Co-working spaces have flourished in recent years, including on the Northern Beaches and in Manly, driven by a rise in flexible and remote working arrangements.

While there have been some well-documented struggles for co-working companies like We Work, demand for co-working space in Australia and the Northern Breaches remains strong in 2024.

As a result, an increased number of landlords have been making their office space available for short term rent and crowding the market, one reason cited by We Work’s for its recent poor performance.

Add to that, reduced remote working opportunities and an increased requirement for workers to attend the office at least a few days each week, means that there should be plenty of spare desks at your local co-working space in 2024.

The Benefits of Co-working Spaces

Despite the ups and downs, co-working spaces are here to stay, and for good reason. They offer freelancers, contractors and 1 – 2 person small businesses a fantastic opportunity to scale their business without committing to long-term leases or investment in services such as internet, printing, power and plumbing.

Co-working spaces also present opportunities for businesses to network, collaborate and drive business growth, with many also acting as “startup incubators”.

Co-working Space Downsides

Despite their benefits, co-working spaces have downsides too, with many businesses citing key issues with noise and privacy, as well being unable to build a unique company culture to attract both staff and customers.

These issues make certain business types or industries simply unsuitable for setting up in a co-working environment, according to Northern Beaches and Manly commercial real estate firm Pine Property.

“Businesses in finance, law, real estate, and other sensitive industries are less suitable to co-working spaces and often transition to their own office fairly quickly if they start out that way,” Pine Property said.

“Conversations in these industries are often private, which makes open plan working environments unsuitable. Client perception is also crucial in those verticals and people may question how safe their information is in a shared office environment.”

We often come across situations where businesses’ have relocated from serviced offices and secured their own private office space due to over heard business ideas being leaked to third parties. Quite often like minded industry professionals group together to secure an office unattainable by themselves.

For other businesses, the noise is the problem. It only takes one loud talker, or a group of people conversing to make meetings problematic or impact productivity.

Culture Wars

In a bid to help businesses drive workplace culture, companies like We Work offer free beer, ping pong tables, and other social activities.

“For the solopreneur or two to three-person team, this can be a great way to improve the employee experience, however once a business grows, then generally they want to develop their own unique culture, rather than tap into the culture of the co-working space”, Pine Property said.

The Benefits of Your Own Office:

Moving into your own office is a transformative moment in any business ownership journey. It delivers you with a unique sense of identity, helps you turn your business into a brand, and often seeds a new drive to grow and succeed.

Productivity will likely increase with less distractions, while attracting staff and winning customers should be easier with a business that has the appearance of being more stable. Renting your own office will likely cost more than renting one in a co-working space, and you will have less flexibility and longer leases, so your business should have a decent trading history and/or financial security.

“Be sure to ask key questions about the lease, understand what internet speeds are available, and negotiate a market incentive with the landlord to ensure you have sufficient time to get established.”

If you are struggling to justify the increased rent, one option to consider is to purchase an office with your superannuation, and lease it back to your company.

That way your retirement fund is your landlord. If you are looking at securing an office on the Northern Beaches, please view Pine Property’s current listings here.