[00.55] Definition of Social Workplaces
I am the initiator of the project called socialworkplaces.com. Which actually is different coworking conferences we organized since 2010, around the topic of coworking.
The last years we worked a lot on connecting coworking spaces with content, insight, collect information, and data about the coworking model in general. Especially in Europe in the first place. We also get some initiative in Africa and in India. The model coworking surface like ten years ago, we figured out indeed that was becoming something bigger than just the coworking space that operated on their own.
Actually, it was influencing the whole notion of what workplace is all should be. That's why we came with the name Social Workplace. Within the scope of what coworking was actually addressing, to make sure about a new model or the function of the workplace in general. It's not just limited kind of services that are dramatically important and going further right now. It's not something that we see as an exception, we think will represent this kind of model covered.
The majority of the workplace suffering in the world within a few decades because it fits with the change in the way we work, the way the businesses operates. Indeed, we are more network and more working on the project based.
The values of the workers are changing and we are still having additional technological disruption every year that are influencing. Also opening up a field of new opportunities for workers businesses or our societal project, in general. Obviously, this big shift in this big move can't remain without having an impact on how your design a workplace.
[04.06] Coworking Movement
We started to cover the coworking topic by organizing first co-working Europe conference. It was seven years ago and the first one took place in Brussels so we are based in Belgium. Since then, we kept working bringing together coworking communities from all around Europe especially.
We were in touch with our colleagues or peers in the US or North America and South America and Africa or Asia. Due to that indeed there is a lot of connection between what we do here in Europe also what players like GCUC are doing in the US or in Australia, Canada, China now. We are cooperating a lot together we share a lot of insights so far we have our area of operation, they have theirs, and this is the part of the coworking conference.
Social Workplaces have an additional mission which is to bring the values and the knowledge about the operation of coworking spaces and influence or let it be known by all the workplace operators that are existing. They are operating coworking space or not. We think that the story of coworking is bigger than just coworking. It's actually the first step into a dramatic change, in the way we consider what workplace should be.
In the past, the workplace was a design of office, a workshop was there because your tools were there. Now, you'll choose your laptop or in your cloud. So what is the need for a workplace and what's coworking give as an answer. Indeed what was important is you need the basic facility of being in a quiet enough environment to be productive.
Most of all, it had to give you the opportunity to a social interaction. Which is good for your personal feeling but also good for your professional activities and duties. Having an open space or a place which is not necessarily open also the kind of connection you can have. The people working side by side have a very positive impact on your ability to expand your social capital. Connecting with people will feed you with new ideas and creativity and opportunities to partner up. They might become your providers or your customers or your partners, your associates or anything.
Working on the facility which helps to get personal interaction with the people is very powerful. The coworking model expanded definitely the natural move as the concept of a workplace. We need to follow that if don't the purpose of having a workspace will vanish. If you don't run a workspace or you don't rent a workspace, you don't own a workspace because you need to put your tools in it. Why would you do all this stuff renting, owning, running? That's the whole philosophy of Social Workplaces.
We mainly watch would a set of a range of events. We organized sponsor of the production, surveys and data, insights, stories and interviews of operators. It is been the main set of actions that we have been doing so far. Recently, we started to constituency a service called coworking doctors. Indeed, we are working on there another service and product lines.
This is one thing but also what we try to figure out how to share the knowledge of coworking. Helping people designing new workspaces. Integrating dynamic and magic that coworking has. Especially to focus on what are the people expectation needs and emotions that you can have in a workspace. Those elements and dimensions under considered and they've been over loop during decays by facility operators, companies, building or office owners and to us, that's what makes the difference. The facility just a tool to help people feel better and work better. It's not just a commodity that anybody knows has to have. It much brings a higher value-added to the tenants.
[11.13] Coworking development in Europe, America, Australia and Asia
A lot of similarities of course by being itself. Europe is very fragmented, have a lot of languages and a lot of countries.
The way coworking developed in Europe, we're smaller players which were more numerous as opposed in the US. Having dynamic vibrant as well but quite faster the implication of bigger players who started to open a bigger space. Also driven by the dynamic of the cities such as San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles.
