Coworking in South Australia – helping to make business better

Coworking is synonymous with startup entrepreneurs, but there is a great opportunity for corporates to benefit from the networks and hive-mind of the innovative tenants who share coworking spaces.

An important part of CoworkingSA’s mission is to increase awareness of coworking amongst people who may not be familiar with this way of working. Better to increase awareness with them, rather than spend time marketing to uni students, software developers and entrepreneurs who are already well aware of the benefits of a share desk office model.

One of the ways we increase awareness is by engaging with industry groups, government, councils, and other entities who control a large database with a different demographic profile to our own. Once these groups are identified, we establish how their customers would benefit from coworking, and find ways to make coworking part of the conversation.

We’ve been fortunate this year to develop a strong relationship with BDO Adelaide, one of the country’s largest accounting practice networks. BDO produces an annual State Business Survey, and in 2017 they included questions in relation to coworking, with some promising results. The report said:

“Co-working is increasing in popularity not only among startups, but also among established businesses who are looking to collaborate and to introduce a different perspective to their staff’s work routine.”

From a sample group of 130 businesses (predominantly with $2–20 million turnover and more than 20 staff), 50% of respondents were open to coworking. This means 65 businesses in SA would consider coworking.

Only 9% currently use coworking spaces, so we have an opportunity to increase uptake significantly, and have a positive impact on their team culture, networking ability, community connection and innovation capacity.

Source: South Australian State Business Survey 2017

BDO commented, “Co-working presents opportunities for both new and established businesses. Most co-working spaces have a unique theme or focus, for instance professional services, software, export and creative disciplines. These spaces present larger organisations with opportunities to use co-working as part of the overall office accommodation mix for staff. Tactics such as rotating staff between a co-working environment and established premises can be a means to broaden thinking and develop culture and networks.”

“…rotating staff between a co-working environment and established premises can be a means to broaden thinking and develop culture and networks.”

The endearing candour of South Aussie business leaders shows through in the survey. The respondents paint a picture of what it’s like to do business in SA, and what they think is needed to drive business forward in our state.

“Whilst governments generally are easy targets, the key to growing our economy is for all tiers of Government to set a policy environment that gives business the courage to invest, innovate and take risk. We need to be brave, bold and aggressive and the time is now”

“The State needs a long term plan that both political parties buy into (it’s a big ask).”

“The Government must look at placing more work with local companies even if marginally more expensive.”

Thanks to BDO, CoworkingSA now has a baseline from which to build on next year. Our inclusion in the South Australian State Business Survey 2017 lets us measure the impact of our ongoing education efforts to the South Australia business community.

Adelaide is a world-leading destination for innovation, supported by 30+ coworking spaces.