Five Things we learnt at GCUC Manchester 2024

posted on June 18, 2024 by Emilie Lashmar

By Laurie Dennard, technologywithin


Manchester is the 2nd city of coworking 

Daniel White from CBRE started the conference with a simple data-backed  explanation for the shift in the working population away from London – the house price: salary ratio.  Alongside city councils focused on retaining talent and regeneration, the positive back story for the growth of coworking in the 2nd cities is convincing.  Manchester leads the way with 953,000 sq.ft. of space in 43 buildings across the city and an average occupancy of 76.2%.

Small is beautiful (and brave)

Karen Tait (The Residence Coworking), Claire Carpenter (formerly The Melting Pot)  and Efia Mainoo (Black Owned Studios + Market Place) shared the stories of building their very  personal and individual coworking spaces. All are tightly curated and run with a heart that  larger operators can only dream of. Here are three women who maybe didn’t decide by numbers on opening a space. They relied instead on knowing their community, bringing it with them and inviting them to shape the offering. Truly inspiring.

We want real values; not badges

The subject of whether accreditation is essential for flex to meet esg goals was a lively debate with strongly held views and healthy audience participation.  With several operators now holding B Corp certification  – and many more on the journey – the conversation got beyond the surface tick that a badge offers. Whilst there was acceptance that certification does provide a useful framework to start with, the room as a whole felt that working to a prescriptive viewpoint of what was ethical and sustainable wasn’t necessarily the answer. Setting your own agenda, tailored to your business was ultimately the better way to achieve ESG goals.

We are truly a collaborative industry 

There was such a sense of positivity about the coworking sector as a whole at this GCUC. The feeling was that coworking/flexspace (whatever name you prefer) is now a proven model in the CRE world, not a side show to dress one floor in a building.  As Chris Mapp ( Wizu) said, “We are moving from fixing a landlord’s problem of void space,  to them proactively developing flex.” The people in the room really understood that whilst we compete we’re working together to achieve this.

The sustainability story is finally more than a story

Who would have thought that a panel at 4.55pm – the last slot of the day – talking about sustainable design and furnishing of a space would hold the attention of every person in the room?  Well it did.  And that shows how far this industry has come in leading the way for CRE in creating sustainable workspaces and demonstrating the value this adds to the offering for tenants. 


technologywithin are a proud partner of GCUCUK. We partner with flex operators and commercial landlords to bring their spaces to life by providing connectivity and workspace management solutions that deliver growth.  See you at GCUC London in October!