Bello.hiVe new co-working and hot-desking space

Arne Hansen and Ariel Tobey at their desks with the videoconferencing room behind them. Photo Jocelyn Box
Arne Hansen and Ariel Tobey at their desks with the videoconferencing room behind them. Photo Jocelyn Box

In the 2016 census, over 10 per cent of people gainfully employed in the Bellingen local government area said they had worked from home that day, compared to less than five per cent nationwide.

Tucked away across our shire are various creatives, professionals, small business owners, managers and consultants whose commute to the office involves simply walking from one room in their house to another.

For some, this is not always an ideal solution.

Arne Hansen's business creates customised building technology analytic and reporting systems for metropolitan clients.

Its operations are data-intensive, so he needs top-quality NBN, but he lives on Sunset Ridge where only fixed wireless is available.

His Bellingen-based employee Ariel Tobey does have fibre-to-the-curb NBN, but he also has five school age children living at home, so holiday periods can get a little noisy.

The solution they've come up with is renting office space in Bellingen, but with a twist.

They've created a hot-desking, co-working space for hire, with premium facilities like 100Mbps internet and a glassed video-conferencing room with a six-seater table.

The main area has two long desks seating eight in total, each with wired/wifi internet connection, multiple power points, a monitor arm and a filing cabinet.

Located underneath Japanese restaurant Qudo, the space - which they've called Bello.hiVe - also has bucolic views across the river flats towards the mountains.

Ariel said the initial quest for an office to suit the two of them had snowballed into something larger.

"We thought, it's a big space for just us, and the more we were talking to people, the more we were hearing that they wanted it too.

"So we thought we'd open it up and get some like-minded businesses coming in."

Apart from being able to share premium facilities, Ariel pointed out that a co-working space also offers social interaction and potentially networking and collaboration.

"Just getting out of the house, feeling like a member of society. Working from home can be quite isolating," he said.

Arne said he didn't know if other refugees from Sunset Ridge would join him at the Bello.hiVe but he was sure there would be no shortage of demand for the desks.

"This town is full of professional people and small businesses who get a lot of their work out of Sydney and Melbourne. That's why we've invested heavily in this meeting room with the videoconferencing facility," he said.

The videoconferencing room will be available to rent on an hourly basis by anyone who needs it. The desk spaces will be rented casually (per day), per week or longer term.

"We're aiming for a mix of permanent desks and hot-desking," Arne said. "So we've got a mix of people coming through.

"And they'll all be similar types of businesses - professional services, basically - consultants, IT professionals, designers. To try to keep this a relatively quiet space."

The Bello.hiVe is expected to open by the end of this month and is now taking expressions of interest.

See http://bellohive.com for more information.