WeekDay Space Co-Founder Rani Cohen chatted to ABC Radio Brisbane drive time this week about commuting and Australia’s first accommodation platform specially focused on helping Australians find a home away from home during the week. In case you missed it, here is a transcript of the chat.
Interview with Terri Begley, ABC Radio Brisbane
Work has just started up again, or you’re about to go back to work next week. And that means perhaps sitting on buses, trains or in cars, waiting to get back to work and home safe. If you added it all up, how many hours would you spend commuting? Two a day? 10 a week? More than 500 a year?
My next guest decided she was sick of her long daily commutes, so she made a business out of it. Rani Cohen is Co-Founder of Weekday Space and she set it up for commuters with short-term accommodation, to provide short-term accommodation in people’s homes.
Terri: Rani, good morning. When did you decide that you were over your commute?
Rani: Throughout my career I’ve done a few long commutes. But a few years back I was actually commuting from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane after a sea change and spending a couple of hours each way in traffic.
And at the time I thought it would be great to have something that was available so I could regularly stay near work during the week and then also enjoy the lifestyle on the Sunshine Coast on the weekend.
But unfortunately, at that stage there were only night-by-night stays. There wasn’t something like WeekDay Space available where you could rent a spare room just Monday to Friday.
Terri: Okay. Because it’s an idea that’s not unusual in places like the UK, people do that quite often where they’ll rent a little room somewhere if they have to commute for long distances. Just give us the basics on how it will work.
Rani: We’re all about connecting people with a home away from home Monday to Friday near their work. So, landlords who have a spare room, can list their property on WeekDay Space. And then people who are looking for a room can connect via the site and then they can liaise regarding the nights that are most appropriate and suit them both.
So, there’s a lot of flexibility there. I could be Monday to Wednesday, it could be Monday to Friday, Sunday to Thursday. So, I think that’s a good point, that it gives people the opportunity to pay for the nights that they need as on a regular basis.
Terri: So, who’s likely to use this in terms of offering up their rooms? Do you think it’s like families with a spare bedroom wanting to make a bit of cash?
Rani: We have seen quite a few people that perhaps have an empty nest, so they’ve had someone like a daughter or son who’s moved out and they’re wanting to rent that room out.
But I think in the case of the UK it’s been quite a mix of people, anyone who’s had a spare room and is looking to earn some extra money but still wants those weekends to themselves.
Terri: How big a problem is it here in South East Queensland for people with their commutes? What are you hearing in terms of how long they’re spending on public transport or in their cars?
Rani: Well, I think, even from my own experiences, certainly from the feedback that we get through the site, that people can spend up to two hours each way commuting, some even longer. And I guess it’s really based on your own threshold of how long do you want to spend commuting each day and how could you better spend that time, you know, could you be going to the gym or spending time with friends.
I think there have been some recent studies where people would invest (an NAB study), quite a bit of money to get just a few hours back in their week. So, definitely I think people feel that time spent commuting could be better used in other ways.
Terri: Yes, and I guess if you’re not doing all that driving as well, you’re going to be more refreshed for the next day at work as well.
Rani: Yes, absolutely. Certainly in terms of productivity at work, there are obviously some gains as well.
Terri: Well, interesting to hear about this business that you’ve started up, Rani. Thanks for your time.
Rani: Excellent. Thank you very much for having me.