Our GCUC Conference Free Ticket Giveaway is ON

Hello there!

We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be giving away a ticket to this year’s GCUC (juicy) conference in New York!

 

 

If you don’t know about the marvelous GCUC conference, then get yourself over their website and take a look around. It’s a fun, inspiring and all around awesome conference aimed exclusively at the Coworking and Flexible Office industry. It’s amazing, trust us.

How can you snag yourself this golden ticket? Well, that’s the fun part! Read below for the details:

  1. We want to hear how OfficeR&D has impacted your business or community. This can be an overall insight, a case study, a specific story from your space/community or any topic that comes to mind when you think about your journey with OfficeR&D.
  2. The formatting is up to you!
    1. Send us a written submission with no less than 150 words
    2. Don’t like to write? Send us a video clip and please keep to under 5 mins.
    3. Teleport yourself to our offices in Bulgaria and do an in-person pantomime
  3. The deadline to send your submission is Sunday 11th March at 8 pm PST.
  4. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 13th March by 6 pm PST.
  5. Send your submissions to jessica@officernd.com

Important things to know before you submit:

  1. You must be available to attend the conference. It runs from April 22-24 and will be held in New York, US. We’d hate to choose a winner and then have them not be available to travel.
  2. You must be a customer of OfficeR&D. That means you can be an employee, a manager, an operator, an owner – all entries are welcome. As long as your company is using OfficeR&D, then you’re all set!
  3. We’re giving away 1 free ticket to the conference – winner will pay for their own accommodation, travel, and expenses.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

GCUC Canada Coworking Conference 2017

“Coworking is not about desks, WiFi or Coffee. It’s about people.” – Ashley Proctor, GCUC Canada 2017

Day 1: Conference

This was my first GCUC Canada Conference and I was very, very excited. Coworking conferences are the place where I get inspiration and connection, where we can hang out with like-minded people and geek out about Coworking for 3 days straight. This Coworking thing is growing, maturing and it’s here to stay. We’re seeing Coworking pop up in lots of different forms and we got to hear about these at the conference;  

  • Coworking with Childcare
  • Coworking in Shopping Malls
  • Rural ‘Outpost’ Coworking
  • MakerSpaces are on the rise
  • Coworking in Airports

Basically, Coworking is aiming for world domination.

This year GCUC was held at 312 Main in downtown Vancouver. The building (the former Vancouver Police headquarters) is still under construction, and while we sat in an unfinished, raw space, it was welcoming and cozy. This set the tone for the following two days. When 312 Main is completed it’s going to be incredible, I mean, it already is, but holy moly I’ve never heard or seen or heard of anything like it. 100,000 square feet of community-driven, inclusive, beautiful and carefully thought out space. Hats off to the team working on this project. I had the pleasure of touring the space myself on day 3 of the conference, which was led by the dynamic and inspiring Ashley Proctor. We walked through floors of former holding cells, shooting ranges and marveled at the transformation taking place. If you like coworking or just cool stuff in general, check out the project for yourself!     

Day one of the conference was the usual conference fare of icebreakers, awesome panels, and generally inspiring talks. Carsten from Deskmag gave us the rundown on members behavior and what trends we’re seeing. Read more about it here. Fun fact – 41% of our communities are made up of Freelancers! The Women Who Cowork made their debut by honoring and highlighting female pioneers in the Coworking industry. We also saw vibrant panel discussions on The Future of Work as well as a panel on Coworking spaces across Canada. We got to hear some unique insights when members of local coworking spaces were invited to speak on a panel. We don’t often hear from the members at these conferences and this was an interesting and unique perspective. It’s great to hear how coworking is affecting the lives and businesses of those who are joining our spaces. It’s what pushes the industry to keep growing and also spreads awareness. We rounded out the day with happy hour at Vancouver’s revolving restaurant. Coworking people + happy hour = a very, very happy, happy hour!   

Happy Hour!

Day 2: Unconference.

I’ve participated many coworking unconferences, but this was different. It was a whole room of people showing up, being vulnerable and working on topics together. As you sat in the room, you could hear snippets of conversation popping up and there was a lot of “how can I help you with that?” and “What do you need to make this work?” We had 5 sessions over the course of the day. There were so many great and varied topics covered and the highlights (for me) were talking with the Women in Coworking group, hearing feedback about Technology for coworking spaces and learning that smaller town (or commuter) Coworking is on the rise. The great thing about participating in these conferences is the chance to sit and listen and hear where we’re going as an industry. We learn so much about what our coworking operators and owners are looking for, and then we have the opportunity to turn that into something practical that’s reflected in our technology. We do our best work when we listen.

