The Coworking Now Conference just wrapped up its second edition last month. We were more than excited to support Coworking Now as one of the event’s sponsors and speakers, in Gdansk.
The coworking scene in Poland is fresh and booming, and we spoke to Martyna Czarnobaj and Katarzyna Bobińska from O4 coworking and one of the main organizers of the Coworking Now conference about putting together major events and pushing the polish coworking scene. Here she shares some of her insights:
How do you feel? What was your motivation to organize this conference?
We feel very satisfied, as we achieved our goals. Our first and core motivation was to share — knowledge, experience, “coworking spirit”. Share with other Coworking managers, but also with all potential partners and coworking wannabes. And this — without any doubt — happened. We gave something (especially opportunity to listen to great international speakers we know from other conferences) and we got something (especially during unconference sessions). You should know, that during our Coworking conference journeys we have only met 2 (TWO!) Polish coworkings. So we were truly the most experienced Coworking expert in the room Our next motivation was to promote Coworking idea. This wouldn’t be possible without the event, that caught media attention and helped us talk everywhere and to everyone about the “awesomeness” of the Coworking. And the last (but not least) motivation was Polish Coworking community integration. The real results will be seen in time, but the atmosphere was extremely good and it was at least the beginning of creating something “assembly-kind-of”.
What were your highlights?
Almost all speakers gave great speeches (one of the participants told us, that he had never left the conference with so many notes!). But, when you ask about the “STARS”, I should mention Pauline Roussel with her almost 300 coworkings tour experience (great presentation!), Mike LaRosa (concrete, bullet points inspiration), Piotr Bucki (international communication expert talking about creating good offer) and Claire Carpenter (her basics summary is always welcome).
What were the hot topics?
Business, money, sponsoring — this is an issue for Polish managers (maybe that’s the reason that Polish coworkings [spaces] are generally more profitable than global average — due to report and survey done by O4). Technology was the other thing — Polish coworkings [spaces] are the beginning of the road and any kind of tech help is more than welcome.
Before the conference you started a national survey about coworking. What are the most impressive results? is there a link to it?
There are some similarities with the global movement: same motivations to open coworkings, same optimism, same clients, same challenge = attracting new member. But there are also differences: Polish coworkings are generally smaller (less square metres, less workstations) then global average, we are much more cautious then our European or Asian friends, 54 % of coworkings declare that they are profitable (due to 40 % in the world) and we have MUCH LESS WOMEN (30 %) then the Coworkings worldwide. But the biggest difference is the “coworkinginess” — if you ask Polish Coworking members, why they use such spaces, there are mainly 3 reasons: location, flexible rent and prestige. None of those three are that important among Berliners or French — they look for the community, atmosphere and the people.
How would you describe the status quo of the polish coworking scene?
In our report we’ve grouped the Polish coworkings into 3 „human types” — devoted professional, distanced operator and lost enthusiast. The first one is profitable, experienced, team-leaded, with a lot of services and programs being offered, quite startup oriented. The second one is part-time — it’s just there to give its owner the nicer office. It is a small, generally — in smaller towns, no-profit-no-loss model with one-man management. The last one is just the beginner — he has to rent the space, he feels it’s the future, but the whole business is not profitable and quite limited (not so many services and projects). Of course — it is kind of simplification, but shows the status quo.
What might be coworking trends in Poland for the next months or next year?
Good question — I’m not really a trend-spotting person J, but the only thing I’m certain about is that there will more and more of us every year.
Do you already have plans to organize the conference next year again?
Of course — the next conference will take place 4th of April 2019–04.04 in O4 it is!
Both of you are coworking space owners. How would you describe your community and how did that inspire you to start the conference?
Our community is extremely diverse. And were not so much “Coworking-enthusiastic” at the beginning. We teach them every day, why sharing, openness and networking is GOOD. This was a main inspiration, why we thought he conference was needed. Even our members don’t always get the core of the idea.
You can read more about the conference here and be sure to attend it next year!
We’re planning more coworking/workplace/etc-related events to attend as a team. Which ones do you go to and/or would recommend us? We’re open to events of all sizes, locations and even languages. If you are organizing anything, be sure to let us know!
If you aren’t already using Cobot to manage your coworking space, give it a go! Just sign up for a free trial or a live demo session. You’ll find our features can help you run your coworking more effectively and grow your community.