In digital driven ecosystems, you saw a spike development of coworking space which was higher. It's no accident that the big brands that we see now are mainly from the US as opposed as to Europe where you had smaller players. As I said it's more fragmented but it started to change recently with the involvement of new brands.
They're opening up a network of spaces which are also bigger now but they start more to work on the country by country basis for the first place. Then expand to the big digital friendly ecosystem such as Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid. Maybe with two years delay will expanding as opposed the US this kind of players are arriving in the market. In some locations such as London, the development of the coworking offering is so strong. Some people also witnessed the development of a price war between operators because the offerings start to be so big. Indeed the competition is getting fiercer and with a result, some coworking spaces have to lower the prices in order to bring more tenants. There is a different level of maturation not only by country but by cities. This is also very reflective of the way the economy is organizing itself nowadays.
A lot of emerging countries in Africa now. Africa is where Europe or the US was seven or eight years ago and in terms of coworking offering. It means that it's very much still driven by the startup movement and the startup ecosystem. As opposed to more mature markets such as Europe or the US where the market of startups which are still filling in those spaces. A lot of those bases likely make a living out of freelancers as well as a traditional worker or small traditional SME.
What we experience in India as well in Africa is that coworking was associated with the startup movement namely. People at some challenge making a difference between coworking and startup incubators so for them it was the same thing. Actually, it's not the same, startup incubators can be put in the coworking family but the coworking family is much bigger.
Coworking is about the workplace market in general so it means that it's a new way to be hosted in a working facility for any kind of players. Mostly from people who work in the digital or who built jobs which are digital friendly or digitally enabled, graphic design, community management, jobs like this.
It doesn't mean that the tenants or the person who pays the invoice from the coworking space are a startup. Actually, in coworking space startup maybe less than 10 percent of the actual tenants, most the biggest part of the tenants of the members are either in individual freelancers or employees of companies which are allowed to work remotely like small and medium businesses. The team comes from two to six to eight or eight people having in coworking space as a proper offering. Allows them to have the flexibility and expand scale up or scale down the way they need it. According to their businesses personality or their activity. So, coworking for them is the perfect work environment.
In Africa or in India, I think India is changing very rapidly and dramatically. We had the conference last year in New Delhi, Coworking India you start to see very big players also shaping up an offering which is closer to some of the kind of offering that happen in in Europe or in the US.
WeWork is the biggest one but it's not the only one. They inspired a lot of players now especially from China but a lot of interesting players in India as well locally based or foreign players you start to see interesting brands and offerings which are popping up as well in India and it's going very rapidly.
In Africa especially but I think also in India too, educating the market in understanding the story about the work space in general not only about startup. The more coworking space you have of course is beneficial for the development of your startup ecosystem because of thanks to the availability of those spaces. You can strengthen your local ecosystem. You can add the people know better with one another together around a relevant event in their Indian business and make a system more visible more searchable.
For instance, for this year, we have the coworking in Europe conference in Dublin in Ireland and they made a study making a very important correlation between the number of coworking space which is there and health of the startup ecosystems. Same thing with Amsterdam, when Amsterdam wants to put itself as a startup a city in Europe. What they promote is actually the liability of the coworking spaces which are available in the city. For them very important to have this landscape of operators and coworking spaces promote them. In order to lure a project and startup projects in the city and make Amsterdam a credit was the option for them.
[20.20] Strategy when price of renting more higher
I think this problem which can occur to any company which rent the space. After your lease contract is over, your landlord is allowed to resume the price of the lease. You need to think about it early enough in order not to be trapped in that kind of consideration. It's true when you launch a coworking space you don't have necessary in mind but this is something which should be taken into account from day one.
For instance, during the negotiation to agree with the landlord. If you want to extend your lease contract your list price will be capped to a certain amount otherwise if you have made a lot of investment also to make sure that your investment in the facility in the design layout is aligned with the duration of your lease contract. Otherwise, you will have a very big control trouble. Actually, it's a regular real estate and facility management issue. Any company which is operating from some places and which is a shopkeeper or a retail industry has the same kind of problem. Your location is important so make sure that indeed you are immune to that kind of problem.
