BizDojo partners Jonah Merchant and Nick Shewring spoke earlier this month in Brisbane at the launch of the report ‘Digital Work Hubs: An Activation Framework for South-East Queensland’.
About 100 people representing the public and private sector, investors, operators and general community attended the launch event, which was the culmination of an extensive research project by Regional Development Australia (RDA) agencies covering the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Logan/Redland, Brisbane and Gold Coast areas. The Digital Workhub Project (DWHP) research examined in depth the opportunities and challenges for establishing a network of digital work hubs across the South East Queensland study area.
Jonah and Nick discussed the BizDojo learnings from establishing and operating a network of coworking spaces in the New Zealand environment, and the opportunities these learnings identified in the Queensland context.
A key focus in Queensland has been around the lengthy commutes facing many of the 200,000 workers in the regions who travel to Brisbane each day. In some cases, these commutes are as much as two hours each way, ranking South East Queensland as one of the worst globally in this regard.
Leveraging the ability of digital work hubs to support teleworking, so that staff can work remotely in a 'third space’ environment separate from the office or home is a strategic goal for Queensland with associated benefits identified in terms of individual wellbeing and productivity, and regionally with infrastructure savings and regional economic growth. The value add of these benefits to the region are significant, with the DWHP research identifying that an 8-hub model in a region could generate over AU$150mill value annually in productivity gains, reduced infrastructure costs, and other indirect value adds.
The DWHP has been a fantastic initiative, bringing substantial rigor and analysis to assessing the economic benefits of coworking and similar shared workspace environments, and the BizDojo team has been excited to be able to contribute to this growing body of knowledge endorsing the concept.
The full report is available online and is well worth a read, with plenty of insights equally applicable in both the New Zealand and Australia contexts. Check out also the full press release on the launch event here.