The Explosive rise in collaborative workspaces
Recent research from Knight Frank showed the number of co-working spaces in Australia grew by 297% between 2013 and 2017, representing 0.6% of the nation's office stock. It has been enabled by improvement in technology that allow workers to collaborate effectively from different locations.
Coworking powerhouse, WeWork, is quickly moving into servicing larger organisations with 500+ Enterprise Organisations being the company’s fastest-growing sector globally, currently accounting for 40% of memberships.
ATDEC National Sales Manager Australia & New Zealand, Dan Fletcher, says instead of technology being purchased by businesses because they feel like it’s something they have to do, now it’s something they need to do for people to collaborate and work more effectively, efficiently and productively.
“Aesthetically, that changes the look and feel of the office,” Fletcher says. “You can utilise that space more effectively for things like quiet spaces and thinking spaces.”
Creating an office ‘haven’
The rise of smart devices also means people can hold much of what they need for work in the palm of their hand and this has led to the office being thought of as a haven. “There’s a need to create an office space where people want to come to spend time with their colleagues,” he says.
“It’s my experience and the general experience of people we speak to, that the best work gets done face to face, so they need to provide a welcoming environment where the technology fundamentally works, it’s easy to use and it doesn’t detract from getting the job done.”
The role of AV providers
AV providers are increasingly becoming an important part of the design stage directing focus to what the smart workplace looks like and how they can be active in that space from a very early stage of a building or a workplace design.
Another growth area is in managed services, Fletcher says. “You spend thousands and thousands of dollars on these [systems] and you want to make sure they’re working at their optimum.” They have implemented
platforms for monitoring spaces and gathering information about whether the technology is working effectively and to proactively manage any issues.
He says clients are “seeing the value of having a managed services partner looking after AV systems and networks because they know how important those networks have become”.