- Liz Elam, GCUC Founder and CEO, is anticipating this year’s conference to be smaller than pre-pandemic.
- Elam says Common Desk – a WeWork company, Instant Offices, United Franchise Group, Venture X, Office Evolution, 25N, Convene, and Pacific Workspace will be at this year’s GCUC.
- The biggest questions attendees will be wrestling with at this year’s GCUC will be about the growing role coworking is taking as companies continue to solidify their new hybrid work arrangements.
For the last decade the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC), has served as the largest gathering of coworking thought leaders from around the world. This year GCUC is back and heading to Seattle May 16-19th.
With many communities still reeling from the pandemic and the uncertainties of traveling, Liz Elam, GCUC Founder and CEO, is anticipating this year’s conference to be smaller than pre-pandemic.
Embracing this, Elam has structured the event to be focused on “getting all the right people in the room.” The agenda published so far confirms Elam has been successful with this approach, and the attendee list reads like a who’s who of today’s coworking industry headlines.
“Basically, anybody that’s in the news lately is going to be there; Common Desk – a WeWork company, Instant Offices, United Franchise Group, Venture X, Office Evolution, 25N, Convene, Pacific workspace. It’s like everyone made a big announcement and then booked a ticket to GCUC, and there will be a couple announcements at GCUC too,” Elam told Allwork.Space.
GCUC had planned to be in Seattle in 2020 but like, well, everything, it had to be cancelled. The conference was able to be held last year in New York via a hybrid format. It was hosted in person at Convene and simultaneously available on Convene’s new conferencing tech to create a robust virtual experience for participants still unable to travel.
The massive investment Convene made in the technology paid off, and the virtual experience was engaging and interactive even for Zoom-weary remote attendees. However, this year’s event will not have a virtual attendance option.
Seattle was hit by the pandemic particularly early and hard, which prolonged the disruption in the city longer than others – which is one reason GCUC decided to return there this year.
“Seattle has a proud history of coworking, and many spaces were hit hard,” Chris Hoyt, CEO of the Seattle coworking space The Pioneer Collective told Allwork.Space. “The scene is now thriving once again.”
Although the region is home to major employers like Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks and Costco, only 33% of knowledge workers have returned to the traditional office (compared to 65% in Austin for example), leading to a massive new potential customer base for flexible office and coworking operators in Seattle.
“We’re excited to welcome GCUC to our city, two years after it was originally scheduled to discuss these trends among others,” Hoyt told Allwork.Space.
Without a doubt, the biggest questions attendees will be wrestling with at this year’s GCUC will be about the growing role coworking is taking as companies continue to solidify their new hybrid work arrangements.
The complexities go far beyond figuring out where work will happen. Coworking will be leaned on to help their members (and the companies they work for) answer today’s tough workplace questions. Which work activates are best suited for which work environment? What tech tools are needed to track teams and assign permissions? How are spaces screened and selected? In a dispersed organization, how is culture maintained and wellbeing ensured? The organizations that can answer these questions will be the ones that win the war for talent.