Last month we flew to Seattle to take part in the Global Coworking Unconference Community (GCUC) at their 2022 North American event. Thanks to a supercharged industry, GCUC NA arrived at exactly the right moment to deliver a timely message about what the future of coworking can be.
The coworking industry can be adaptable, accessible, design-forward, and community-oriented. It can be international, or it can be hyper-local. Most importantly, our industry is growing at a time when most companies are facing shrinking investment and dwindling interest. Now the question is just how to maximize this opportunity for a sustainable and inclusive industry.
What are the stories only you can tell?
A return to form
Back in 2021, we were fortunate to be able to attend GCUC in NYC, where we found ourselves face-to-face with industry leaders for the first time in years. But it was a hybrid conference, which meant certain adaptations to fit the format. This year, GCUC leaned into the advantages of a fully in-person experience and reaped the benefits!
Another return we were glad to see was the data coming from workspace professionals and their occupants. GCUC took the initiative to ask coworking operators and members about their current experiences, which means that we once again have data and insight into what’s happening in our industry right now. That data forms some of our first actionable insights to share.
Happiness is a metric. And according to Liz Elam and the above-mentioned GCUC-sponsored survey, 84% of people are more engaged and motivated when coworking, and 89% of coworkers are happier as a result of coworking. Another interesting fact?
The majority of coworkers say that their membership price is fair, or even a bargain. That means there’s room to increase costs.
You don’t need to worry about the fact that home offices are getting more elaborate, but you might want to update your strategy and pivot to improving the service you provide. In The Future "Office," we heard from Craig Loeber, Senior Director at Industrious, and Larisa Summers, CMO at Convene, on what office space is going to mean in the future now that the world is going hybrid.
Most people have a home office setup now. The thing that will bring them to your office is the same thing that brings them to a restaurant even though they have a kitchen at home: service.
Allow your team to have a voice. They are the most important ambassadors of your brand.
In the panel discussion The War on Talent: Hiring and Retention, we heard from Brad Krauskopf, Founder of Hub Australia, Angie O’Grady, COO at StellaPop, and Anese Cavanaugh, CEO of Active Choices. When it comes to talent, it’s an employee’s market. You need to be ready to make important decisions quickly to compete.
“Hire slow, fire fast? That’s passe. The talent that you love today? You need to hire them right away.”
In the same talk, the conversation on hiring became one about retention, specifically, how to be a better manager to keep your current employees.
“Look your team in the eye and really ask of them, what do you need from me to succeed?”
Nobody, in any industry, has an easy path to success. But there are some pieces of low-hanging fruit that you should look into to quickly increase your revenue potential. Sofia Stolberg, CEO of PilotoMail, brought the data!
Adding virtual memberships or offices adds up to 40% to your revenue stack
And as for looking toward to future… in The Flip Side of Innovation, Elizabeth Scallon, Founder of Find Ventures, shared a not-so-secret need for any company looking to be more than a blip. Of course, it’s easier said than done.
What resources are you dedicating towards innovation? Thinking of an idea doesn’t turn it into reality!
Cat Johnson is a coworking expert who has mastered the art of storytelling and brand-building. Her talk Storytelling is Your Superpower: Using Stories to Differentiate Your Brand was invaluable for an aspiring storyteller. In fact, if you are interested in telling a more persuasive story about your coworking space, I recommend that you visit her site. There you’ll find resources and conversations that you absolutely need to read/sign up for! One formula from her talk that I think is always applicable:
First you have to be different. Then you have to share that difference.
And some extra thanks…
We’d also like to thank PilotoMail for sponsoring the Happy Hour and what might be the most elaborate charcuterie spread we’ve ever seen (paired with a deceptively tasty cocktail). A sign we don’t see enough charcuterie boards or a sign that they know quality and how to steal the show? We say the latter! All in all, it was great getting to know you all better.
And finally, there were a number of people we were able to visit while we were in Seattle, including the team at Indies Workshop, Ross from West Seattle Coworking, Daryn DeZengotita, Ashley Proctor, and so many more. Thanks for taking the time to meet with our on-the-ground team.
And that’s it for GCUC NA 2022, depending on who’s reading this, we either can’t wait to see you again or we can’t wait to meet you! Regardless, we’re looking forward to next year’s event.