The coworking industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. According to various industry reports there are now more coworking spaces available in Australia than ever before. Long term fixed desk space is reducing across all major cities, except Canberra, and coworking on demand office space is increasing.
“Once upon a time, coworking environments were seen as places where creatives and tech start ups would operate out of,” Managing Director, @WORKSPACES, Mariska Folley said. “This has changed. Coworking spaces are now in high demand by all businesses, large and small, across all types of industries. The value of shared work spaces is now being fully recognised. They are cheaper than fixed office space, provide a broad range of amenities and services without the additional cost and can be scaled up or down depending on the requirements of the business. They also provide opportunities for collaboration, innovation and partnership. Business owners used to attend networking meetings to connect with industry colleagues, now they are located in the same shared work space.
“While coworking is increasing, many of the spaces available are what we call ‘general shared spaces.’ Our cowork and on demand office spaces meet the needs of the premium market, organisations that want all the benefits and flexibility of the cowork environment with dedicated levels of quality service and premiumisation.”
If anyone knows the coworking sector, it is Jenny Folley and her daughters, Mariska and Alesya. Jenny founded the family’s first serviced office business in 1985 after returning from a trip to Hong Kong where she saw the idea of a serviced office being utilised in crude form. “I recognised straight away what a great idea it was and that with further development, the idea of a service office environment would work well in Australia,” Founder, Jenny Folley said. As a mum with young children, I understood the need for flexibility and also knew a lot of people who worked from home and would use a service of this type. I was right. With a second mortgage and a dream to set up my own serviced office business, I founded a location and got underway – and I haven’t looked back. It was very much a family affair, my daughters would help out in the business as young children doing little jobs for pocket money.”
The business, Corporate Executive Offices, known as CEO, grew to become one of the leading brands in the shared workspace industry. In 2013, Jenny and her business partner Michael Sayers, sold the business to Regus, an international operator – the largest operator in the world.
In 2015, Mariska founded the family’s latest venture, @WORKSPACES, which is also experiencing rapid growth both nationally and internationally. “My eldest daughter Mariska was responsible for opening our locations in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and then went on to the Philippines with my younger daughter Alesya to open up in Manila, followed by a stint in Bahrein, where she opened serviced offices for banking group, GBcorp. My daughter Alesya remained living in the Philippines to manage and run the centre in Manila and has since grown the business quite substantially there.”
All three Folley women have dedicated most of their lives and worked tirelessly to make their brands the leading solutions for businesses of all sizes wanting on demand office space with premium services. Today, Jenny provides mentoring and guidance across the family business.
@WORKSPACES provides workspaces that are strategically located near fitness centers, parks and dining and shopping precincts, so business clients are able to maintain a healthy work/life balance, and not fall into the sedentary lifestyle associated with traditional offices.
@WORKSPACES provides businesses with tailored workspaces inclusive of access to conference rooms for meetings, break-out areas, kitchen facilities, quiet spaces and areas for collaborative work.
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