To all the attendees, presenters, moderators and sponsors who participated in our inaugural GCUC UK event, our sincerest thanks. We loved meeting you and are already making plans for GCUC UK 2019.
To help us make GCUC UK as relevant and valuable to you as possible, we need your feedback. Please check your email for a follow-up survey and let us know what we did well, what needs to be improved, and what you’d like to see in future GCUC events.
We kicked GCUC UK off with drinks at the Deck at Office Space in Town, where we were treated to an absolutely gorgeous moonrise and a must-see view of London. The next day we headed to King’s Place for the conference, where nearly 300 workspace operators met, networked, learned from industry veterans and experts, and shared resources and experiences.
We received a insight into the state of the coworking market in the UK and beyond, starting with a conversation with Mark Bott from Colliers International; Carsten Foertsch from Deskmag; and James Rankin from The Instant Group. It seems things look very positive although Deskmag’s fact about the profitability of spaces left delegates wanting to know more information about how this statistic was arrived at.
We we got an entertaining, behind the scenes look at the early days of The Office Group from Olly Olsen and Charlie Green, It’s so exciting to see one of the UK’s biggest operators share their journey. It was clear that their values today are the same as they ever have been. It’s all about the customer!
Mat Oakley chaired the Great Debate: Is the Coworking Bubble going to burst? The conclusion was that, no, coworking is here to stay and will only continue to grow. But expect competition from the landlords, hospitality and other industries.
GCUC UK attendees were reminded that workspace technology is evolving quickly and that, as Bott put it, “Technology is oxygen for business.” Anthony Slumbers and Ronald Van Hoff from Seat2Meet agreed that we have to make the most of our human skills and we need workspaces that encourage that.
The conversation with niche workspace operators Shazia Mustafa from Third Door, Natasha Guerra from Runway East, Ursula Errington from Signal Bordon and James Byrne from Sustainable Workplaces illuminated the growing need for spaces to serve specific market sectors.
During a panel about all things money in the workspace industry, Giles Fuchs reiterated that small workspace operators with plans to scale can do so one step at a time. He recounted starting with a management contract and explained the journey from that point.
We heard from vibrant workspace operators outside of London about the importance of—and opportunity in—building coworking spaces in suburbs as well as small and mid-size cities. Charlie Hoult was keen to stress the role that coworking can play in regenerating local economies. We participated in some wellness and mindfulness exercises compliments of Maud Chuffart from Kwerk, and we heard Niki Fuchs, Adam Blaskey, Katrina Larkin, Lohan Presencer and Rebecca Collins talk about the blurring lines between coworking and hospitality.
Here are some of our favourite quotes and takeaways from the presentations and panels:
“I don’t see the larger sectors taking over the smaller sectors. There is lots of room for niche markets” – Kathryn O’Callaghan-Mills from Area
“This market is booming the real estate market.” – Mark Bott from Colliers
“In order to survive, you’re going to have to go niche.” – Ursula Errington from Signal Bordon
“In 2003, the serviced office industry was crying out to be modernized…so they created more communal areas.” – Olly Olsen from The Office Group
“I stumbled upon coworking and knew it was what I wanted.” – Shazia Mustafa from Third Door
“Anything that’s encouraging and inspiring girls to start businesses is a great mission.” – Natasha Guerra from Runway East
“We have to make the most of our human skills…and we need different types of spaces to do that.” – Antony Slumbers
“Find investors who have already invested in similar projects.” – Elisabeth Troni from Cushman Wakefield
“Coworking is growing across the UK but there’s still a need to educate people about what it is.” – Matt Kennedy from Avenue HQ
“The power of 1000 companies. What can you do together with all the other innovation businesses?” Jo Willett from Oxford Innovation
“If you can’t make it in a tough market, you are in serious trouble.” – Charlie Green from The Office Group
“It seems bonkers to be considered niche if you have childcare.” – Ursula Errington from Signal Bordon
“WeWork will become less trendy because all big brands do.” – Mat Oakley from Savills
“There’s incredible design variety on the market…It’s about what community you want to be part of.” – Kathryn O’Callaghan-Mills from Area
“People gravitate toward their tribe…You need to build your ecosystem.” – Antony Slumbers
“The mind needs a break. People don’t understand the importance of it. Mental health should be the priority.” – Maud Chuffart from Kwerk
“We’re not a threat, we’re an opportunity.” –Nick Livigne from Verizon
“Work and life are blurring. Why shouldn’t work be fun?” Lohan Presencer from Ministry of Sound
Day Two provided plenty of opportunity for interaction, connection and sharing of best practices. Mastermind sessions on marketing, community-building, workspace technology and management agreements were followed by unconference sessions on niche spaces, the future of work, marketing and community.
We rely on your feedback to help us shape upcoming GCUC events. Please share your thoughts with us in the survey we emailed attendees or by contacting us so we can make GCUC UK even better next year.
Justin and the GCUC UK team