With the shared economy forging into our everyday lives and share offices are taking over the commercial property space right around Australia, it is crucial to ask whether clubs can learn anything from this latest trend, and how can they create a revenue stream from the new way people work.

Suburbanite founder and director looks into this for us and answers this question, with a big ‘YES’! Clubs can make money from this and 100% should be. Not only is it an alternate revenue stream, it utilises the club’s dead spaces and engages them with the local business community at the next level” says Porter.

Anna Porter says “the shared economy is here to stay, so, it is important to analyse how it works, what the benefits are and if it has a place in the club’s world. We are changing the way we work, so, can clubs become a solution to the growing problem of employees being displaced by their employers and clients growing desire to meet consultants closer to where they live and not in the CBD, as we have traditionally seen?”.

To add to that, says Porter;

“Hot desking, roaming consultants, solopreneurs who work from home and shared open plan office spaces have become popular with business in recent years, as organisations try and save money on real estate space.  However, many employees aren’t a fan of having no fixed desk, going to people’s homes all over the city for meetings or hot desking with their colleagues. Going to client’s homes can pose safety issues too, so solopreneurs and roaming consultants are always looking for professional and suitable options outside of their CBD office to hold meetings or work from between meetings, as an alternative to their own home or client’s homes”.

“The open plan and hot desking working environment has reportedly created some disharmony with staff. Recent studies have shown that open plan offices can lose people up to 28% of their ‘productive time’ through regular distractions from other staff,” says Porter.

“Some organisations around the Sydney CBD have so many staff all crammed into open spaces and hot desks that it becomes a first in best dressed scenario, but if you get in too late (like your actual start time) or you are out at meetings first thing and get to the office late morning, you don’t have a desk. This surely can’t be good for staff morale and low morale increases the businesses risk of losing key people,” claims Porter.

There are currently more than 400 ‘co-working’ and ‘shared office’ spaces listed on the online marketplace Office Hub for rent in Sydney alone.

Large top 100 companies are adopting the trend and Optus has recently launched a ‘university like campus’ in Macquarie Park to house employees in an open-plan space as they too are feeling the pinch of affordable space in the CBD.

In 2013 one of the largest organisations in the world kicked off a shared office hub development with Apple’s venture in Cupertino, USA. It is the largest office precinct on the globe, designed to house 12,000 employees in one building.

“The estimated budget started around $3 Billion, but the final figures are estimated to be up around the $5 Billion mark,” says Anna Porter.

Whilst this sounds like a staggering number, it represents less than 2% of Apples cash reserves, and for a company valued at $900 Billion in Feb 2018, this build is relative to the size of the organisation.

“Apple park is an approx. 260,000 sqm floor space laid out in a giant ring, with curved walls 4 storeys high, constructed from the largest panes of curved glass in the world,” continues Porter.

Considering the Sydney CBD has seen a 46.9 per cent increase in the flexible workspace market in 2018 it is obvious the model is starting to take over commercial real estate so, how can clubs cater to this emerging market?

According to Porter, Clubs have all the facilities at their fingertips to provide coworking spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices for local businesses to leverage as they need. Including onsite parking which is a rarity these days. Putting them in a position to help big business get their employees out of the CBD in into the suburbs or create a great meeting environment for professionals. Even simply offering a few meeting rooms and board rooms that can be booked at a local club will be appealing to solopreneurs, roaming consultants and sales teams.

“In this day and age, businesses are finding that their clients want to meet with their staff at all hours of the day and night and want the consultant to come to them. Businesses are having to look outside of the ‘box’ or the ‘office’ to satisfy the way we work in 2019.  So if every local community has a club, there is a strategy for clubs to engage with local business to bring these meetings and business activities into their clubs. The right structure around this can better utilise a club’s ‘dead spaces’, create more membership for the club, and if done right can create reoccurring revenue for them to provide ‘meeting and business’ memberships that allow access to meeting rooms and boardroom facilities,” finishes Anna Porter.