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    Working spaces ever more design conscious: Twitter and Spaces’ new Sydney headquarters examples of contemporary work environments

    Deborah Singerman

    Once you are a famous company anything you do gets reported. Twitter fails to add new users, its shares drop and its website struggles to become more accessible, but its new Sydney headquarters opened to a fanfare. Moving from a serviced office to its own  light-filled floor, level 39 with sweeping views, its sandstone tiles, beach themes (Bondi, Noosa, Byron Bay), aqua and gold colour scheme, are quintessentially Australian. Director of fit-out designers Bates Smart, Brenton Smith, said of the design,”There is nothing here that is unnecessary or whimsical”.

    Open plan but with a set desk for everyone, with breakout areas, a library, and the essential ping-pong table, there is also a constant reminder of why you are there, with a #LoveWhereYouWork neon sign

    Twitter_Office-002.jpgTwitter_Office-003.jpgTwitter_Office-014.jpgTwitter_Office-021.jpgPhotography by Lucas Boyd

    Spaces, a workspace concept from the Netherlands (begun in 2006), also recently opened a Sydney office, its second in Australia after Melbourne, and closely timed with a launch in New York. In the heart of creative country, Surry Hills, it is around 1,500sqm, has 47 private offices, meeting rooms, a large outdoor terrace (for sipping single-origin Australian roasted coffee), high ceilings, polished concrete floors, standing desk areas and designer office furniture from Vitra, Eames and Hay, Taschen Books and artwork through a partnership with the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns.

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    Take a 3D virtual tour of Spaces' office here


    Spaces provides what it says is “a lifestyle-driven professional working environment founded on principles of collaboration and inclusivity, while its authentic, considered design reflects the company’s ‘Inspire to Work’ philosophy”.

    The managing director, Martijn Roordink, says: “People are far more productive and successful in an enjoyable, social and inspiring work environment … “and the company’s design ethos reflects this.”

    Spaces aims to fill a gap in the market that they have identified, “between serviced office providers and co-working hubs, offering “a culture that goes beyond business logistics to building a community of interesting people doing exciting things (they also have secretarial, business and virtual office services). We support our members to build their networks and connect with like-minded people.”

    As well as Australia and New York, Spaces is in Amsterdam, The Hague and London.

    This all fits in with ongoing work findings. For instance, the Motivating Millennials report released by workforce management company, Kronos Incorporated, found that Millennials spend on average 3.4 years in their roles, compared to 5.8 years for Gen X and 7.3 years for Baby Boomers. They advised a management style to “motivate and rotate” employees, avoiding the more old-fashioned “retention at all costs”. 

    Another report revealed that juggling work and family commitments costs Australia around $24 billion in lost productivity every year. Even just thinking and being stressed about the juggling costs around $12 billion, nevermind having days off.

    The need for more flexible workplaces was apparent, with nearly 50 per cent of respondents saying they would choose slightly lower pay in a new job if it were more family friendly or flexible.

    The report was commissioned by online babysitting and nanny service Juggle Street, and conducted in January 2016 by market research firm Pureprofile.

    Another option is to outsource chores which workers are increasingly doing especially for trades and gardens, according to Airtasker's third Future of Work study (also conducted by Pureprofile).  Or you could wait until your job has been completely refashioned, or no longer exists.  University of Sydney professor of data science and machine learning (and former NICTA chief executive), Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte predicts that 40 per cent of today's jobs will be gone in 10-20 years. Machines are coming for middle class occupations, he says, warning that “all jobs that are primarily analysis are capable of automation. The hollowing out of middle-tier white collar roles (is) just beginning”. Hang out tight.  


    Deborah Singerman runs her own writing, editing, proofing and project managing consultancy specialising in the urban built environment and community. @deborahsingerma

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