Flexible co-working offices have become a growing trend as the pandemic has pushed some workers out of offices.
In Griffith the Yambil Hub is used as a co-working space by a number of charities for the last five years, at no charge to those organisations.
"Currently we have Meals on Wheels, Dyirri-Bang-Gu Aboriginal Aged Care Services and Griffith Aged Support Service using the facility however we do have plans to renovate and provide space to other community groups" Griffith Exies Club general manager Garry Tucker said.
Tennille Valensisi, Senior Coordinator at Meals on Wheels in Griffith said that the Yambil Hub was an incredibly successful initiative.
"It's great to have a variety of organisations come together and offer one stop shop for the community," Mrs Valensisi said.
Dyirri-Bang-Gu Aboriginal Aged Care Services CEO Maryann Seymour said that the co-working aspect of the Yambil Hub was a great way to share expenses, ideas and provided a more accessible space for workers and community members to visit.
This is a sentiment shared by Monica Beckham from Griffith Aged Care Support Service who added; "It is truly great that we have this space to support each other, support the community, and share new perspectives with one another."
Working Spaces HQ in Wagga has been operating successfully for seven years and was one of the first co-working spaces in a regional city across Australia.
Working Spaces HQ is owned by Dianna Somerville who is also Regional Development Australia - Riverina chairwoman.
Mrs Somerville said COVID has expedited the need for co-working spaces in regional cities significantly, and provided an opportunity for digital workers to use an office and its facilities when needed.
"These co-working spaces are a great way to create connectivity, reduce isolation and even help new business owners using these spaces to learn from others in the co-working space," Mrs Somerville said.
"They also allow visitors to the town to utilise an office setting if they just want somewhere quiet to get some work done."
Co-working spaces often start as a private business to take advantage of available real estate, but Mrs Somerville said councils could bring play a role in bring the service to their communities.
"There is definitely a role for council to play in this space if they own excess commercial office space that they want to give back to the community," Mrs Somerville said.
"It is important that councils help support a shift to a more remote workforce."
Shireen Donaldson, Director of Economic and Organisational Development at Griffith City Council told The Area News that whilst successful models do exist in regional cities like Wagga and Dubbo it was unlikely to happen in the near future.
"The idea of a co-working space has been discussed by council however no specific research has been done to determine if a similar model could be applied successfully in Griffith," Mrs Donaldson said.
Mrs Sommerville notes that just because remote workers aren't visibly seeking these commercial office spaces, it didn't mean the demand did not exist and that there are more remote workers than many realize.
"Often out in regional cities and country towns you have many individuals who work in the digital space and don't require an office to the same extent as other businesses do," Mrs Somerville said.
"This does not mean that they wouldn't like to access an office facility though, even if it is just for one or two days a week.".
"The creation of a co-working space is a great way to flush all of these workers out."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: