ABOUT THIS EPISODE
In this introductory episode, hear from two of our podcast hosts — Frank Cottle and Ceci Amador — and find out what’s in store for future shows.
Jo [00:00:17] Hello and welcome to the Future of Work podcast by Allwork.Space. I’m Jo Meunier, the UK editor for Allwork.Space, and for those who don’t know, Allwork started out as an industry blogback in 2003, called Officing Today. Back then, we collated news articles for business center owners and operators. A lot has changed since then and over the years Allwork has evolved not just in topics and content, but also in delivery. And now, as you can tell, Allwork has stepped into the recording studio and the world of podcasting. So I’m really pleased to introduce the Future of Work Podcast and to welcome two very special guests for our first podcast episode. We have Frank Cottle, the chairman of Allwork.Space and the Alliance Group of companies who’s been in the flexible workspace industry for 40 years. And Ceci Amador, Senior Associate Editor of Allwork.Space and fellow podcast host. So welcome, Frank and Ceci.
Frank [00:01:15] Thank you, Jo.
Ceci [00:01:16] Thank you, Jo. Hi.
Jo [00:01:18] Hello. All right. So starting with you, Frank, I could read your bio, but it might take me all day. So please tell us a little bit about yourself and Allwork.Space which you started, I believe, 16 years ago.
Frank [00:01:32] Yes, I’ve been in the serviced office sector and the flexible workspace sector for a good 40 years now. We started as a property company for about 10 years, moved to an operating company for another 10 years, sold those portfolios and moved on to a business services and technology company. Today, we’re actually an investment company. So we stayed in the sector and progressed over our 40-year history and just created our last 10-year plan. We’re really looking forward to embracing the changes that we see in the industry as well as all of the new players that we see. It’s just fascinating what’s going on right now.
Jo [00:02:14] Okay. And what made you want to launch a podcast?
Frank [00:02:18] Well, you know, we look at the way media is working and different people have time in different spaces. Some people have time to read, some people travel or commute, and have better time to listen. And we didn’t want anybody to miss out on the incredible content. Allwork is the largest news and information resource within the flexible workplace sector. We reach almost 2 million people a month, now, through social media. So we thought we’d take a more social approach.
Jo [00:02:51] And Ceci, you’ve been a writer and editor at Allwork since 2015 and you’ve recently completed a master’s degree in innovation. So congratulations!
Ceci [00:03:00] Thank you.
Jo [00:03:02] And you’ve seen a lot of changes on Allwork over the years and much of that time it’s been focused on flexible workspace. So why is it that the Allwork.Space Podcast is called The Future of Work?
Ceci [00:03:13] Good question. And yes, when I first started with Allwork a little bit over four years ago, it was still called Officing Today and the coworking movement was just starting. But what we’ve realized over the years is that the world of work has been rapidly changing and evolving now more so than ever. And the workplace is just one part of that equation. And we realize that there’s lots of talk around the future of work, what it is, how it will impact the workplace and workers. And we thought that it would be a good match, particularly because there’s not a whole lot of resources out there that address the future of work in a holistic way. So we don’t want to just talk about the workplace, how to make it better, how it influences people, their productivity, their well-being — but also how it plays into the wider topic, the unknown topic, of the future of work.
Frank [00:04:20] Jo, if I could interject one thing there. I would say that, you know, if you just joined an industry or if you’ve only been in an industry for one part of a cycle, a lot of times it’s hard to assess what’s going on. You see the “now”. But you don’t know the “then” and you don’t know the future. So I think our perspective is unique in that regard that we’ve been seeing evolutionary elements go on for 4 decades. And so to forecast out and to feel the path of where things are going is quite interesting to us. And we have a unique perspective in that regard.
Jo [00:05:03] Absolutely. And when we talk about the future of work, how much future are we talking about? Five years, 10, 20?
Ceci [00:05:12] Yes, I would say so! I think the future of work is not a destination. I think it’s a journey and it will continue to move, evolve, change, disrupt. And so I think that it’s not just about what’s going to happen in the future, but how it’s already happening. And so we can’t give you a timeline on “when”.
Frank [00:05:33] Yeah, I think your next step down the path is the future, but you always have a destination. And so you kind of hope to get where you’re going. And those goals change through time, of course. So as Ceci says, there should be no limitation to what we’re approaching.
Jo [00:05:56] And coming back again to the roots of Allwork.Space and how it started out as a publication for business centers and flexible workspace and how it’s now moving into a lot more conversation about the future of work… The future of work is very much about flexible space, isn’t it, Frank? Can you tell us more about that?
