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Join us September 19-22 at MGM National Harbor for the GWA’s 2023 Flex Forward Conference.
We’ve curated 3.5 days of crucial insights from experienced industry leaders, cutting-edge techniques and strategies, and invaluable networking opportunities.
Grab your ticket today and get ready for an unforgettable experience!
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✊ Coworking impact.
Ⓑ Are B-corps a secret weapon for office landords? #
By carefully picking flex space providers that are B-corp certified, landlords can augment their own environmental, social and governance strategies. Natasha Guerra (from Runway East) and David Rawlence (from Boodle Hatfield) dig into how and why B-corp certifications may be a huge area of opportunity for both landlords and accredited operators.
Coworking news & views.
💰 The only currency that matters to office occupiers #
Jonny Rosenblatt shares the points he made to journalists who recently asked him "wtf is actually happening in coworking right now??". All 4 points are, as they say… on point. From WeWork’s struggles being a liquidity issue and not a product-demand one, to the fascinating situation where deal flow is through the roof but deal size is shrinking rapidly. The other points included a sky-high demand for flex offerings from landlords and that building with flex components/offerings drive up their value.
"The market continues to move in one direction and one direction only, and flexibility is the only currency that really matters to today’s office occupier."
😱 Ever had someone famous take over your space? #
Christoph Fahle shares a memory of when Tim Ferriss ‘took over’ betahaus for a day in 2011 after announcing a spontaneous community meet-up whilst in town for a conference. Love how coworking spaces have been spontaneous congregation points for more and more communities since 2011.
I’m certain there are other similarly spontaneous stories from across the coworking world. If you have one, why now post it on your blog or social channel and then share that link with us?
🤺 Is “space as a service” a terrible term? #
We love giving things interesting names in our industry. One of these newer terms is "space as a service". Jerome Chang shares why it may be a terrible term (spoiler: nobody has ever referred to a hotel as ‘rooms as a service’) and sparks off an interesting debate, with insights from operators, consultants and friends (some of which have built whole businesses around the term).
I wonder though, what do YOU think of the term? Reply to the email version, or send me an email, and let me know.
🙉 What if just being a coworking space wasn’t ‘enough’? #
Cat Johnson digs into why, as competition grows everywhere, coworking spaces need to focus on who they want to serve, and how to do that. If your target market is "literally anyone willing to pay" then read this and heed Cat’s response: "No, friend, no".
Yes, friends, yes.
🙌 9 coworking leaders on their best advice for building community #
The Optix team asked nine experienced coworking leaders for their best piece of advice for building community in their space.
The leaders who shared advice were Mark Eaton (The Corner Coworking), Steve Krueger (ECOMsquare), Rebecca Brian Pan (Trellis Coworking), Karen Tait (The Residence Coworking), Tori Taylor & Viarni Bright (Bad Company), Michael Mason (Olio Coworking), Maggie Segrich (Sesh Coworking), and Gerarld Vanderpuye (Impact Brixton). They shared where to put 10x effort, involving the neighborhood, making member connections frictionless, creating a unique vibe, events, experiences, passions and starting before you open.
🏅 Another great example of corporate coworking positioning #
Amanda Lewan shares that another 40 person team chose to shift to coworking, considering using just a 10 person office shared between their team. Linked in the post is also how Bamboo positions the benefits for corporates to move their HQs into flex spaces. Definitely worth checking how they (re)introduce coworking to local larger businesses and employers.
🆕 There’s still (huge) opportunity for new flex brands #
Michael Dubicki from flexioffices shares that when asking the "Head of Real Estate for a large UK company" (who happen to use a lot of flex space) to name as many coworking brands as they could, only IWG and WeWork came to mind.
This could be seen as massively frustrating, I believe for most creative flexspace teams this presents a multibillion dollar opportunity. Who can and is building the brands that come next? You are. Right?
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💻 Coworking technology.
🇺🇸 The top US cities with the most balanced coworking distribution #
Researchers at CoworkingCafe analyzed 350+ metros (divided into three population brackets) and ranked them according to the highest share of zip codes that have coworking spaces to determine where remote workers have the best chances of finding a coworking space close to their homes.
They found that Miami was the top large metro with a balanced distribution with a flex space in over 25% of its zip codes (ie 77 zips in Miami have at least 1 coworking space). Raleigh, NC, and Denver, CO, come in the 2nd and 3rd spots with coworking spaces in 23.5% and 22.2% of their zip codes, respectively.
_In the mid-sized metros bracket, Durham, NC, is in the lead with 19.5% of zip codes having coworking spaces. Bridgeport, CT, and Charleston, SC, come 2nd and 3rd with a 15.8% and 15.3% share of zip codes with coworking spaces. _
Naples, FL, has the highest share of zip codes with coworking spaces in the small population bracket, as well as overall, at 26.9%, with nine coworking spaces spread throughout. Ann Arbor, MI, and Bend, OR, follow with 21% and 20% of their zip codes having coworking spaces.
