- GCUC UK took place last week, October 25-27 in London.
- Digital nomad, Robert Kropp, shares how the event opened up his mind and understanding of the industry.
- Robert explains how people from across all sectors during the event and the coworking tours created a unique and robust dialogue that provided many insights on how to improve and continue to grow the industry.
This past year I’ve been traveling, working, and writing out of over 80 different shared workspace and coworking spaces in 50+ cities around the world. It wasn’t until this past week that I had the opportunity, for the first time, to get together with people from across all sectors of the industry.
I am talking about GCUC UK.
From the moment the event started on the rooftop of a building overlooking the Thames River to the closing remarks, I was meeting owners, operators, builders, 3rd party suppliers, brokers, investors, managers, and many others who were each shedding a new light on the industry.
Each new connection further expanded my understanding of where we were as an industry, but it also sparked ideas that I could share in the future. After all, knowledge, connections, and growing together is why we decided to come together for a conference in the first place.
Day one covered a number of topics including a discussion from The Office Group founders to a look at wellness in the industry. Day 2 was focused more on corporates, mastermind groups, as well as the unconference portion of the event, where attendees get to create their own content and vote on which topics to discuss.
Day 3 involved a group of coworking tours. As a digital nomad traveling and writing about coworking spaces around the world, this was the day I was most looking forward to. I have to admit, I was curious about the dynamic of touring spaces together with space owners, operators, industry professionals, and future entrants.
It was quite the experience, as I got to hear and share in on perspectives I wouldn’t have typically thought of.
The tour included these spaces in the heart of London:
Located across multiple floors, Headspace has done a great job of having different shared and private spaces that appeal to many different types of people. This floor pictured above, The Garden, is bright and airy with big windows that let in plenty of light. It is perfect for a meeting or getting away to relax for a moment while catching up on emails.
Described as a “relaxed and cultured atmosphere”, this space has a sophisticated feel with a beautiful and open design. The board rooms, meeting rooms, and other spaces were full with teams; there were also plenty of one on one meetings that brought the space to life and gave it a nice level of energy.
I have to give a special shout out to the team at eOffice for having a coffee, tea, and biscuits break ready when we arrived. It was tasty, nice surprise. Providing plenty of shared and private options, the design of eOffice offered several areas to work from, each with its own distinct character and vibe.
Our last stop brought us stepping off the street directly into the kitchen area of the space. This created a really interesting perspective of coming home and I believe is great at bringing members of the community together. A multi floor space, Work.Life Fitzrovia had plenty of options to find your nook to get work done.
I’ll let you make up your mind on which space is the best fit for your yourself; I don’t believe there’s a right space for everyone. As long as a space has the basics of a workspace, it all boils down to finding the right location, price, and community that best matches yourself and the goals of business.
What made this coworking tour so interesting, beyond the variety of spaces that we were shown, was the different points of view of the people in the group. Having people from all sectors of the industry created a wonderful dialogue around each spaces’ community, finances, occupancy, growth, mission, and overall direction. We were not coming in as members or future members necessarily, instead we came in as fellow stakeholders in the industry who had an interest in sharing what we know and learning from what others were doing.
Once we wrapped up the tour, we all went our separate ways. It was time to get back to normal life.
What stayed with me with after my first GCUC UK experience was the incredible people that I met. I was able to pick the brains of people that owned, financed, and built dozens of spaces and those that are looking to start their first. I learned about new marketing techniques, the importance of wellness, and I even tried out many new products created specifically for the industry.
All of these people are the reason the industry continues to grow and evolve. GCUC UK provided me with an opportunity to continue to explore the growth of coworking and contribute to improving this industry I like to call home.