Frank [00:06:15] I think it’s less about the space and actually more about the users: the clients, the members, whatever we want to call them. Our industry has historically been reactive. People have said I need flexibility, and we’ve said, we’ll build a business model for that. So I think the future of work is going to be very customer driven as opposed to space provider-driven. And a big part of our focus is going to be on what does the customer want, and who are the largest groups that are making truly tectonic changes? You might have heard Microsoft announce the other day that they think they’re going to go to a four-day workweek — that’s massive on a global scale. One company does that, then all companies do that — what does that do to the future or what does it do to space itself? How will we repurpose the space that might not be needed anymore? Would it be used for housing? Can it work with inner-city transportation problems? All of these things give guidance to all aspects of the workplace, not just the space itself.
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Jo [00:07:32] And with those topics in mind, Ceci – what kind of topics are coming up on the podcast? And who do you think would benefit from listening in?
Ceci [00:07:43] Everyone! Like we said, we are focusing on having a very holistic, very robust, comprehensive podcast and we will be featuring experts in the flexible workspace industry — investment companies, people from prop tech, from the technology sector, from traditional real estate, marketing, HR leaders. And so I think everyone, including the end-user workers, the customers, would greatly benefit from diving in and tuning into these topics.
Jo [00:08:18] So potentially there’s plenty coming up on the show over the coming months. And Frank, which topics are you most looking forward to?
Frank [00:08:26] I’m mostly looking forward to dealing with the customer. We all know the role that operators play and we know the roles that property companies play. But the customers and the investment companies that bring capital to our industry — what are they looking for, to help our industry grow? One of the biggest challenges large corporations have today — that all companies have today — is a battle for talent. And so understanding the way the human resources departments and strategic planning of large corporations, and government — which will be the biggest drivers to the greatest populations within our industry — how they’re setting up their flexible workplace plans and what they feel is important to them and their constituents, so that our industry builds the right products and knows how to deliver them.
Jo [00:09:20] And Ceci, coming back to the podcast itself, interviewing people is a natural part of your work at Allwork.Space. So can you tell us a little bit about how the audio content will differ from the articles that you already write for Allwork?
Ceci [00:09:36] So for starters, our audio content will be short, sweet, snappy, straight to the point, and I think one of the greatest benefits of audio content is that our guests are experts. They will be able to deep dive into particular subjects that are sometimes harder to convey in a shorter 800 word article. So I think that’s one of the ways; it will be complementary to what we already publish in Allwork.Space. And we understand that people who are attracted to podcasts and written text don’t necessarily like the other. And so what we want to do is make sure that everyone, regardless of how they consume content, are getting the insights they need; valuable resources, and knowledge. And so it’ll be different. But at the end of the day, we’ll be covering similar topics, but with different perspectives, different guests. Some of the guests that we’ll have on the podcast have already been featured on Allwork.Space. Sometimes they won’t. And so I think it’ll be a nice addition to our delivering of news and trends.
Jo [00:10:57] Absolutely. In your usual role as podcast host, Ceci, what type of topics are you most looking forward to digging into?
Ceci [00:11:03] I will say probably marketing. And then I like human resources topics. I think that there has been a lot of talk about robots, a kind of dystopian future of work. And I like thatthat’s not necessarily true. And I like hearing different perspectives from HR leaders about how they think the world of work will change and learnability in the workplace, and people having to focus more on their soft skills. I’m biased, because my soft skills are better than my hard skills. So yeah, I would say those two would be the ones that I’m looking forward to the most.
Jo [00:11:48] Okay. And talking about robots, do you think the machines are going to take over, Frank?
Frank [00:11:54] Absolutely. I think they already have. How’s that for a statement? We’re sitting on Zencastr right now. We’re using technology to distribute our messaging. I run into more people physically now than I ever have, because they’re on the street, looking at their smartphones or tablet, walking down the street. It’s silly. So, yes, the machines have taken over, it’s just to what degree? I think where we’re going to see technology — as, like Ceci, she likes those topics, the topics I like are technology, I like finance, and I like people. I like people who are doing innovative things. So I think technology is going to play a big role in our industry and the evolution and future of our industry. And it’s going to accelerate. So I absolutely think the machines are going to take over. And I think that in the future we’re going to be selling technology from our centers with as much ease as we today serve coffee.
Jo [00:13:02] Exciting times. Frank, please can you tell us how listeners can access more podcast content and where they can go from here?
Frank [00:13:11] Well, I think that’s pretty easy. Just simply go to Allwork.Space. Look for the old podcast button. Most importantly – click in, of course – look at the content that’s there. But most importantly, subscribe to Allwork.Space. It’s free. There’s 10 or 15 articles updated daily. It features everything about all aspects of what’s going on within the flexible work space industry. And so just go to Allwork.Space.
Jo [00:13:47] Okay. Thank you, Frank. So that’s all for now. Thank you for listening. Thank you to Ceci as well. And we’ll hear from you both very soon.
Ceci [00:13:55] Great. Thank you.
Frank [00:13:57] Thanks, Jo.