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June 21, 2019
Commerce

Work Club in Adelaide will be one to watch

It doesn't hurt that its founder is damn charming and is seriously invested in making your work life better.

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  • Words: Josh Fanning

It’s been weeks since we sat down with the impossibly handsome Dane, Søren Trampedach but the quiet conversation we had in one of the wooden booths of Shobosho still resonates.

Søren was in town to do the initial round of publicity for his stake in a 25-storey, $180 million property development on the site of the old Avant Garde Furnishings shop on Currie Street. Søren’s business Work Club will take out two of the 25 storeys and act as the development’s agile co-working space – though he himself cringes at that term.

Remarks

Want to know more about Work Club in general? Visit their site.

For much of our lunch we talk about how Work Club in Adelaide will be different to the existing hot desk options in the city. For instance Søren says Work Club in Adelaide will be a curated community and be built like an eco system, “diversity of tenants and people and business will answer many of the questions we are encountering with disruption,” says Søren. “Diversity creates solutions.”

The picture the Dane paints of Work Club in Adelaide is ideal. It features small scale events, personalised service and – importantly – solid timber furniture. But there’s something in Søren’s voice and in his references to people like Leonardo Da Vinci (who apparently surrounded himself with a diverse network of confidants and colleagues to assist in his creative process) that hints at a deeper motivation.

After we’ve slurped through our respective ramen noodle soup (yes, Shobosho do a lunch ramen) and talked through the finer points of Work Club and it’s relationship with QT Hotels, we get into his past.

Søren is a true international citizen. He’s lived in 10 different countries, “every continent except Africa,” he says. Work for the Work Club founder has taken various forms throughout an impressive and unique career but it was a joint venture he launched in 2010 with a European, family-owned company that really defined what Søren wanted to bring to the world of work and innovation.

“I had 49.9 per cent of the company because that’s how they had to have it,” says Søren. The company was working across the Asia Pacific with clients like BMW China and the Government of Malaysia but then his business partner went bust and was acquired by the “biggest bank in Austria” Søren tells us. At what felt like the peak of his career, Søren was now hamstrung, unable to buyout the other half of his company and unable to deliver for his impeccable but demanding list of clients. Søren ended up losing everything.

“Losing that business hurt,” says Søren, his eyes piercing the steam coming off his cup of green tea. “I vowed I would never again be in that position, to not be in control of my own destiny.”

Work Club is Søren rebuilt and reformed. Work Club is his passion but it also feels to us like it’s Søren’s mission.

“Workplaces and offices have become these industrialised spaces, which treat everyone the same – but what we do is concentrate on creating experiences for every individual,” says Søren. He’s not talking about the experience economy per se, but he is talking about the way you feel when you wake up to your alarm and think about going to work.

“Do you wake up and want to go to work?” he asks rhetorically.

“We aren’t going to be making people feel welcome with apps and digital screens and logins and the ‘cloud’,” Søren says raising his eyebrows when he says ‘cloud’ to ensure we understand how silly he thinks this name for a data centre is.

“Work Club is a going back in time, back to real communication with real people and forming relationships with colleagues and co-workers that are meaningful and create a sense of belonging,” says Søren.

Work Club will facilitate forming these relationships as part of its offering and Søren insists every member must participate in at least one of Work Club’s programs as a condition of entry.

“I want to work somewhere – I think we all do – where people know each other and support each other, I don’t care how cynical you are.”

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