Pop Up Office - the mobile coworking space

The Pop Up Office is Canberra's first mobile coworking space and the newest addition to Canberra's growing collaborative coworking scene.

Coworking spaces have become popular in recent years, particularly for self-employed workers, as a flexible alternative to renting office space or hanging around the local cafe. A typical coworking space provides desks with internet access for clients to rent on an as-required basis. Many also provide add-on services such as business development advice.

It was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of making a coworking space mobile. Instead of being tied to one location, Pop Up Office rotates locations between the Belconnen Arts Centre, CMAG (Canberra Museum and Gallery) and the National Press Club.

Founder Hilary Wardhaugh came up with the idea to address a problem commonly faced by home-based, self-employed workers: how to overcome the isolation of working at home. Having been self-employed for several years, it's a problem that Hilary is familiar with: "I need to get outside because I feel at times quite isolated and I'm working at home by myself all the time. It's nice to think "I'm going to work, I'm not just sitting at home in my tracky daks." I wanted to access free wi-fi, I wanted to be out within humanity and I wanted to be productive as well. People who have a nine-to-five job think working at home is a luxury. At times it is because I could sit around doing nothing but I don't because I've got to be profitable and viable with my business".

Hilary's ideal coworking space was also shaped by previous experiences with other coworking spaces. As a single mother with a school-aged child, she found it difficult to dedicate attendance to one location.  The flexibility of various locations for Pop Up Office meant that she could have a variety of different work environments, each attracting different types of people.  

Although Pop Up Office is just getting started, Hilary would like to see it evolve into a community supporting local business in Canberra, with the aid of social media. "I want to call Pop Up Office a community because I want to have the cross-pollination of ideas. It only takes one idea, one person to make a difference to your life - and if that happens on a regular basis, just think what we can do. I'm hoping that Pop Up Office will attract people in the finance and legal sectors, marketing, advertising, and  anything a business needs to get started so that we can promote local businesses in Canberra and get them over that one to two year hump where they can be profitable. I really hope that Canberra embraces the idea because I see it not only benefiting individual businesses, but also Canberra as a whole".

Photos included with kind permission from Hilary Wardhaugh

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