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Brisbane's best co-working spaces: Working outside the square

Angela Allan
Technology Journalist

Angela Allan is a music and lifestyle journalist with a special interest in technology and startup culture. Angela writes for Rolling Stone and the Star Weekly

Angela Allan
Technology Journalist

Angela Allan is a music and lifestyle journalist with a special interest in technology and startup culture. Angela writes for Rolling Stone and the Star Weekly

Centrally located coworking hubs are becoming the first choice for budding entrepreneurs and freelancers keen to spread their wings (and increase their networking opportunities) around Brisbane’s CBD.

open plan office space

The upside to co-working

The benefit of a co-working space boils down to one word: networking. Do you need advice on a contract or someone to help you finesse that blog post? Sharing a space with other freelancers or entrepreneurs expands your chances of meeting a fellow business owner who can help you with your challenge. Or if their client drops by, they might just be in need of your skills. Coworking offers plenty of opportunities for business serendipity. Fancy coworking spaces also offer a professional setting for clients to come in for meetings, rather than taking them to a noisy cafe.

Of course, the other upsides are lowering overheads with affordable rent and flexible contracts. At most coworking offices there are options to simply drop in daily, or to book a workspace for a more permanent spell. Flexibility is coworking’s main motto.

Want to ease your way into the realm of co-working?

Join Brisbane’s own coworking and networking MeetUp, Jelly.

Find out moreWant to ease your way into the realm of co-working?

What’s getting ‘bizzy’ in brissy?

Apart from boasting 283 days of sunshine annually; in 2012, Brisbane was predicted to be the fastest growing established city in the world in the decade to follow, ahead of Singapore and Hong Kong. Brisbane’s economy has also grown at a faster rate than the national average since 2001. That’s good news for Brisbane-based freelancers or small business owners looking to untether from the home office and get their hooks into potential business contacts.

Let’s take a look at some of the best coworking spaces in Brisbane.

1. The swarm

Do you want to live the freelance dream but surround yourself with other creative and focused entrepreneurs?”  This is the question THE SWARM poses visitors to its website. So if you answered “yes,” then this residential property located in Brisbane’s West End may be just what you’re after. Your start-up neighbours include a video art collective, a digital solutions start-up and a business that inspires social change.

Set inside a 1900s architecturally renovated workers’ cottage with a lap pool – yes, lap pool – and lush landscaped gardens, this space offers a blend of shared and reserved desks. The 24-hour access coworking space also has an espresso machine, meeting rooms and on-site parking for bikes and scooters, with public transport only 400 metres away. The vibe is laid-back and inviting, with a friendly atmosphere

What are the perks?

The perks are many:

  • A desk in a 1900s renovated workers’ cottage with solar power, just a 10-minute drive from Brisbane’s CBD
  • An established site, designed for all-weather comfort, featuring lap pool, water feature, garden entrance and polished concrete floors
  • Three Meeting areas, and Telstra fibre broadband and wireless
  • Utility bills are included (except telephone) and there’s great espresso coffee on-site
  • Discounted space hire and invitations to events held at the venue
Who will it suit? 

With designers, developers, writers, specialist consultants and start-ups sharing the space, you’re bound to meet some like-minded individuals. Regulars include video collective Sloe Motion, geo-information systems start-up GeoMagic and digital studio Hunted Hive.

2. The thought fort

Located between the CBD and trendy Fortitude Valley, The Thought Fort was originally conceived as a shared space for digital media and creative professionals, but now opens its doors to all start-ups and freelancers who don’t want to work solo. It has a lofty warehouse-office feel, with an open-plan layout and a host of individual workspaces.

What are the perks?

Aside from all the above?

  • Full or part-time desks with 24/7 or 9am-6pm access
  • A meeting room, wireless broadband, air conditioning
  • Kitchen facilities, including coffee, tea, soft drinks and beer (plus coffee shops and juice bars are on the doorstep)
  • Balcony chill-out zone
Who will it suit?

The Thought Fort is ideal for freelancers in any creative or digital field. It’s also a great space for business owners who prefer a working environment where they can get their collaborative juices flowing. 

3. Salt house

Located in New Farm, just minutes to the CBD, is Salt House. Set in a beautiful heritage-listed building, this communal workspace is a good choice for small start-ups. Salt House offers hot desks for freelancers and creatives, as well as semi-permanent configurations that allow you to bring in your own furniture to create the perfect work environment for your team. There are also private studios available for lease from time to time.

In this trendy spot, which is less than five minutes from Fortitude Valley, you’ll be coworking with designers, web developers, animators, photographers, artists and entrepreneurs. Salt House prides itself on being “open enough for the networking you need, and quiet enough to get some serious work done.”

What are the perks?

If we haven't sold you yet:

  • A heritage-listed building with lofty ceilings and polished hardwood floors
  • Fully equipped kitchen, social alfresco area, spacious foyer
  • 24/7 access, 50 per cent off in-house event / workshop space hire
  • Free street parking and three hours’ free parking (underground) next door
  • Super affordable
Who will it suit?

Suited to those whose businesses are more established as well as freelancers and start-ups looking for some serious networking, Salt House caters to both crowds with ease.

Not in Brisbane?

Check out out guides to coworking in Melbourne here, and Sydney here.

Find out moreNot in Brisbane?

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