The Future of Work: Why shared spaces are just the beginning

Susie Stokes

The rise of the freelance or gig economy has fuelled a new type of workplace and we are more focused on where we work, how we work, and the skills we need to work, than ever before. And, while the introduction of shared spaces has driven a new type of work culture and personal expectation, we believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the future has in-store.


Advances in technology, have seen an increase in remote working and a new type of worker, also known as “the digital nomad”. With Freelancers on the rise and technology enabling them to work from literally anywhere, the relationship between work and traditional offices is changing.


However, now that people aren’t necessarily required to go into an office to be productive, why have we still seen a rise in shared workplaces at the same time? People are flocking to shared spaces because working alone can be restrictive for creativity and ideas.


Leonardo da Vinci proved this in the 1400s; he was overtly very conscious of who he surrounded himself with because he believed diversity of thinking elevated his works.


And da Vinci wasn’t wrong. Work Club Global, a company that offers co-working space in Sydney and Melbourne shares a similar ideology when it comes to collaboration. Work Club fosters a community of people across industries from artists and athletes to academics. They both cultivate and nurture their diverse members with their own conversation and event series, called the Florence Guild.


“Diversity is the key to opening our hearts and minds to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new ways of working and new ways of being,” says Work Club founder and entrepreneur, Soren Trampedach.


Not only do shared workspaces foster diversity of thinking (when done right) but they also provide flexible short-term solutions. They’re also a valuable way to attract and retain talent due to the concerted effort on the human aspect of work – and the needs, wants and personalities of members.


The future of work is not just constrained by workplace related disruptions, but other industries can create a ripple effect, for example, the car industry. In the not too distant future driverless (or autonomous) cars could make people willing to commute longer distances.


Driverless cars are already hitting the roads (in test scenarios), and when they are mainstream, it’s posed that anyone could more valuably use their commuting time to work while the car drives. Similar to long haul flights today, many executives use it as a time for uninterrupted work.


This is testament to the fact that already our working population are thinking differently about how and where they operate. With this emerging workplace expectation, the need for shared workspaces is growing and evolving to support a collaborative style of working.


Soren explains that Work Club is not simply just a shared working space, but an evolved co-working solution to a change in culture – it’s more than just a desk in a building providing an address and receptionist.


“We cultivate and grow our communities to help spread ideas and enrich the larger group.”


And shared working spaces are more than just a solution for the digital nomads, they also help landlords with underutilised spaces and corporate tenants who have signed a long lease but no longer need the whole floor(or building).


But, if this is simply just the beginning, then what might we expect of the future? What will this future of collaborative working look like?


Shared workspaces alone will not be enough, and we’re already seeing a trend where people are combining co-working with co-living. Co-working spaces of the future could be fully functioning ecosystems encompassing all areas of work and life – with workspaces, gyms, apartments to rent, a bar, and retail.


The future of working together is changing and we need to redesign work for technology and learning. But, we also need to remain contextually aware of what workers both need and want, and that likely relates to creating more human-centric experiences where members feel included, valued and find purpose within their chosen community.


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