In 2020, we launched a flurry of new features, integrations, and improvements. Of the many that we’re proud of, there are two that stood out to us as examples of how our interface is now better supporting Cobot-powered spaces: the Booking Calendar and the improved Events. These two improvements dramatically changed the way that members and admins interact with resources and events, two key features for every space.
What makes us especially proud, however, are the features and modes of support we built when the coronavirus first affected coworking spaces and then throughout the pandemic. Our spaces needed to act quickly so we worked with them closer than ever before. We asked for more extensive feedback, had regular check-ins (video calls and a direct Slack channel with leadership, dev, and communications teams) with our customers, to hear what they needed—then turned our original 2020 roadmap upside down. We built features for spaces to communicate quickly and efficiently with their community: i.e. to share their status whether open or closed and communicate safety precautions in a space, to make it easier to pause memberships, and message members.
We collected materials for public use on our COVID-19 pages and quickly adapted our tax rates for spaces in regions with short-notice changes for business relief.
We launched an Instagram series on creative uses of Cobot that highlighted innovations made possible not just by our software, but by the engaged and talented community of coworking spaces and their members worldwide. You can see the full series on Instagram or read highlights on our blog.
Our support is always happy to jump on a call—but sometimes, you might need a longer, more in-depth, personalized session. That’s why we launched our Support Packages! Book our senior support specialists for help getting set up, onboarding your staff, or just making the most of your existing setup.
Integrations form one of the pillars of our software, and this year we were able to add three new integrations to our already extensive list. Dormakaba Exivo is an access-control company with a special feature for Swiss spaces that utilizes the country’s existing infrastructure. Salto KS is one of the world’s leading access control platforms across industries. And Syncaroo picked the right time to launch their synchronization integration—we integrated with them in time for their updates to help keep members in the loop during the early days of the pandemic.
Did you know that Cobot’s second language wasn’t German, it was French? It’s true! Our app has been translated and available in French for close to a decade. This year, we began producing content for our French-speaking community, which you can read here.
Podcasts were already popular, but this year rocketed their popularity to heights that would have been previously unimaginable. We were proud to sponsor two top-tier podcasts that tied in with our values and hopes for the coworking world.
The Coworking Values podcast has been a flagship podcast of the European Coworking Assembly. It collects voices from across the continent (and the world) who are demonstrating the values and aspirations of the coworking movement. We’re proud to support the podcast as they shed light on the innovators who drive our industry forward.
Coworkies’ podcast Hot Water came out of the gate strong with an interview with Bailey Richardson, one of Instagram’s first employees. We’ve eagerly awaited each top-quality edition since! We’re so glad to be supporting a podcast that manages to be about coworking while finding interesting voices from outside of the coworking world to bring perspectives to our industry.
Conferences, events, and campaigns
Though it feels like a lifetime ago, we did attend one in-person event in 2020: CU Asia! We’re grateful to the organizers and while it became a stressful trip home for many of the attendees, it was also an unforgettable experience and gave us memories to hold on to over the past months.
And when the world changed, the conferences changed with it! We attended digital versions of GCUC, the Global Workspace Associate Conference (two different editions!), CCCSEE, the German Coworking Federation conference, Coworking Europe, Hack Coworking, and EF Week. It was more than a small miracle that so many organizers were able to turn events rooted in the live experience into digital-first events pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
One of our favorite highlights was our panel discussion during EF Week, Banking on Freelance. The discussion brought out many of the hopes and realities of work for freelancers and coworking spaces as both adjust to a wave of changes in the freelance community. Extra thanks to the panelists who brought their vast expertise to share with us, Marc Navarro, Caterina Maiolini, Maria Calafatis, and Yann Heurtaux!
We also supported the Collaborative Challenge for RGCS and the Coworking Library in an effort to improve the Coworking Library’s collection of research and bring underrepresented countries, languages, and identities to the fore as a part of their mission to make coworking more equitable, just, and accessible.
The pandemic is responsible for hardships everywhere, but some places felt an acute need to address local issues. One such issue was the British domestic aid response, which excluded coworking spaces (categorizing them as neither hospitality nor real estate). The London Coworking Assembly created the #saveourlocalcoworking campaign and we were proud to support their effort to maximize government support for coworking spaces.
We also took part in the latest Climate Strike here in Berlin. It hasn’t been in the headlines as much as it was last year, but climate change is still developing unabated and we are doing our part to change our own behavior and demand more widespread changes to avert the worst case climate scenarios.
Usually we get to celebrate all the content we put forward on our blog. This year is no exception—except in one way: We have a completely new blog that makes it more enjoyable to read our articles and easier to share them with your coworkers!
We were proudly able to feature a number of series that explored coworking topics around the world. We surveyed and interviewed spaces each dealing with the pandemic in very different ways. We looked into the burgeoning world of Latin American coworking in our Coworking LATAM series. And we’re currently on a #CoworkingTour of all the spaces we can’t visit right now due to travel restrictions.
And alongside it all we’ve continued to ask coworking experts #5Questions about their life, work, and predictions for the future.
Thanks to our collaborators
Everything we do is thanks to the people we work with. Our team is made up of talented and passionate people, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with like-minded people from coworking communities all over the world.
That includes (among so many others) our frequent contributor and consultant Marc Navarro; Coworkies co-founder and dedicated organizer Pauline Roussel; Senior VP of Communications and High-level Workplace Strategy at the European Coworking Assembly Bernie Mitchell; podcast producer superstar Željko Crnjaković; and founder of Creative Blueprint & Coworking Canada Ashley Proctor for organizing the coworking IDEA project. There are so many more people we’ve worked with in a variety of capacities to whom we’d like to say: thank you!
And to everyone who uses Cobot—seeing what you accomplish makes every day special. We know this year has been difficult for many of you, but you’ve managed to turn that difficulty into opportunity and shown the world why coworking is more important now than ever. We love what we do because of the people who use our software; we’re excited to continue to grow alongside you for years to come.