In the past, inner city employees had no choice but to live near their workplace. They commuted from their home to the office, regardless if each journey took nine or 90 minutes each way.
Then technology made it possible for employers to allow staff to work from home occasionally or even full time. This proved very popular. Today many employees enjoy successful careers and a work-life balance by regularly working from home in the suburbs or surrounding regions.
The telework trend has also enabled employers to scale down their expensive inner-city operations while offering flexible work-style incentives to attract the best talent.
But not every home has room for an office; not all businesses are comfortable relocating commercial activity to their staff’s homes; not every employee can maintain focus at home; and some business activities are best performed in an office.
Final report launched
About 100 people representing the public and private sector, investors, operators and general community attended the launch of the report Digital Work Hubs: An Activation Framework for South-East Queensland on 6 December 2013.
In its nine-point activation plan, the report recommended establishing an activation team, a digital work hub community, building resources and conducting further research to determine the impact on health and wellbeing of digital work hubs and their contribution to broader prosperity gains across the region.
The report’s key findings have demonstrated both the potential demand for digital work hubs across South-East Queensland and established the flow-on health and wellbeing benefits to each region.
Working remotely for a CBD-based employer has many benefits. For example:
- It could boost suburban and regional economies by increasing demand for goods and services from hundreds or thousands of people who would otherwise be in the CBD.
- It can potentially ease congestion and related costs in the city centre.
- It could help reduce the strain on transportation corridors as well as the natural environment.
- It might help reduce stress in our increasingly time-starved modern lifestyle.
Remote working has the potential to help turn the suburbs and regional areas into hotbeds of innovation and help talented workers collaborate.
Commuters may soon have more choice over their work location thanks to new trends and emerging developments in workplace practices. Employees could have the additional option of a Digital Work Hub located in or near their neighbourhood.
The Digital Work Hub concept is the out-of-town counterpart to Cowork Spaces which have recently become popular in cities around the world. Cowork Spaces are shared membership-based office facilities for urban freelancers, CBD-based self-employed knowledge workers and/or inner-city micro businesses.
Digital Work Hubs are located in suburbs or regional areas and serve the remote working needs of commuters and employers. They involve collaboration or relationship building with large, inner city employers interested in enabling employees to use out-of-town office facilities as an additional option.
Four Regional Development Australia committees (Logan and Redlands, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast) are collaborating on this project to investigate creating a network of Digital Work Hubs across their regions.
Employers will have the option of providing staff access to private zones or ‘hot-desk’ beside a diverse range of local freelancers, entrepreneurs, skilled leaders and creative talent. These shared office facilities would be equipped with the latest information and telecommunication technology, meeting facilities and kitchenettes.
During 2013 the Digital Work Hub Project examined the demand and supply of such facilities in South East Queensland through qualitative and quantitative research.
Business, government and community groups are invited to provide their feedback on how regional communities can participate and benefit from new and innovative workplace practices such as Digital Work Hubs.
The Digital Work Hub Project will enable people to work where they want to live, not be forced to live near their workplace.
For more information go to www.digitalworkhub.com.au