jump on the coworking bandwagon. Introducing our homebase – The Commons

The Commons have seven locations across Australia, but we settled on Melbourne’s vibrant cultural hub – South Yarra, right next to Chapel Street. As unconventional accountants in every way that matters, we were thrilled to move into a coworking space that shares many of our values and offers our team an alternative to a conventional office, and a much needed escape from WFH if they need it. 

Why we love working at The Commons South Yarra

  • Flexible working arrangement: Work-life balance is very important to us. We want our superstar team to have a dedicated work space they can access 24/7, while also having the flexibility to work from home. Bill Gates once said several years ago that companies that give their employees extra flexibility will have an edge as the competition for talent increases. We’re all over it 
  • Cost efficient: There’s no pressure of long term lease, there are lots of amenities on offer and we don’t have to pay any occupancy costs like wifi, water or electricity bills. There’s also flexibility to find the right membership for you and your business, such as having an open desk, a private office or a dedicated desk
  • Workspace options: Co-working spaces are equipped with a variety of rooms to fit our every need, whether it’s a quiet room for focused work, or a meeting room for team catch ups
  • Networking opportunities: Unlike our accounting industry’s reputation, as people-focused chatter boxes, we love a good event. Co-working spaces like The Commons South Yarra organise regular networking events where we can meet other like-minded businesses and share our expertise. It’s a community with lots of avenues for new business opportunities

The amenities and enviable perks:

  • Functional: Maker space, flat lay studio, podcast studio, workshop room 
  • Wellness: Open air garden, sunken lounge, sensory room, wellness programs
  • Workspaces: Private meeting rooms, casual meeting rooms
  • Fun: Table tennis and pool table. Weekly events such as sip and paint, coffee tastings and speed networking

Five benefits of coworking spaces

According to Global Coworking Growth Study 2020, the number of coworking spaces is projected to increase to over 40,000 worldwide by 2024. More businesses are adapting to flexible and remote work practices. Why are communal spaces gaining so much popularity? 

Cost saving 

Traditional private office spaces can cost a few thousand dollars a month, not inclusive of ongoing costs like building management, internet, electricity etc. You also have to commit to a long lease period. Coworking spaces are much more cost efficient as you don’t need to pay occupancy costs and you can choose which membership type and length best suits your needs. For example, you can pick a hot desk, a permanent desk or a private office. 

Increased productivity 

The workplace is designed to have a variety of options to accommodate your working styles and needs. For optimal productivity, we need the ability to change up our scenery throughout the day. In a recent survey by Hana, 69% of office workers revealed that they are more productive when there’s a variety of workspace options. Coworking spaces also tend to have ergonomic furniture, which is critically important as people connect comfort with productivity. 

Job control 

There’s more flexibility in when and how you work. Coworking offices are open and accessible 24/7 so you can decide how you use the space. You can skip an office day and work from home, go to work at noon and stay until late, or take a break during the day and hit the gym. You get to decide. The flexibility gives you the ability to take control of your work-life balance. There’s also options in where you work, whether it’s in a quiet space or at a shared table. 

A sense of community 

Connecting with others is a big reason as to why people pay to work in a coworking space instead of working remotely for free. In a 2020 Loneliness and the Workplace Report by Cigna, 61% of Americans reported feeling lonely at work. On the flip side, another survey revealed that people who work at a coworking space reported higher levels of thriving, averaging at 6 on a 7 point scale, a point higher than employees who work at regular offices. 

Coworking spaces focus on cultivating a unique experience that meets the needs of their community and build a culture that resonates with their members. Even though you’re surrounded by people, socialising is not forced. There are opportunities to meet others through regular networking events, social events and workshops, but you choose when and how you interact with other community members. Research found that knowing there’s a potential for interactions when people want or need them is one of the things that make them feel a sense of identity within the community. 

Meaningful culture

With little direct competition and a culture of helping each other out, people can thrive in their own work identity and offer their unique skill sets to others. The social mission inherent with coworking spaces embodies the values of community, collaboration, learning and sustainability. When you pick a coworking space, you’re not just going to work, you’re going to a community where you share similar values. 

Five things to consider when picking a coworking space

Even though coworking spaces originated from freelancers and entrepreneurs, they’re a great option for small to medium sized businesses. Whilst we love The Commons South Yarra and would highly recommend it, there are a lot of choices out there. Before you settle with one, here are some things to consider when you’re weighing up your options. 

Space 

If you can, always book a tour to see the communal office. Seeing the facilities in person will allow you to evaluate whether it’s got the workspaces you need. Everyone works differently so if you need spaces for focus in private, like booths or quiet zones, make sure the coworking you pick can accommodate them. Top tip: according to research, focused work in distraction-free spaces can lead to more inspiration, an important element in our creative process. 

What kind of building access are you looking for? If having 24/7 office access is important to you, check that the coworking space has this option. 

Location

There are over 100 co-working spaces available in Melbourne alone so your options are vast. Do you want a space that’s close to a train station? Perhaps somewhere with a lot of cafes and restaurants nearby? A space that’s closest to your home? Make a list of your requirements. 

Cost

We can have a list of wants and needs but at the end of the day, whether you can afford it or not will often make the decision for you. What type of membership are you looking for? Once you’ve made a decision on whether you need an open desk or a dedicated space, you can then compare the prices of your preferred co-working offices. 

Amenities 

The best part about shared offices, other than the five benefits we listed above, are the amenities. Co-working spaces are equipped with standard amenities such as WiFi, kitchens, meeting rooms and conference rooms. What are your non-negotiables and what are your wants? Perhaps you’re a working mom who requires childcare, or you’d like wellness amenities like a yoga room and a ping pong table. Some co-working offices even have a photography studio or an outdoor garden. When you have so many options, you can really be picky and find a place that brings you the work-life balance you’re after.  

Vibe check 

Most co-working spaces will likely have similar open-plan layout and facilities. Once you’ve identified the amenities you want and picked the location, it really comes down to the general vibe and the people you want to surround yourself with. What values are important to you? Does the space share your values? For instance, there are spaces that are specifically designed for startups, tech ventures or women-led businesses. 

There are a lot of pros to co-working spaces so it’s not surprising that they’re gaining more and more popularity. Big companies like Spotify and PayPal are also incorporating co-working into their business strategy. Co-working helps individuals and businesses thrive, but only when you find the right space for you. 

Got questions? Keen to have a chat? As always, don’t hesitate to reach out.