Thank you to the GCUC team for putting together another conference, can’t wait for the next!

GCUC 2017

The Global Coworking Unconference Conference USA 2017 in New York City was a coworking blast. It was 3 days full of coworking conference and unconference talks, great topics and a really awesome crowd.
GCUC 2017

Coworking is Growing & Maturing

Coworking is becoming an industry. Some people may not like it but it’s a fact. You can feel it by only taking a look at the conference itself:

  • A very well organized event;
  • Great venue in Midtown Manhattan;
  • Great professional speakers;
  • Lots of businesses from all around the world attending the event. There were people and businesses presenting, networking, showcasing their services and products in booths and participating in every possible way. It was a high-energy event!
  • Advanced topics were discussed and real research on different topics was presented;

Coworking is growing, maturing and become more awesome than ever. Following are our key takeaways from GCUC 2017 USA.

People, Place, and Technology

Frank Cottle from the Alliance Business Centers made a really good point that Coworking (and Flexible workspaces in general) is a combination of people, place, and technology and you can’t unbind them. We love this and here’s why:

  • People – the community is the heart of your space. People need to feel that they belong. Give your members a safety zone, sense of belonging and an honest place to work. Establish a common ethos and you and your members will be more successful. Focus on the member and all else will follow.
  • Place – of course, you can’t go without the physical address. Location, design, comfort, usability, it all matters for your members. Startups do not thrive in garages anymore, they do in nice places surrounded by like-minded people, like your coworking space.
  • Technology – we live in a connected, high-tech world. Make your members’ life easy. Enable them to collaborate and remove all obstacles so they can run their businesses more efficiently. Don’t overdo it, please.

Community, Community, Community

Although Coworking is maturing and has become a legitimate industry, the main focus is and will always be your community. It’s a people-centric business and we want to keep it that way. We’re more connected than ever, but perhaps Coworking is growing in popularity because people want to feel connected, have a sense of belonging and find a place in the world (and find a place to get some work done!) One of the talks that really jumped out at us was by Casper ter Kuile and Angie Thurston from the Harvard Divinity school. They gave some interesting and fascinating examples on the parallels between religion and coworking. They also talked about new ‘religions’ such as cross-fit and Coworking where people are gathering, connecting and finding their community. It’s fascinating stuff and if you’re interested, you can read the full study here. Our main takeaway from a technology standpoint; focus on the members and how technology can enhance their experience and don’t be a barrier for managers to get their work done!

Place, Location, and Business

Successful communities need a successful coworking business. If you don’t build a successful business, you’re letting down your members. Consider more ways to make money from your space and physical address. Examine carefully your revenue streams (chart of accounts). A few examples of how to increase revenue are:

  • Virtual Offices – your highest margin revenue stream.
  • Events are a great source of revenue and awesome marketing tool.
  • Meeting rooms could be bigger revenue than memberships and provide higher margins.

Note: The rule of thumb is – the more long-term and fixed membership, the less profit margin. Private offices are the least profit margin while virtual office, events, and meeting rooms are the highest margins per sq. ft. 

Technology and Apps

Edwin Akoubians from Titan Offices made some really good points about choosing the right technology solution during the Tech track discussion.

  • Don’t rush into buying a software before you open. You need some time to understand how things work;
  • Establish a simple core set of technologies as your backup;
  • Experiment with different tools until you find the right one for you.

Other interesting findings were that the overall quality of coworking software isn’t great. Some coworking spaces are looking to develop their own tools because the existing solutions out there are not good enough. We’re hoping to change this, let us do the heavy lifting! More on this soon. 🙂

Marketing

Marketing is a big thing for every coworking space, well, and every business. Here are a few of the key ideas that came up:

  • Content marketing works well for all spaces – from small to big. To make it work well, first, you need to define your target persona carefully and then be consistent.
  • Facebook/Social checkin through WiFi – you can set your guests’ wifi network to ask people to signin with Facebook and automatically check them in your space. Smart!
  • Gmail ads work well too.
  • The guys from Find Workspaces made some good points about Google maps. Google is showing more results nowadays from google maps so make sure you’re present there. Pictures are a must have. Try to add really good quality pictures often.
  • Be creative – think about how your members can generate content and marketing for you. For example, bring something funny in your space that the members will take a picture with and post on social. It’s free awesome marketing.
  • Leverage events and meeting rooms – every 1 out of 200 people who visit your event is a qualified lead. This has a much higher conversion rate than paid ads for example.

There are the topics that we found really exciting. Please, feel free to add what moved you in the comments below.

Thank you GCUC team and all partners for organizing such a great event. Keep up the good work!

Coworking 2.0 and the Office as a Service is here to stay and ready to grow.