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Highlights from the Coworking London conference (2019)

· Flexible Workspace

Photo: Primal Base, London

From the Online Brokers and Commercial Agents Discussion

After a brief London market outlook, Mark Bott from Colliers pointed out that the trend for operators today is to take larger buildings with larger floor-plates.

Interesting fact, according to the research by Savills (Cal Lee) in collaboration with Deskmag, only 15% from the employees currently working from space which is leasing conventionally, would want to move in flexible offices. The top markets where the workforce is most willing to move are Spain, Ireland and Italy.

In another study by Savills research, the 10 most important factors for flexible office workers are:

1. The comfort of work areas

2. Cleanliness

3. Lighting

4. Quality of Wi-Fi technology

5. Air Quality

6. Temperature

7. Noise Levels

8. Smell

9. Security

10. Length of Commute

According to JLL research (Elaine Rossall) covering transactions from 2013 to 2018 show that the business model deal types for flex workspace operators between a spread between leased (70%), owned (15%), managed (10%), and other.

Looking ahead, the shift in business model from conventional leasing to self perform and build is irreversible. The question remains which model will prevail. The adapt or adopt perspective, where brands like WeWork, TOG and Knotel are joining the model of Storey, HubHub, Myo or Bruntwood.

Also Instant Group (through Lucy Watts) was able to catch our attention with some powerful statistics. According to their research, 18% of the occupiers of flexible workspace in the UK work for corporate firms. And taking a view on the requirements they received; the number of 20 desks + equiries increased by 50% year on year.

From Myo by LandSecurity

Myo by LandSecurity, entered the London market this year. There is a growing demand for services, and traditional landlords will adapt, but in a more traditional way. Oliver Knight, pointed out a gap in the market for personalisation, and an opportunity to fill this need. He introduced Myo as an introverted brand, inspired from hospitality in its calm design approach for productivity. Commercially, they opted for a simple 4 pages lease contract, with a minimum term of 1 to 3 years.

Photo: Oliver Knight from Myo by LandSecurity

Key advice from Myo

  • First impression and the last impression entering a building are the ones that last. Still in most of the cases the security is the first thing you see when entering a building. What can you do to fix that?
  • Real estate is expensive, but the employee is the most expensive asset and you need to keep him productive. That’s the role of the space.

Photo: Aki Stamatis from Area

From HubHub by HB Reavis

Aneta Popiel, from HubHub by HB Reavis, introduced the flexible workspace brand’s strategy in an electrifying presentation. The brand entered the London market earlier this year, and currently operates one location in a recent development by HB Reavis at 20 Farrington Street. The strategy is to develop large-scale hubs with space optionality supported by a thriving smart ecosystem.

Photo: Aneta Popiel from HubHub by HB Reavis

  • One stop shop: HubHub for startups, Qubes for scale-ups; 
  • They use smart business technology to show how business is operating; 
  • Team of psychologists and designers for space design.

Future Coworking Business Models from Tania Adir, the CEO and Founder of Uncommon

Tania Adir, the CEO and Founder of Uncommon, had perhaps the most comprehensive presentation, analysing different business models operators opt for in London.

Photo: Tania Adir from Uncommon

Tania's presentation offered a great insider view on the market trends and which effect this might have on the market. In a nutshell:

Spotlights from the Rattle, Chris Howard

There is no doubt. The CEO and Co-founder of the Rattle, a niched operator in London, helping entrepreneurs in the music industry, was the funniest in the room. With an out of the box presentation, Chris moved the ball from space design and hospitality, to strategic advice and start-up couching. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Founders don’t care about glitzy spaces 
  • Develop the individual - not the “company” - so they last longer
  • By focusing on the founder, LTV is 3x industry average 
  • Having everyone focused around a larger goal creates community 

Photo: Chris Howard from the Rattle

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