September 2016

“We propose the off peak environment of beautiful restaurants for coworking”-Preston Pesek, Spacious NYC

Finding a place to work in a major metropolis like New York City can be a challenge and an expensive one at that. At first glance, options may seem limited, but if you look a little closer, maybe the perfect place to work was there all along. Preston Pesek, co-founder of Spacious Coworking, saw past property challenges and found that there was actually plenty of space, depending on how you look at it.

Setting up coworking spaces the City’s restaurants during the day, Spacious takes a novel approach to how we get the most out of urban landscapes. Realizing that many of these top eateries are pretty much empty until 5PM, until the after work rush, Spacious aims to combine business and pleasure.

Hi, Preston. What inspired you to start Spacious?

I have a background in commercial real estate. It was through this lens that I began to realize that beautifully furnished, street-level retail space, which often stays closed until 5:00pm or later, is actually some of the highest value property that has been programmed the least efficiently.

With the rise of an independent workforce, in the context of a technological culture where people can stay productive and connected from anywhere, the opportunity to tap into the potential of these under-used spaces quickly became obvious.

Does the coworking element offer any specific benefits to the restaurants, such as financial incentives?

Not only do we share our profits with our restaurant partners, but they also benefit from greater visibility through our digital marketing efforts. In addition to more exposure, the restaurants can also serve food and drinks to our members during the day as well if they want. In most cases, our partners are very excited about the opportunity to serve small plates during the day, and our members love it too.

How long do you occupy each restaurant? And, does the offer change after a certain time, or do you have a set network of restaurants ?

We open at 9:00am, and for anyone who lingers after the restaurant opens, can simply choose to stay and order from the menu, or from the bar. Most of our restaurant partners like to have a few early customers to jumpstart the evening.

When we add a new partner, we expect that it remains in the network through the remainder of the restaurant partner’s lease. The network grows over time, so we will be continually adding new locations, resulting in increasing network coverage in each city where we operate.

Coworking communities rely on their hosts to help members integrate and build community. Since your hosts aren’t with the coworkers for an extended period of time, is it harder for them to connect with members?

On the contrary, the hosts who greet and  help to check-in our members are dedicated Spacious employees, so they are there every day. They get to know our members quite well, and as they are with them throughout the day, they act as a friendly concierge and reception for both our members and their guests. All of our hosts know almost everyone by name, creating a friendly and hospitable experience.

Are these hosts already experienced coworkers or are they also new to the concept?

The Spacious hosts are a diverse mix of independent freelancers, theater and film actors, designers, etc. who understand the need for an affordable place to meet and work that also acts as a social space. Some of them are new to Spacious, of course (because we are new), but everyone already has previous knowledge and experience with coworking.

Who are your typical members? What are their professions? coworking in restaurants

We have a diverse membership. We have independent designers, makers, and developers, as well as members of small to startup teams. We even have employees coming from larger organizations who have a “work from anywhere” corporate policy, who enjoy the fact that Spacious offers an experience that is more hospitable than the typical office.

Do they work from home, or are they also experienced coworkers?

Many of our members have also worked out of other coworking communities before joining us. The value of what we can offer, because of our unique business model, matched with high-touch quality experience, is something that sets us apart from many others in the space. Not many other coworking spaces can say that they are connected to a Michelin star kitchen.

What are some of the things that professionals in NYC need but doesn’t have access to through the established coworking networks?

Objectively, we solve the problem of finding a reliable network of places to host face-to-face meetings. While we don’t offer a permanent workstation where you can leave your computer overnight, we do offer a network of places where you can meet with others in a space suitable for any client, colleague, or friend. At Spacious you can choose to stay quietly productive at a table of your own, or engage in collaborative conversations in a space that is designed for social interaction.

Of course, you can also choose to stay quietly productive at a table of your own, or engage in collaborative conversations as we create an atmosphere designed for social interaction.

NYC has a lot of coworking spaces already, what did it take for you to realize a concept that would stand out and ultimately thrive amongst the competition?

The business model we’ve designed allows us to offer something truly special that few others can. We also offer this at a price that is very hard to beat. The Spacious network will show you where the best spaces in any city are located, and these spaces are picked to be both beautiful by day, and also by night when they become top tier restaurant venues. Because we carefully curate our space partners, you can rely on Spacious to give you insight into “where to be” in any city. We hope to become an insider’s guide to the best spaces in cities all over the world.

How have people reacted to the Spacious concept so far? And, do you have any plans to start using other non-traditional spaces in the future?

Our members love it. It’s something very unique, but it also allows our members to feel that they are at home, and are proud to tell others about where they work. It’s a kind of “life hack” that is also an exciting movement.

As our membership grows, we’re going to want to offer 24/7 access to the Spacious network. This move will require that we find other spaces, and there are plenty of those to be found if you have the right kind of perspective. To us, every city looks very spacious!


Coworking India Survey and Data 2016

As a global movement, Coworking has taken roots in India the last years.coworkin-co

A couple of hundreds of coworking spaces are now in operation in India.

