Innovations in technology combined with disruptive platforms and the sharing economy for everything from shared office space to shared transport are changing the way we work, live and ultimately the way our cities and transport infrastructure is built.
Changing How We Travel
Right now, the largest disruption to the automotive industry since the petrol engine replaced the horse and cart is underway. Ride sharing from the likes of Blablacar.com and distributed hire cars from GoGet.com and carnextdoor.com.au mean that private transport doesn’t mean you need to own a car. If you do own a car, then it is no longer a depreciating asset, rather owners are generating revenue from their vehicles through platforms such as Uber.com and Lyft.com. In fact, forget working as a driver to generate a yield from your car… simply buy an automated driverless vehicle, have it drive you to work then instead of parking, send it off to earn a crust as a taxi before driving you home! Perhaps a little while off, but carparks will become a thing of the past and we are heading towards significant transport and infrastructure changes as a result.
Indeed, the concept of going to “the” office will for many people change over time. When it comes to remote working, there is already a considerable amount of software around to make collaborating with teams as effective as if they were located in the same room, and there are a number of advantages to having flexibility in where employees are located. Workplace flexibility avoids concentration in large central offices and brings its own rewards to a firm’s bottom line, using existing space a lot more efficiently. Increases to headcount don’t have to result in finding new larger premises, and with a surplus of desk space, businesses are renting them out through workspace sharing platforms such as Rubberdesk. Like the unused car, a vacant desk is a revenue generating asset earning businesses thousands of dollars.
Earning From Sharing Space
Every business with an office has traditionally had the dilemma of renting sufficient space for today and risked outgrowing it, or carried the cost of unused desk space sitting idle. Now through the new breed of sharing platforms such as Rubberdesk.com, businesses are sharing spare desk space by the month with other like minded businesses. And it’s never been easier. With a short term licence agreement provided, insurance for peace of mind and payment processing taken care of, Rubberdesk.com has made it easy to find the perfect business to share an office with.
The benefits speak for themselves, with the average desk around Australia able to earn $6k -$7k a year, that’s a lot of spare cash sitting unearned when businesses ignore it and it soon adds up.
For the business renting the space, the savings are equally large, as sharing with another business provides both flexibility and savings of up to 20% when compared to using serviced offices.
It’s Not Just About the Money
While the savings for both sides of the market are substantial they are not the only benefit of sharing office space. Every company should be intent on being the “hirer of choice” in order to attract the best talent. Offering employees flexibility about where they live and work certainly goes a long way to giving employees what they desire, and it really is a win-win for employees and employers. When an employer is flexible about where staff work, hiring the best talent on your team no longer has to be restricted to finding the best talent who is capable of commuting to your office. The talent pool just got global!
There’s no doubt that working amongst others has enormous benefits, not only in terms of productivity but also for the social rewards and friendships developed (they’re not called work“mates” for nothing). That’s why many people choose to work from shared office spaces instead of working alone from home. Coworking spaces have grown in popularity and have sprung up in city centres as well as the suburbs and in effect cater to both ends of the commute – businesses without a city presence might use them in town on an adhoc basis for client meetings or bringing the whole team together, and use them out of town for the rest of the time as a flexible alternative to having their own office space.
How we are able to work today looks very different to what was possible just five years ago, and with technology enabling changes at an ever faster pace, in just five years time, the biggest change required might be in our attitudes to work.
Jim Groves is the founder of Rubberdesk.com, the marketplace for businesses to share office space with other like minded professionals and businesses.