Flexible office spaces in prime locations allow professionals and small businesses to share facilities and ideas.
Co-working is booming, as small businesses and professionals discover the benefits of renting prime office space in top locations while cutting costs, increasing flexibility, improving productivity and expanding business networks.
New co-working space Nous House, powered by leading management consultancy Nous Group, offers all these benefits plus co-location with Nous Group and a network of offices along the eastern seaboard, in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.
The founder and managing director of Nous Group, Tim Orton, sees Nous House as an extension of the firm’s philosophy of ‘‘performance and positive influence’’.
‘‘Nous consultants are expert, collegiate, innovative,’’ he says. ‘‘These qualities are a distinctive part of our culture and we’d like to share that by having similar businesses working alongside us.’’
A co-working provider acts as a middleman in the property market, entering into a long lease with a commercial landlord and sub-letting small offices and hot-desk spaces to tenants. By assuming the risk of filling the floor, the provider liberates the tenant from locking into a long and expensive lease.
In late 2016, Knight Frank Research established that a desk in a Sydney co-working space ranged from $7600 to $11,000 a year. A desk under a traditional lease in prime CBD space cost from 27 percent to 57 percent more.
In a co-working space, a business can scale its space commitments up or down according to requirements. Michael O’Driscoll, Nous House Australia’s CEO, says: ‘‘Many members have a mix of offices and individual desks. If they want to bring in a project team for six months, they don’t have to go and negotiate with the landlord.’’
Co-working tenants reduce overheads by sharing costs. Nous House tenants pay one membership fee, which covers rent, reception, Wi-Fi, cleaning, maintenance, kitchen, fruit and newspapers. Importantly, says O’Driscoll, ‘‘There are no further outgoings, and none of the administration costs or professional fees from accountants and solicitors normally associated with leasing office space.’’
A co-working space is a fully functioning office, not an empty shell. The Nous Houses feature sleek modern office design, indigenous art and greenery, so no initial fit-out is required. And if a tenant decides to move on, there are no big office-removal expenses or ‘‘make-good’’ costs.
While co-working may have started out in warehouses on city fringes, it has matured into a sophisticated ‘‘workstyle’’ option in prime precincts. The Nous Houses are located in Margaret Street, Sydney; Collins Street, Melbourne; Queen Street, Brisbane; and Marcus Clarke Street,
Canberra. All are close to transport hubs and top flight cafes and restaurants.
‘‘Nous Housers’’ have access to all four spaces 24/7 and enjoy complete control over when and where they work. The ‘‘end of trip facilities’’ such as bicycle racks, lockers and showers add convenience for members, whether they are making a local commute or arriving from interstate.
A growing body of research shows that employee engagement increases when people are immersed in a lively office environment. Professionals who juggled deadlines and distractions in a home office, or struggled with unreliable Wi-Fi at the local cafe, know well the gains that can accrue from working in a stimulating, collegial atmosphere.
At Nous House, O’Driscoll says: ‘‘Individuals can move around different areas within the space, from a small office to an individual desk to a break-out space for informal meetings.’’
Nous House is unusual on the co-working scene in that Nous Group shares the floor with Nous Housers. This stimulates the cross-pollination of ideas and encourages collaboration.
Orton says Nous House ‘‘gives members an association with Australia’s best management-development consultancy. We are the anchor member of the community, which
Has a strong professional services buzz, and we believe that we bring to it a distinctive and positive
The Nous House setting hosts a community of minds, with interaction encouraged by formal events such as ‘‘[email protected]’’and serendipitous exchanges.
Penelope Cottrill, a Nous Group principal who specialises in leadership and organisation development, says some Nous Housers are already part of the Nous network, and the firm has benefited from bringing them in closer. ‘‘We can draw on the additional capability of our Nous House colleagues, ’’she says. ‘‘There are the shared opportunities, and the kitchen hub conversations that open up a business opportunity.’’
Nous Houses are in the midst of the four cities’ downtown districts, so the sophisticated life of the CBD and inner city is at their doorsteps. It’s only a short walk to the lectures, performances, exhibitions and social events hosted by Australia’s top ‘‘think tanks’’, professional associations and cultural organisations – the bodies that represent potential clients and employees.
This article was first published in the Australian Financial Review, April 2017.