Conferences and Events

A Day at the Flexwork Academy in Madrid 2024

A Day at the Flexwork Academy in Madrid 2024

The Flexwork Academy is an event series designed to help coworking space operators manage their spaces better. This year’s edition, organized by Martina Muises and Marc Navarro and proudly supported by Cobot, took place in Madrid on May 27, 2024. Our team members Denis, Laura, and Kristina had the chance to attend in person, and we came back full of inspiring stories and learnings that we can’t wait to pass on to our Cobot spaces.

Here is our full recap.

An Engaged Audience and a Stunning Venue

The audience in Madrid consisted of both seasoned workspace operators and newcomers to the coworking industry. We could tell that the people in attendance were ready to learn and get their hands dirty in very practical workshops: the atmosphere was buzzing! The coworking operators visibly enjoyed meeting their peers and exchanging tips and experiences with each other.

The hosting space contributed to the very creative atmosphere. Attico’s María de Molina location is a beautifully designed workspace with lots of natural light all day long. The best feature was a huge terrace where we got to enjoy tapas for lunch to recharge.

Designing and Monetizing Your Space

The Flexwork Academy kicked off with a welcome by Marc Navarro, and then went straight into the first workshop:

Marc Navarro, Organizer and Coworking Expert

Under the guidance of the team, attendees teamed up into four groups to create the best possible layout for a fictional space. Starting with just a printed floor plan and some pencils, the room quickly became busy with ideas. In the next step, we used the interactive tool Rayon to digitize the floor plan and sketch out the interior more accurately, down to carpets and decorations.

Uri Iskin, CEO & Cofounder at HIT, and Alberto Pérez Cofounder at workINcompany , Flexwork Academy 2024
Uri Iskin, CEO & Cofounder at HIT, and Alberto Pérez Cofounder at workINcompany , Flexwork Academy 2024

The same groups created a profit and loss statement for their designed space in the next session. With the help of Uri Iskin and Gabriel Bucher, cofounders of Hit Cowork, each group mapped out a detailed estimate of the investment cost and the expected revenue of the space they had designed. A detailed spreadsheet calculation provided by Hit Cowork made it easy to calculate a "Profit Share" model, where both the operator and landlord benefit from a coworking business. The comparison between the groups quickly showed the enormous difference that design decisions can make, like the ratio of private office space vs. flex/fixed desks. In the end, the groups landed on quite different profitability results.

Humanize your workspace

The final session, led by Ernesto de Olazával, Founder of Comunal, walked us through the communication and sales strategy of Comunal, a large network of spaces across Latin America. For a deeper dive into their innovative approach and impact, check out this blog post.

Ernesto De Olazával, Cofounder & CEO at Comunal

He shared the inspiring success story of their operations, starting humbly with a single location in 2013 and growing to 18 locations between Peru and Mexico. And how did they get there? They have a clear strategy for optimizing their products for a changing market, and—like Hit Cowork—they follow a profit-share model, where landlords become true partners.

But, as Ernesto insisted, nothing would have worked out like that without 100% focus on the people in the space:

„At Comunal, our mantra is to create the most inspiring and most humane work environment possible“

What does a space need in 2024?

Andrea Clavijo, Martina Muises, Uri Iskin and Ernesto de Olazával
Andrea Clavijo, Martina Muises, Uri Iskin and Ernesto de Olazával

A panel discussion complemented the workshops of the day. Martina Muises, organizer of the Academy and founder of Loft153Andrea Clavijo Teijido of ImpactHub Madrid, and previous presenters Uri Iskin and Ernesto de Olazával debated what a coworking space absolutely needs in 2024.

The tricky question to start with was: Name just two things that a coworking space absolutely needs in 2024. The panel quickly agreed on flexibility and agility as something an operator needs in order to react quickly to changes.

Ernesto also highlighted the need for sustainability, and Andrea pointed out the need for a distinct experience: a super attractive workplace with high-quality events creates a community and loyal clients. The audience chimed in here too. Juan Blas from the rural coworking/coliving network Rooral added that it’s not just about the inside of the space anymore, but also the outside, the surroundings. More and more coworkers are looking for a beautiful environment that offers relaxation and inspiration.

One point all participants agreed on: Nurturing an engaged community with many lovingly organized events can be expensive and draining on personal resources.

This needs to be balanced in order to run a sustainable business and scale up. Rentability and self-care should never be forgotten. Practical examples to get there: Members can be included to run community activities, or external facilitators can run lucrative multi-day events.

Some more small practical tips that we really liked:

Martina from Loft153 recommended to read all the Google reviews of the coworking spaces in your area. It’s your audience, and you can learn exactly what they like and what they’re missing. This can help to improve what you offer in your space and set your brand apart.

Ernesto from Comunal shared how they invested in microphones in their meeting rooms to support video calls with groups: the sound experience is now much better. These easy and affordable hacks make a difference in coworker satisfaction.

After Hours, Exploring Madrid and Getting Ready for the Coworking Spain Conference

Coworking space tour- Flexwork Academy 2024
Coworking space tour- Flexwork Academy 2024

Marc and Martina wrapped up the academy by gathering the day's learnings and feelings to provide attendees with a clear path to follow when returning to their spaces. And yet, the day was not over: During an optional coworking tour, we visited Networkia & First Workplaces on P.º de la Castellana, Spaces at Calle María de Molina, and Cink Coworking at Calle de Núñez de Balboa. On the last stop, we returned to Attico to end the day with tapas and cool drinks on the terrace, enjoy the warm Madrid evening, and have more in-depth conversations about coworking.

This fifth edition of the Flexwork Academy was a day full of learnings that left us excited for what the future holds for the coworking industry – and ready for the two following days of Coworking Spain Conference! Read more about this in our blog post about CWSC 2024.

Kristina Schneider

Co-founder and Head of Product at Cobot. I’m currently based in Berlin, but love to travel and work from coworking spaces, libraries and beaches around the world. 🌴🤙