ThisWeekIn Coworking

Week 23, 2024

This week we explore Chicago's $10M bet on coworking, Workbox's big raise, going from CM to CEO, a dogs-eye tour, tennis, placemaking, who is making 70% of their profit from VOs, data from German and Spanish markets, summer promos and more.

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โœŠ Coworking impact.

โ˜€๏ธ Chicago’s $10M remote work summer campaign #

Chicago is launching a remote-worker focussed, coworking-promoting, campaign to prevent their downtown from falling down the doom-loop that’s crushing other city centers across the United States.

The campaign, called "Work from Summertime Chi" leans heavily on promoting the benefits of working remotely from across Chicago’s downtown. The plan is to combine free workspaces from local coworking spaces (from firms like Workbox, WeWork, EXPANSIVE, 2112, 1871) and popup coworking spaces on rooftops, hotel lobbies, host businesses and iconic locations (like Navy Pier, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago Cultural Center) between May 28th and August 30th 2024.

The project led by a group of orgs including World Business Chicago and P33 aims to bring $10 in economic impact to the Loop. I’ll be following to see how it goes, but am happy that for once civic boosters and cities are partnering with experienced coworking spaces who know a thing or two about turning pop-in visitors into long-term community members, but I do wish one of them told them to drop the hyphen from coworking before the billboards went up.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ Campus launched to champion minority-led businesses #

Aramide Tinubu shares news that EqualSpace has launched a new 19k sqft campus in downtown Newark (NJ) to support and champion minority-led businesses. The space features a Trap Art’s retail shop, music studio, podcasting studio, gym, creative spaces.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿ“ฐ Coworking news & views.

๐Ÿค” Is it time for plan Y for offices? #

Ryan Anderson from MillerKnoll shares how a 60-year-old management theory can help rejuvinate offices, looking at MIT professor Douglas McGregor’s concept of Theory X and Theory Y management.

In short orgs using Theory X believe that managers are there to ensure that work is done (ie employees are working), where those using Theory Y believe that managers are there to empower workers to achieve their goals. By reimagining office space for the latter, could we see changes in design and utilization?

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

โœ‹ Placemaking strategies every community leader should read #

Jeremy Bamberg from Factory shares 5 placemaking strategies. It’s a great read if you’re looking to build a brand and business that stretches out past your four external walls and deep into your local community.

This could also be helpful for reminding partners about how working with you, and your coworking space, supports the local hyperlocal economy.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ˜ณ HOW MUCh of these OG’s revenue stack is virtual offices? #

In Sofia Stolberg’s latest Forbes EQ piece, we hear what industry leaders Ashley Buckner, Flip Howard and Michelle Stiegler (from well-established firms Carr Workplaces, Lucid Private Offices and Premier Workspaces respectively) think about Virtual Office (VO) products.

Flip notes that VO memberships represent nearly 70% of his profit margins across 26 locations, and "represent the highest revenue per square foot offering in the business". Michelle notes that over the last 22 years, VO plans have been a big part of their book of business, while Ashley noted how VO sales have a unique ability to go straight through to the bottom line.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‘ The skills to grow from community manager to a CEO #

Sarah Travers share the wealth of knowledge her journey (from community manager at Regus/IWG, to CEO of Workbar) has imparted upon her, to shed light on the multifaceted nature of managing a coworking space and how it can prepare people to become CEOs.

Sarah digs into how community managers learn about financial insights, marketing, sales, and interpersonal skills.

PS. Know someone who’d be great in roles like these, and aren’t already in coworking? Send them over to our Coworking Jobs page to see if you could help them take their next step on the journey to becoming a flex space CEO.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‘ Always great seeing coworking testimonials “in the wild” #

Loved seeing John Short’s note about how Workbar‘s well spread multi-location strategy is helping them get work done, even when life (and traffic) throw unexpected diversions in the way.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿฆฎ Forget a birds-eye tour. Have you seen a dogs-eye tour? #

If you remember I shared a superb birds-eye tour of a coworking space last week. Well this week The Village Workspace took the challenge to another level and shared a dog’s view of visiting their space.

What a clever way to promote the space, the community and that you’re dog friendly. Who’s next? Goldfish view? Salamander? Mini goats?!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿฌ From 6 locations to 6 floors: the case for full-building coworking #

After 20 years in the flexible office space industry, WorkBetter consolidated its six New York City locations into one full building of coworking space. While this move may seem counterintuitive, it was a strategic play designed to boost profits, streamline operations, optimize management, and enhance the brand’s member experience.

Fascinating to see a completely different type of strategic shift with regards to space, from multiple locations to one whole building, especially from an operator with two decades of operating experience.

