inside J2 coworking

Noosa Is The Place To Collaborate

Image source: IN Noosa Magazine

Junction 2’s annual member survey proves that coworking is becoming more popular across a wider range of industries and working models. Christina Cannes chats to co-founder Gary Swanepoel to discover how co-working benefits everyone.

A recent survey conducted by Junction 2 (J2) Coworking show that members are happier working in a coworking environment compared to at home, a cafe or holiday accommodation, with Noosa Junction taking centre stage for this progression.

“We expanded the space towards the end of 2018 and in three months we’ve nearly doubled our membership,” says Gary Swanepoel, one of J2’s founders.

“Over the holiday season, more than 20% of coworkers were from Melbourne or Sydney who just wanted to get some work done during their stay in Noosa. We’ve seen a big uptake in holidaymakers combining work and play, with an enquiry or walk-in almost every day. Two of these members actually extended their stay for another three weeks, and we’re even starting to see holidaying members from 2017 making the move permanently to Noosa.”

Noosa coworking spaces, including the Digital Hub and Noosa Boardroom, play an important role in our entrepreneurial ecosystem and the local economy.  The lifestyle that Noosa offers is a key selling point to encourage more people to work from this area.

“Coworking is low impact and provides considerable benefits to the local community,” said Gary. “We now have over 30 members in 250m2 of space who all eat, dine, shop and support other local businesses in Noosa Junction. It’s not only sustainable but also relatively unaffected by seasonal trends. The talent that it brings into the area from Australian cities and overseas, including the digital nomads, contributes value to the overall wealth of knowledge for everyone.”

The 2019 survey results indicated an increase in members working remotely from large organisations, with 30% of members working for an organisation with over $5 million in gross revenue. Junction 2 members collectively generate nearly $10 million in gross revenue.

Coworking continues to be a ‘workstyle’ choice but is less commonly regarded as a low-cost alternative (to traditionally fixed office space). Benefits cited by members range from a simple need for a space removed from distractions of the home environment to a strategic decision to leverage the networking opportunities inherent to coworking spaces.

“I work for a global company with offices in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and USA however I’m lucky enough to enjoy flexibility in my role which allows me to live and work in Noosa,” said J2 member Brad Harrison. “The high-speed digital connectivity in Junction 2 means I can be as productive as if I was in one of the company offices. The only downside is it means I travel each month but that’s a minor sacrifice compared to the benefit of being based in one of the most beautiful towns in Australia.”

Coworker families are now the largest cohort, with over 50% of members having a family with young children, most of whom attend the same local schools and kindergarten. The support role this plays for young families has had a huge influence in promoting a healthy work balance lifestyle.

More women are also taking up coworking. Co-founder of J2, Carly Reeves, was the only female coworker in 2014 ‒ female coworkers now represent nearly 40% of all seats.

“We now have a great balance of members at J2, in both professional and demographics,” said Gary. “The shift from a membership very much skewed towards lads to an almost equal count of ladies has been rewarding to see. We never set out to create a space targeted to any specific group or industry ‒ we’re still just as excited to observe the unique dynamic that every new member brings to the J2 community.”

Nearly all members live within a five-minute drive of the coworking space, not unexpectedly one of the major reasons why they choose Junction 2 as it’s located in the heart of Noosa Junction.

Industries represented are evenly spread across all sectors, in contradiction to the common misconception that coworking spaces are tailored to digital and marketing businesses, now only representing just 30% of seats. Membership from the financial services sector is growing as is the architectural & design industry.

When examining members’ preference for coworking, the biggest factors were internet connectivity, lifestyle, friendships, productivity and, overwhelming collaboration, with over 80% of members stating that they either had or wanted to collaborate on a project with their coworkers.

This year, Junction 2 Coworking will be focusing on providing more services and spaces for our members to get their work done. We’re trialling a new podcasting studio this year and planning expansion of our offering to include team working spaces.

Now in its fifth year, Junction 2 continues to provide a relaxed yet professional space to support the productivity and good vibes of our diverse mix of members.

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About the Author /

Christina loves a good story. Hailing from the US, she studied archaeology hoping to unearth ancient sites in Athens and Rome. Instead, she found a way to fund her travel and trekked into the outback crafting editorial for off road and camping magazines. After launching a successful magazine and TV show, she ventured into digital marketing, content creation and published her first novel, New Henley.

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