It’s been one week since we left the golden coast of Los Angeles and the phenomenal ALLGCUC Conference. Like we’ve said in some articles already, the flexible workspace conference provided valuable insights and knowledge to all of those attending.
Besides being a great networking opportunity, the conference was also a learning experience. As you’re probably aware by now, the event covered topics like finance, design, technology, and hybrid models, among others.
Looking back at our notes and going over conversations with other attendees, here are 6 things that we learned during the conference:
- Thoug music has been proved to help individuals concentrate while working, offering loudspeaker music in your flexible workspace might not be the best idea. Will Henshall, from Focus at Will, explained that everybody’s brain is different, which means everyone needs different types/genres of music in order to be able to better concentrate. In his own words, “If you play music in your workspace, you will annoy some people and you will help some people,” but fact remains that not everyone will be happy.
- The most profitable coworking spaces aren’t purely made out of shared workspace according to Deskmag’s latest global survey. (More to come in the coming weeks on this topic.) According to the results, in the US 23% of a coworking space is private offices and globally speaking 18% of the space is private workspace. On average, only 50% of a coworking space’s layout is actually shared workspace, the rest is either private workspace, meeting rooms, classrooms, or event spaces.
- Hybrid models are where the industry is going. Deb Larsen, Frank Cottle, and Pam Juba all discussed why this is an important shift in the industry. Mr. Cottle said that all types of flexible workspaces offer a combination of people, place, and technology; they just do so in different ratios. Ms. Larsen stated that “the blending of coworking and business centers is vitally important to the structure of the industry;” and she was among the first to implement this type of model back in 1997 with TechSpace. Last but not least, Ms. Juba mentioned how people often migrate and change their work environment throughout the day, “some people start their day by working in an open space and then they move into a private space, or vice versa.” She argued that, “You don’t sit in one space 12 hours and work; you move around and change environments.”
- The coworking and flexible workspace market has significantly grown in the last few years. This is great news for the industry, but it means that operators need to find creative ways in which to differentiate themselves from other local operators. In Tony Bacigalupo’s words: “You can’t just say you’re a coworking space. What is it that makes you so special? There are plenty of coworking spaces out there.” Mr. Bacigalupo mentions that an operator can differentiate itself by catering to a specific niche within the market, by strengthening its workspace community and culture, or by offering services that not all operators can provide.
- Steve Ryan from RyTech LLC talked about website design of the future. According to Mr. Ryan, “by 2020 85% of individuals will manage their relationship with a business without connecting with a human.” This means that your website becomes a key part of your outreach, marketing, and customer service strategy. Here’s what’s changing in website design: user experience becomes a priority, responsive design is a must, operators need to add live chat to their site, the use of video becomes more important, and the website should include your workspace members. As for what to avoid, Mr. Ryan mentions slideshows of any kind, excessive content, and poor navigation. His suggestion is: hire a pro to help you create or redesign your website.
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- Your flexible workspace staff is the first to set a sense of community in your space, especially your community manager — which is why their role is one of the most important roles of any coworking space. Community managers are enablers; they help members connect with each other and they’re in charge of nurturing and fostering a strong sense of community and culture. Iris Kavanagh and David Walker talked about how coworking is all about inclusiveness, but that even so, at times it might be necessary for your community manager to ‘kick someone out’ if the community and culture of the space are being negatively affected and previous efforts at fixing the situation have not been fruitful. To learn more about community and successful community managers, click here.