– Shared by Brigid Carroll

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿค” What do coworking, Nike, tires, and liquor have in common? #

How come Nike rarely advertises the specs of their shoes? What do Michelin Stars have to do with tires? Why do liquor stores create lifestyle magazines? The answer boils down to branding. Taylor from Talemaker shares how you apply these principles to your coworking space.

– Shared by Taylor

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐ŸŽพ Coworking and… tennis!? #

Kate Shifman shared a video highlight just how many people are currently doing Coworking + Tennis days at a local clubhouse.

I love the idea of coworking + sports as a way of balancing work with energy and being active throughout the day. All those coworking + pickleball ideas don’t seem so strange now do they?

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ˜ข It’s ok to feel sad when ANY coworking space closes #

Katharine Chestnut from Alkaloid Networks shares a reminder why it’s OK to be sad when any coworking space closes, regardless of if it’s "a small, indie, community-centric place or a giant, corporate behemoth chain".

These closures evoke emotions of sadness and loss for members who built bonds within the space. They also impact personal growth, going beyond the practical implications of finding a new workspace. By recognizing the broader implications of these closures, we can shed light on the challenges faced by both the operating teams and the members they leave desk-less.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿ’ป Coworking technology.

๐Ÿ–จ๏ธ Integration announced between ezeep Blue & Spacebring #

Spacebring announced that they’ve not integrated with ezeep Blue to allow for seamless member onboarding, usage tracking, simplified billing, and enhanced security.

Watch this space as strong integrations continue to from platform nice-to-have’s to key differentiators.

– Shared by Spacebring

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ’ฌ Inventory system adds live-availability Slack integration #

Archie recently introduced their Slack integration, that helps team members book desks and rooms from right inside the messaging platform.

Although no screenshots were shown, I love the fact that booking is being made more and more abstract, brining live availability and office visualization into whatever teams are using day-to-day.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ“ˆ Coworking data.

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Snapshot of Spain’s largest coworking operators #

Coworking Europe shared (a blurry photo of) some stats on the largest operators in Spain.

To summarize, and save you some early-morning squinting, the table is sorted by total space occupied (sqm) but also lists the number of locations per operator. The 14 operators listed run 201 spaces covering over 505k sqm (5.4M sqft) of space.

IWG led the pack in both no. of spaces and sqm (74, and 155k respectively). LOOM and Cloudworks both have 15 locations, followed by Impact Hub with 14 and Aticco with 13. By space, WeWork came in second with 58.5k sqm.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช The German coworking market remains volatile #

Carsten Foertsch from Deskmag shares an overview of the German coworking market for the year so far. Sharing insights from a recent survey, 46% rated their economic situation as ‘good’, while more than half expect to see further improvement in the next 6 months. Unsurprisingly, smaller spaces or spaces in smaller cities, see their situation less favourably.

In summary: occupancy is increasing (nearly two-thirds of all coworking space is occupied), but long-term profitability is keeps creeping out of reach (factors like higher rents and energy prices come into play) – with 42% of local coworking spaces just breaking even.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง 69% of companies plan to change workspace strategies #

Tushar Agarwal shares the results of Hubble‘s survey of over 200 UK business leaders regarding their current workplace strategy.

The summary highlights 3 main takeaways namely that only half of surveyed leaders are satisfied with where their team is working from; that companies are sticking together different flex products to build bespoke strategies; and two-thirds of leaders want their teams to work in-person more.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Full year results from the other public UK operator #

Workspace Group shared their annual results ending March 2024, highlighting that they’d seen net rental income go up 8% to ยฃ126M, trading profit rise 9% to ยฃ66M, and their dividend go up 9% to 22p.

The full release does go into more details, noting that due to consecutive reductions in property valuations, the firm did see a ยฃ192.8M loss before tax (up from the loss of ยฃ37.5M shared in March 2023). They also share that they had 1,238 lettings and 705 renewals, plus saw a 10.4% increase in pricing with like-for-like rent per sqft.

Incase you were wondering, they have a market cap of ยฃ1.11B, with a current stock price of ยฃ576.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿค Coworking market moves.

โœ‚๏ธ Quest opened their 14th location #

Laura Kozelouzek shares that Quest Workspaces opened it’s doors at Two Doral Center this week.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€โš–๏ธ Court approves transformational restructuring #

WeWork share that following final court approval of their restructuring, they’re expected to emerge Chapter 11 proceedings debt-free in min-June.

The firm will continue to operate 45M sqft, across 600ish locations. They share that they were able to reduce rent commitments by 50% (a projected $12B in savings), while also eliminating $4B in debt. David Tolley, Chief Executive Officer, also shared that while they coordinated the complex restructuring, WeWork also saw strong demand across the network and even increased their net promoter scores.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ’ฐ Workbox closes $17.5M funding round #

The Workbox team announced that they’ve closed their latest funding round, securing $17.5M in capital, with an option to tap in a further $5.5M. The round was led by Chicago Atlantic, who have over $2.1B in AUM.

