The Shared Economy. Shared Services & Shared Ideas.

Wednesday 09 September 2015

The Shared Economy. Shared Services & Shared Ideas.

 As a result we can expect the combination of these trends to directly impact many areas including the physical accommodation requirements of the service and information industries. Where property is concerned, as the shared economy grows so will the use of shared facilities and the trend is already evident.

 Among the first examples of shared facilities were technology based and some-what invisible, now we have examples that are much more seductive.


The Shared Economy Is All Around Us.

Today, according to PWC the five main sharing economy sectors (Lending, Staffing, Accommodation, Car-sharing and Music & Video Sharing) generate $15bn in global revenues, making up just 5% of total revenue generated by the key sectors PWC looked at.

 However, according to PWC by 2025, the leading sectors of the sharing economy could generate a potential revenue opportunity worth $335bn, and by any measure this is an important part of any economy. And ‘sharing’ is not only sector based, it’s a movement that now extends to how and where we all work.


Shared Facilities Take On A New Shine.

As a major cost of any enterprise, companies now expect far more from their accommodation. Office space has moved from the pages of financial papers and magazines into the glossy design and lifestyle media.

 Beyond workplaces that just shelter employees and provide a base for business, how office space is used has changed. In combination with how we all perform our daily tasks, office space is moving to a dynamic asset and one where business, big and small is looking for flexibility.

 What might be a fairly stuffy and even boring subject – office space, is clearly tied into demographic change, sustainability, innovation and the hip word of the day when it comes to enterprise – collaboration. Office space design and function is very much tied into the life of services and information based economies and fits at the very core of how a business operates.

 How office space functions now and into the future can realistically be compared to changes that have impacted almost every industry. One of the trends at the pointy end of the market is the arrival of shared facilities. Shared facilities are very much a part of, and a reflection of a wider trend across economies, where shared resources are rapidly re-shaping many industries and services.

 Dexus Place in Sydney and Melbourne (with plans also for Brisbane and The Porter in Sydney) are just two examples, and they involve some of the property and associated industries heavy weights – including locally Dexus, Lend Lease and Haworth- Asia.


A New Generation Of Business ‘Club’

Clubs, in particular business clubs date back to the 17th Century London to St James where they were originally established by ‘gentlemen’ as a means of escaping their wives and a place that was not caught up by the last drink lock-out of common public houses. Today many of these clubs are more the domain of city based bankers, hedge fund managers and the like, and there is a connection to how shared facilities are positioned and managed.

 It’s immediately apparent in the feel and environment of the two Sydney based examples, Dexus Place and The Porter, where the facility manager is termed as Client Experience Executive, and the tone of the space is up-market, dynamic and tech driven - yet refined and comfortable, like the clubs of old but with an eye for cutting edge design and user facilities.

 As office space evolves (aided by technology) there’s the need for the modern workplace to be anywhere, at home, in the car, in a coffee shop or on a park bench. This is leading to the scrutiny of the traditional, sometimes under-utilised office space, partly because this space is expensive to fit-out, occupy and maintain.

 The physical space is under pressure as there’s a concerted effort to align to how people work, and today that’s in a collaborative, flexible way. While any organisation’s office space needs to enhance employee performance, encourage the exchange of ideas and brainstorming. There’s an understanding that productivity, creative innovation and commercial success are in part tied in with the work-place environment and the user experience, and there’s the realisation that the work-place needs to be very adaptable.


So Exactly What Is Shared Facilities?

A visit to either Dexus Place or The Porter gives an immediate and clear picture of the make up of shared facilities, and while there might be no real surprises, the big catch is how impressive, inviting and lively these spaces are. There’s a clear buzz and a very clear sense of ‘we mean business’ from the very first sighting.

 Shared facilities – meetings, training, conferences, entertainment, work shops, client engagement and doing all of this with flexibility is hard for many companies to accommodate in-house. Then there’s the reality that the cost of high-end conference and meeting space in-house is difficult to justify. And often the demand for these facilities is a feast or famine, and so why not let someone else foot the bill, provide and manage the facilities, while at the same time adding value to a building or a portfolio.


A Great Idea

Shared facilities of this kind are a great idea that fits very neatly with the idea of the shared economy. These facilities also deliver a great mix of modern facilities with the obvious buzz and up-side of an appealing modern and even trendy environment that inspires.

 The combination is appealing and ranges from business lounges (with a leather chesterfield or designer inspired setting) for a chat or lock in a big scale up to the minute tele-conference facility, linked to an equally impressive facility in another city, and gladly there’s more to come as the idea spreads.

 Originally tied to a form of membership or access for building tenants and also tenants who are in the same portfolio of buildings with groups like Dexus the whole idea is still evolving, which is a good thing.

 In the past there were somewhat similar facilities in newly arrived office parks (which at the time where a new idea themselves) mainly due to the fact that these were/may have been remote from such shared facilities were needed to attract users.

 Today however the idea of shared facilities, of the quality seen at Dexus Place and The Porter have been enthusiastically received. And as a result the facilities are very busy and well used. It’s a great idea which hotels use but in a very specialised format, supplied by those who know very well how commercial buildings and office tenants work and this creates a great advantage, and has been supplemented by specific research, great interiors, catering and spiffy technology.

 The atmosphere is very different from the sleepy idea of a gentlemen’s club, there’s an immediate and visible buzz, it’s an idea expertly timed and managed to make the most of this great innovation. Shared facilities are a fantastic idea from every point of view. To have a closer look at Dexus Place visit the web site and for The Porter go to their site