Another problem would occur, it could be also positive to you. If you are in a situation, where the offering of the real estate is higher than demand you could have. Your lease contract decreased, the price could decrease. Actually, there was a lot of stories of successful coworking spaces who actually drew the interests of other players. The impact of the coworking space is a positive impact of the real-estate value of the whole block you are in or the whole neighborhood. It means that there's a negative impact on your success which means that you raise.
The attractiveness of the area you are located could lead to increasing the real-estate cost. Coworking space needs to take that problem seriously. When they closed the deal with the landlord. Figuring out a way to be incentivized about the increasing value of the real estate definitely something coworking spaces can claim they bring. Any landlord actually invites coworking space operator for free because it will increase the attractiveness of the location their own.
[24.25] The best coworking business model
The coworking is an industry like being hotel industry is. There is no magic stick. You need to have good services and to address the need of the people. Coworking is a hospitality service in the working industry. The most relevant to me with the situation is according to who you are targeting in terms of the market. Is it the business manual, or woman, is it the startups, is it the freelancers, is it people in the rural area or whatever.
You're offering will vary. The same way hotels are different, you have some change but you also have small and family like familiar rent hotels. It's true that the biggest now is owned by big multinationals most of the time. It doesn't mean that you don't have bed and breakfast. You have the specific hotels which look like your house to the extent that you have Airbnb and everything so all of them offers accommodation.
What is the difference between them is to whom the customer base they want to reach out to. The level of prices will vary according which customer base you are looking for. In the coworking space industry, the same thing is already happening. You have a different level of offerings will develop a different level of services. According to where you will be located or what kind of services you want to deliver. You will have certain a specific profile of customers as opposed to another.
[26.30] Step to build coworking spaces
If you a zero capital what you did it's like, you need to have some furniture. You will need maybe to find deals with furniture companies who agree to use you as their showroom in a location. You might still buy second-hand furniture but for sure you need a good location. We don't believe in too small spaces because the match does not work into small spaces unless you have a side job to run space and so your space is just it's more like a shared office than the networking space but good to have that as well.
You need to convince your landlord that it's relevant to him to agree on a shared revenue deal maybe how to ask him to lend you or to allow you to use part of its facility. You will be there to run the facility for him like a concierge. By the fact that you are there and you do coworking jump properly that you will draw the interest of other potential tenants who are going to run this facility. This community feeling that you help them it's also kind of win-win partnership you can you can strike with the landlord for instance. You still need some capital at least to invest in the proper Wi-Fi connection and the work environment still looks good or good enough according to the to the to the standard you have known in your city. So, those are different elements to burn to work on but it's a lot of sweat and works for sure.
[30.00] The recommended features of coworking software
Basic subscription management system is very important and connected with your accounting software or helping you to invoice automatically and to automate as much as possible your management process. It's important also not to rely on coworking subscription. Especially the renting of meeting rooms, maybe some private offices as well also to offer food services or event services in the management services. All different kind of services will you know help you to diversify your sources of revenues and not rely on the under on the subscription after coworkers. I think it's very important to have a sound and robust business model for your common space and where you look at it as a platform, not just boxes where people will work from. I think there's a software which allows you to run it from one place. I think it's one of the critical things to look at when you choose the software you are going to work with.
[31.40] Social Workplaces value proposition
We are company people and their projects. We have a network of experts impendence in this field. Most of all we address the market with the big picture, we don't just come and say this coworking space you running, it needs to be that size, to take into account the bigger picture, which is the change in and the shift were seeing insight in with and the economy. Coworking is just a result of something which fits very well with this changing the economy in the society, the way we use technology. Being aware what is happening outside is really important to understand what the core of coworking movement.
[33.20] The future plan of Social Workplace
We have closed relationship with GCUC. We work already together. We working side by side. Our aim is indeed to keep to be there and have our finger on the pulse of the coworking business and still be able to show what it's selling to and promote it. We think it's a human right to be able to work from coworking spaces. The mission is we working side by side with the other coworking organization.
There was a huge work to be done to promote it further and to achieve what we think coworking has to be to a standard for the workplace in general. There was still a lot of work to put that idea through all the players involved in that field to understand where that is, when I was going to and how to get the most out of the coworking model to be good in accommodating the workers of the future wherever they are India, Africa, Europe, the US.