CEO and Co-Founder, John Wallace, noted that โ€œWorkbox has more than doubled its revenue every year since inception, but it took a capital partner with the ability to look beyond office market headlines to see the true size of our opportunity in this trillion-dollar sector. The current environment has opened a path for reimagining the workplace and realigning owner and operator interests in a sustainable way.โ€

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿ—ฝ After suddenly being shown out, Her Workplace finds new partner #

Marilynn De Santis shares that after suddenly being told that Her Workplace would need to move out of their current community space in NYC (in what was previously The Wing), they’ve pivoted into a partnership with Studio by Tishman Speyer.

The partnership gives Her Workplace members access to Studio workspaces as a perk, as oppose to a core offering. The community will also have a dedicated suite to meet, work and network in The Spiral in Hudson Yards.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿ—๏ธ Caddo expands with new location opening Sept 1 #

The team at Caddo Office Reimagined share that their new building in North Richland Hills is set to open on September 1st. This is their 9th location in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, but their first in Tarrant County.

"Tim Slaughter, CEO of Caddo Office Reimagined, said conveniently located office spaces are important for both community economic development and professional well-being." Yeap!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿท๏ธ Indie operator running a summer sale. Are you? #

The team at Forge share that they’re running a BOGO (buy-one-get-one) promotion during the summer. If someone signs up for their first month in June, they get July free (across coworking, dedicated desks and memberships).

With summer notoriously slower lead-gen wide for many spaces, so I do wonder if we’ll see other indie operators running sales like this. Are you? Why/why not?

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿท๏ธ 3 franchise chains also dive into summer promos #

On the topic of BOGO sales, Venture X, Office Evolution, and Intelligent Office have also launched a series of limited-time promotions this summer across locations in the U.S. and Canada. In June, July, and August, the three brands โ€“ all part of Vast Coworking Group โ€“ are offering a different promotion each month at participating locations. The promotions include:

BOGO Meeting Rooms Hours in June, BOGO Day Offices in July, Fourth month free Coworking memberships at Venture X and Office Evolution in August and a free month of phone answering at Intelligent Office that month too.

– Shared by Caitlin

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿค  Brand says Howdy, Texas! #

Workbox in the news again this week, this time for their expansion to Dallas, with John Wallace noting that they’ve been looking to grow into Dallas and the wider Texas market for a couple of years now.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐ŸŽ™ Coworking conversations.

Bernie Mitchell hosts Laura Agnew from Facework Group on the Coworking Values Podcast, where they discuss building communities in unlikely spaces.

๐ŸŽง Listen to this.
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Explore the full recap +video recordings of FlexWorld Series 2024. Read summaries of the most important insights revealed, or listen to each panel discussion on-demand.

– Shared by Asen

๐ŸŽง Listen to this.
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The team at essensys have generously shared an un-gated recording of their recent webinar on innovative ways to drive revenue via tech with TWIC subscribers. Hear from essensys’ Kurt Patrick as he chats with Christmas Marquez-Correa at Flexspace, Mike Kriel from Launch Workplaces and Adrian Simpson at The Yard.

๐ŸŽง Listen to this.
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Sam Pickering joins Jamie Russo on the Everything Coworking podcast to discuss why Incendium Consulting (part of The Instant Group) partnered with the International WELL Building Institute to create an approachable coworking version of the Well Certification.

๐ŸŽง Listen to this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

Eyal Laskar trots through his career journey from hedge fund trader, to app builder, to moving through roles at Klarna and WeWork to ultimately found Flexspace.ai with Jamie Russo and Giovanni Palavicini on the Flex Uncensored podcast.

๐ŸŽง Listen to this.
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๐Ÿ“† Coworking events.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ 2024 GWA Conference #

Save the date for the next Global Workspace Association conference.
The 2024 conference is taking place in Phoenix, Arizona.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
๐Ÿ’ฌ Discuss this (0).

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ 2024 Flexible Workspace Australia Conference #

A one-day immersive experience tailored for operators, emerging leaders and forward-thinkers in the flexible workspace industry. The conference will be held at Flex by ISPT in Melbourne.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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๐Ÿ’ฌ Convo: Creative Coworking Marketing Strategies #

โ€‹Marketing a coworking space is tricky.
โ€‹So what are some creative marketing strategies that could work for you in your town?
โ€‹Let’s chat about it!

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read this.
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About This.

ThisWeekInCoworking.com is a weekly newsletter summarizing the coworking celebrations, stories, market moves, tech updates, and discussions you may have missed.

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