Fusun Batey, National Brand Manager of the co-working space group Christie Spaces explains how the company transformed from just offering office spaces to inspiring a sense of community amongst its members. I’d describe Christie Spaces as ‘a growing and inclusive community’ for businesses of every size. It wasn’t always this way. We were established in 1979 and earned our reputation as a highly successful conferencing and serviced office provider. In mid-2017, we recognised that people in business were increasingly searching for ways to connect on both personal and professional levels… the office environments we were providing needed to change.
So we came up with the perfect solution. We began transforming our existing commercial buildings in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, into state of the art, stylishly furbished co-working spaces. By focusing on creating inclusive communities right across the eastern seaboard of Australia, we’re now helping start-ups and businesses large and small to connect, engage and grow. As Christie Spaces’ National Brand Manager, it’s been exciting to watch how quickly this can happen once we facilitated the right environment.
Keen for change
Within each building there are some floors of traditional workspaces, some that are 100% co-working and others that are conferencing. We understand people’s needs are different, which is why we offer solutions to meet their ways of working.
Some members working in the traditional spaces observe the sense of community evolving in co-working spaces, and are keen to make the move – even if they didn’t like the idea of doing so before. Others feel more comfortable in a traditional office space. It’s a matter of taste for our wide array of different members.
Co-working is a great way for people to share ideas and build connections. I really enjoy watching people from different businesses or different floors having lunch onsite, or getting to know each other at the regular events we host.
Many of our new members come via referral from existing members who love coming to work here, and our partners, who recognise our unique offering. In return for their referrals, we thank them via a generous referral rewards program.
We cater for start-ups through to large businesses who take whole floors. We are creating hubs of activity and knowledge where people can come and work alongside leaders in specific fields.
Fusun Batey, National Brand Manager, Christie Spaces
Ahead of the trend, always
Our 100% goal is to stay ahead of the trend – with the beautiful modern spaces we provide, our sense of community and our state of the art IT. We’ve launched a Christie Spaces app that will enable our members to connect with each other online, book into events or rooms in their own or other Christie Spaces buildings and share knowledge. This is the perfect example of how IT can be used to create inclusive communities. We have plans to add additional functionality such as a newsfeed and a messaging service to the app in the near future. Of course IT is also about creating efficiencies. So the local and international businesses that use our spaces are able to take advantage of fantastic infrastructure, support and facilities that traditionally, only large organisations can afford.
We’ve installed high-speed internet and VOIP systems that all tenants can access rather than bringing along, and maintaining, their own technology. Now they can choose their internet speed – up to 10 x faster than NBN – and have their own VOIP system. Whether they move between floors or buildings – and even interstate, as long as they’re on Christie Spaces premises – they simply plug in their device and phone, and away they go. It’s a service they love and best of all, with dedicated IT support, any issues are handled quickly and effectively. Another initiative has been to install a commercial Canon multifunction printer on every floor and in each building.
We chose Canon because a lot of people resonate with the brand. When we show prospective members the print technology they’ll have on tap, they’re immediately impressed – it’s at a level they would never be able to afford as a small business. They’re also impressed and relieved by the level of data security this technology provides. The need to enter a personal PIN at the machine before any print is released means no-one has to worry about keeping documents confidential. Individual PINS also make printer usage transparent and easy to account for, which in turn, minimises surprises when it comes to passing on costs. Within a shared environment this is essential.
Moving from our old printers to the new technology was mostly seamless and because our new system works on a sensor system, it uses less power. We’ve also noticed that the costs for supplies and ongoing servicing have reduced, which is keeping everyone happy. Added to that, automated maintenance and access to prompt technical service means any issues are quickly rectified so that our members are not inconvenienced.
There’s no doubt that having Canon on board has generated greater efficiencies and added to our overall selling proposition. Canon is really helping our community to grow.