There are an estimated 130 co-working spaces spread across Australia but as a sector, it’s pretty disjointed.
At Sydstart in Sydney today the heads of Australia’s co-working spaces had a meeting to discuss how co-working spaces across Australia can unify through an industry association.
It’s about time. The industry is all about building collaborative work environments but hasn’t really created a collaborative ecosystem for themselves.
In the meeting representatives from Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart were beamed in while in the room was the head of Hub Australia Brad Krauskopf, Tank Stream Labs reps and Fishburners GM Murray Hurps.
Discussing where the industry is at, Hurps jokingly said the group should be called: “The association for furniture assemblers”.
It’s joke which he said highlights a problem in the sector: it’s not just about the space, it’s about building a community around the space.
This isn’t the first time an industry association has been flagged for the sector but with an explosion of spaces in the past 12 months the bosses today put the idea back on the table.
Reps in the room said there are plenty of opportunities for a clunky old-school industry association or a loose network in terms of referring users to spaces where they would be best suited and setting up a national platform for co-working.
One rep said having a bureaucratic structure could sap some of the vibrancy out of co-working.
While others said forming a peak body is a way to grow the community together and deal with regulatory issues as a unified force.
Although how the association would work, who would lead it and what structure it would take were all points left unresolved.