Over the past nine months, millions of Australians found themselves swapping the hour-long commute to the city for their home office as the business community adapted to life through coronavirus. Many experts are now tipping the trend of working from home is here to stay.
In June, nearly three-in-five people working in the finance and insurance industry were working from home, according to data from Roy Morgan. At the same time, over half in public administration and nearly half of those working in communications jobs were doing the same.
By November, over 4.2 million Australians were still working remotely.
While the unprecedented change was sudden, it has been embraced by a range of industries. Its continuation also opens up a range of possibilities for employers looking to save money in a cost-cutting world post-pandemic.
But some workers have struggled to find a balance between the home demands of kids and housemates or have been unable to find their focus.
New peer-to-peer space hosting platform, Coworking Mate, hopes to alleviate some of the pressure many are facing. The AirBnB style website allows homeowners, cafes and businesses with a spare bedroom or work area to offer the space to a nearby worker for an affordable fee.
Founder Matthew De Zen said it is time the traditional belief that workers need to be in the office from 9 am to 5 pm is outdated.
“It’s the 21st century, we need to keep up with the times. Technology has enabled us to work more efficiently and effectively remotely, let’s actually use it to our advantage,” Mr De Zen said.
“The peer-to-peer economy is here to stay. It started with Airbnb and their alternative hotels, then Uber with their unique taxi service, and now Coworking Mate with local workspaces.
“We need to understand that we are all stronger together, and the strength of one is no greater than the whole. Our local communities are struggling post-COVID, this is just one way we can give back.”
Coworking Mate’s mission is to connect people and provide personalised, affordable and local spaces to work from that are mutually beneficial for the user and the host.
Mr De Zen hopes to continue the big push that was seen through COVID-19 lockdowns towards supporting local businesses and causes, particularly as many people are now working where they live.
Whether buying coffee at the cafe you are working in or helping the local empty nesters down the road pay off their mortgage by working out of the guest bedroom, Mr De Zen hopes his platform will also give the added benefit of saving time and money on commuting while having a private and safe workspace and improving personal productivity.
Coworking Mate is currently recruiting Earlybird spaces in Melbourne and is set to launch in January 2021. Mr De Zen hopes to expand into Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Darwin in the next 18 months.
“The time is right for Australian’s to get their freedom back and realise they can work wherever they want. If they need an affordable workspace nearby, Coworking Mate will have it.”