📚 Italian Librarians Association is running a survey on coworking + libraries #
The Italian Library Association (AIB) and the Group of Study and Work are running an international survey to explore how libraries around the world are offering coworking services. There are 25 questions and your replies will be part of a systematic research conducted by the two organizations.
🛂 How 10 destinations compare for long-term remote workers. #
Paul Tostevin shares research by Savills into how 10 remote-work destinations compare based on their connectivity, climate, residential rental market and quality of life.
Top of the chart is Dubai, followed closely by Malaga and Miami. I wonder if the team should include coworking or flex space availability and pricing into their next index.
📄 All 64 slides of that recent “The Future Of WFH” presentation #
Simon Davis shares a PDF copy of the keynote that Nick Bloom gave at the Purposeful Intent and CoreNet Global event this week.
I’m gonna need 30 or so weeks to process this one. Enjoy.
✅ Future of Flex Survey (closes this week) #
The Instant Group’s "Future of Flex" survey will close this week. Share your thoughts on the current state of the flexible workspace market. From the good to the bad and even the brilliant, your insights are critical. All feedback matters, is anonymous, and will help inform future strategies for the industry’s success.
Coworking market moves.
🛍 How landlords, big names, and coworking startups are revitalizing retail districts #
Consulting and creative agency Wunderman Thompson looks at how shopping streets will be revitalized by focussing on community. In this interesting post, Marie Stafford explores how innovative approaches are helping to reverse waning footfall in retail districts, where in the UK alone over 17,000 stores shuttered in 2022 (up 50% from 2021).
Examples include LGIM Real Assets supporting budding local traders at Kingland Crescent (in Poole, UK), H&M’s concept store offering bi-weekly themed activations (in NYC), Athlete’s Foot hyperlocal collection (in Midtown Atlanta), and how Patch is helping revitalize high streets (in the UK) with neighborhood shared spaces for work, leisure and community.
🧘♀️ Become an investor and get free Wellness, Spa and/or Coworking memberships. #
Paul Hepworth Nelmes highlights how Oru are combining investor perks and actual equity in their current crowdfunding round.
Adding free Wellness, Spa and Coworking memberships along with the equity (shares) available is an interesting approach to building a funding round. I’m curious to watch this play out (read: cheering along LOUDLY as they pass 92% funded with over 20 days left of their campaign). If they close this round, and they should, at a £40.1M valuation – it may set a new playbook for other coworking spaces looking to raise through crowdfunding.
👩⚖️ IWG taps FSB for UK member perks & services #
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) announced a new strategic partnership in which IWG small business customers will receive benefits worth thousands of pounds per year. The business support package for SMEs equips business owners with essential tools, resources, support, and expertise for starting, running, and growing a business. Provided by the FSB, it will encompass a wide range of provisions, including access to legal protection, tax investigation protection, PR and crisis management, a legal hub, and various other essential services.
Are member perks and benefits going to be a bigger part of flex space offerings and differentiation, especially as the competition for small and growing business gets even more competitive?
🏦 Buy-to-operate brand’s building taken over by their lender. #
Craig Baute breaks down the sad news that EXPANSIVE’s Trinity Building in downtown Denver has been taken over by its lender.
Even though the model (buying buildings and converting them into mostly flex spaces) might be the framework for buildings in the near future, changes in interest rates right now seems to have made their loans unsustainable in the short-to-medium terms.
📑 Brokers have contingency plans for flex closures #
Gabe Marans shares that when they got the dreaded call that one of their client’s coworking provider would be closing within 30 days – they did not panic, or frantically try deal with the crises. That’s because they’d spent months mapping out contingency plans.
Are you working with your local flex space brokers? Are you keeping them in the loop about availability and pricing? If not, you could miss out on being part of the contingency plans.
📦 Logistics and cowarehousing startup announces national roadshow. #
Maxwell Bonnie shares that Saltbox are about to embark on a nationwide roadshow brining their branded container (and their members, the local community, and government leaders) to Saltbox locations and Main Streets across America.
🎙 Coworking conversations.
Dror Poleg dives into the transformative shift in how we perceive and design office spaces with Jamie Russo on the Everything Coworking podcast.
📆 Coworking events.
🗓 Event ideas & strategies #
August 25: Coworking was never just about desks and wifi. It’s about community and basking in togetherness. What better way to do that than events? But how many times have you gone through the painstaking effort of planning, buying all of the things, and then..nothing? Maybe a trickle of people show, but definitely not the masses like you had envisioned. How do you go approach event planning and execution in a way that keeps your members engaged and wanting more? Let’s chat about it.
🇨🇦 GCUC Canada in Toronto #
Sept 12-13: GCUC returns to Canada for a 2-day event at The Vault.