2 weeks ago, we were in LA for the 2016 GCUC conference. It is always a wonderful chance to catch up with many of our Cobot spaces — and most importantly to keep a pulse on the coworking movement as a whole.
This year represented a distinct new viewpoint because it was the first time that GCUC partnered with Alliance Network. (It was called GCUCALL this year) This brought a different crowd and a different set of experience to the conference. This was the first conference in probably 6 years where we spent most of our time meeting new people!
Coworking facts and figures
As you have come to expect, Carsten from Deskmag gave his update for the status of Coworking in the US based on his annual survey. If you aren’t already reading everything Carsten publishes, start. You can download the full presentation here.
But we wanted to take one slide to discuss our key take-away from the conference:
In 2015–2016, the percentage of full-time employees using Coworking spaces overtook the freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Why is this important?
Because it is finally happening — coworking is growing up.
We have noticed here at Cobot too! From our early days starting co-up.de and deciding to run Cobot, we now have 5 children between our Cobot team and are processing over $5M in invoicing for our spaces per month!
And coworking in total is doing the same. It is no longer just the designers and programmers that never want to have a 9–5, it is also the 9–5ers who realize that the way coworkers work is just much better!
It is a big turning point for the movement as a whole, because we are now an orientation point.
And that is because we have special sauce! Really two special sauces, Community and Flexibility.
These are the pieces that keep coworking at the forefront of the movement and why the spaces that are doing those two pieces well will continue to stand as the leaders.
Cobot and the Special Sauce
Flexibility: As you know we were built for flexibility from the beginning, we are the only software package there that was built specifically for coworking from the beginning (and you feel it in the user experience). And we will keep making your experience as flexible and seamless as possible.
Community: We primarily build our community at co.up with the Cobot Slack Addon and a healthy offering of events. But we know that a lot of you want a more robust solution which is why our partnership with Bisner is right around the corner. While there is no replacement for the hands-on work of building and being part of a community, we will continue to do our part to build digital tools to facilitate that process!
Coworking for Business?
As we mentioned, this GCUC conference included Alliance Network members, who are primarily running business centers. They see that we are starting to take their customers!
In the age of Google and Facebook, a full-time position looks a lot more like coworking then office space. And this is exactly what we saw in the US coworking survey at the beginning of this post.
Because of this — business centers will continue to orient on coworking. But an interesting undercurrent to the conference was that coworking will also orient more on business to help get profitable! We still see at least 25% of coworking spaces being unprofitable (much lower than the beginning of coworking but still much higher than the business centers). So there is a big opportunity for both sides to improve their business for the better. Those who are willing to learn.
Those who are willing to learn, will be those who lead!
We wanted to share one last slide from the presentation that we found especially important.
If you are wondering how to setup your space, or how to reevaluate your space for improvements — walk your way through this list!
Your Cobot Team