Earlier this month The Melting Pot travelled to Dublin to attend the Coworking Europe Conference 2017. Claire, Sam and David spent an action packed few days hosting a stall, running a Coworking Accelerator Network workshop, attending useful sessions and making connections. You’ll be glad to hear there was even time for a cheeky pint of Guinness. All in the name of networking, of course!
In this blog TMP Ops Manager Sam reflects on her first time attending the conference…
Now in its seventh year, the Coworking Europe Conference attracts 400+ delegates from across Europe and the world. Attendees are united behind a passion for coworking. Somewhat surprising was the number of attendees we met who didn’t run a coworking space, but were planning to open one. There was also a handful of commercial real estate pundits and even city councils representatives in the mix. This experience proved that coworking is indeed a growing industry, more than just space owners and community managers are taking an interest these days!
There were a number of panel discussions, facilitated workshops, ‘Unconference Sessions’ (unscheduled discussions or workshops held by anyone, on any topic) and networking opportunities to connect with fellow coworking space operators. The final day also saw Claire take a spot as one of 5 resident ‘Coworking Doctors’ in an open panel session. They applied their expert knowledge to audience questions from attendees and members of the public, who could tune in via the livestream (available to re-watch here if you’re interested!).
Throughout the conference some clear themes began to emerge:
Coworking truly is a global revolution – which TMP and our Members are playing a part in:
Did you know that the number of coworking spaces increased by a whopping 58% from 2015 – 2017? The number of members increased from half a million to 1.2 million in the same time!* These trends show no signs of slowing down.
The big commercial players are well and truly here:
Larger corporate coworking spaces (such as WeWork) have established themselves in the industry. Coworking, at it’s heart, is a community movement and many question the role of these corporate spaces. They do seem to be having a positive effect in some ways: their broad influence is introducing the concept of coworking to people who otherwise would be unlikely to have come across it at all. They’re spreading the good word in their own way!
Real estate vs hospitality:
More than once at the conference it was mentioned that coworking is now moving from the ‘real estate’ sector (providing work space) into the ‘hospitality sector’ (providing personable service). We’ve always known this to be the case at TMP – quality coworking was never about just the desk space, but the people, connections, events and community. Good to see everyone else is catching on though!
Everyone wants to cowork!:
The benefits of coworking are increasingly being realised. The workforce is becoming more and more digital, allowing for greater freedom of movement. It’s not just freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to experience the benefits of coworking. Increasingly, the corporate world is bringing coworking to their employees – running their own spaces and relocating employees from a traditional office to local coworking spaces.
So what does this all mean for you, TMP Members? Well, you’re at the forefront of a global movement that’s changing the way the modern workforce operates – at one of the first coworking spaces in Europe, no less. The growth in coworking spaces means we all have more freedom to cowork anywhere, across the globe. Whether you need a quiet space for a few hours work on holiday, want to pick a warmer climate for a few winter weeks, or you need to relocate altogether (we’ll be sad to see you go!) – the options for quality coworking spaces across the world are better than they’ve ever been.
There’s no word yet on where next year’s conference will be taking place, but I’m certainly hoping for somewhere warm so we can (temporarily) forget our Scottish autumn blues. Thanks for having us Dublin!
*Deskmag annual Global Coworking Survey 2017.