Mentioning coworking space means we don’t take into account, here, basic shared spaces environments without services and (semi-)open access. Well workspaces associated with an identity and a community, mainly dedicated to digital workers of any kinds.

About one third took part in the Coworking India Survey 2016 produced by prior to the Coworking India conference, on September 9-10th, 2016. Here are some key data disclosed during the event which gathered close to 120 coworking operators and pundits from the whole country.

Bigger on average in size, though still limited in number

So far, there is less coworking spaces in India than coworking spaces operating in the London area alone.size-space-cwindia

That said, though, on average, coworking spaces operating in India seemed wider in space than the average noticed in Europe, for instance. More than one third of the interviewed coworking spaces manage a facility more than 1.000 m2 wide.

Likewise, the average size of coworking tenants each coworking deals with seems to be wider than the average observed in Europe, although the number of operating coworking spaces is much higher over there.  According to the data, one third of the surveyed coworking spaces caters between 100 and 200 members at least.


Acceleration and startup programs often provided

India wants to put itself as a startup nation.

No surprise that a big deal of the coworking spaces who replied to the survey are targeting startups and digital entrepreneurs. So, it is not amazing that more than 50% of the interviewed spaces described not only themselves as coworking spaces but also as Incubation/Acceleration program providers or sometimes TechHubs.

vineelContentwise, the community building activity is definitily as critical for the Indian coworking scene as it is elsewhere, show the data collected for the Survey. More than 2/3 of the Indian coworking spaces organize in house events at least once a week.

The Coworking industry in India seems for sure ready to take off confirmed attendees at the first Coworking India conference.

Download more facts & data from the Coworking India 2016 Survey providing your information here below.

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Recap of the Coworking India 2016 conference (Storify)

“In Real Estate, being able to deal with emotions and personal feelings is critical”-Katie Lance

An expert in marketing in branding for the last 15 years, Katie Lance currently explores the impact of social media can have when building a more transparent company culture. As a consultant, Katie helps companies utilize social media on a myriad of levels, from engaging with employees, to assisting clients and users.

We spoke with Katie about the potential impact “smart” social media can have on business today, and how it can carve out space for more human engagement in the workplace.

Your specialty is social media. How do you see the role of social media in workplace culture today?

It’s important for companies to understand that their social media presence isn’t just what is posted via their corporate social media directors. Employees have, in many ways, just a big of a voice and can be some of the biggest brand ambassadors.

How do you think that the real estate industry will utilize social media to improve the way that they interact with customers, etc.?

For many people, buying and selling a home is an intensely personal and emotional experience, and I can think of no better industry than real estate to use social media to celebrate those moments and connect with their clients on a personal level. The real estate industry has a unique opportunity to use social media to keep in touch with their clients, as well as an opportunity to share what it feels like to work with them and what their communities are all about.

Can you tell us a bit about these changes that you see taking place in the real estate industry from this experience?

I think we are getting a bit away from all of the “shiny objects” that overshadowed the industry a few years back. As technology gets better and better, I see opportunities that help agents to tell their story and build their brand. I particularly see opportunities with

I particularly see opportunities with live video like Facebook Live, Snapchat and Periscope, which allow agents to create content quickly and allow consumers to ask questions and interact in real time. I see this as a huge opportunity for agents to build trust and build their business.

What challenges are ahead for office providers, coworking space etc.?

I do see more companies letting their employees work remotely and offering more flexible work schedules. Ultimately it comes down to trust; trust in the employees that they know how they work best, whether it’s in an office, at a coffee shop or at a home office. I think many companies still fear not having an office space because they feel their culture will be affected.

Katie Lance social media

Katie Lance

I personally run a virtual company with a relatively small virtual team for nearly four years and I can tell you first-hand that you don’t need to be all in the same room to build culture. We create culture through our Skype calls, our Voxer voice messages, our iPhones, and the various other ways that we keep in touch and on task through technology tools.

How do you imagine the role of the office in the future? Will will be all being working remotely in due time?

The workplace has changed dramatically in the last few years in part because of technology and in part because how so many of us have previously worked has also changed. For many of us, we no longer need to be in the same building at the same time of day  to get a job done. I don’t think offices will ever disappear forever but I think we will only continue to see more and more people working remotely.

“Workplace innovation improves motivation for employees, which leads to increased labor productivity”-Grzegorz Drozd, EU Comission

Grzegorz Drozd is a policy officer at the European Commission, DG GROW, focusing on topics such as internal markets, industry, entrepreneurship, and SMEs. Grzegorz is currently exploring the issue of industrial modernization in regards to new business models and the future of work in Europe. As coworking is increasingly taken seriously by local municipalities and governments, we wanted to see what the movement looks like through the lens of these initiatives, not just space owners and operators.

We caught up with Grzegorz to speak about the future of work in Europe and what some of the numbers tell us about the freelancing and coworking today.

Hi, Grzegorz. Can you please tell us about your work and some of your current projects?

In addition to working as a policy officer at the European Commission, I also explore non-technological innovations, concentrating on workplace innovation. I am in charge of the European Workplace Innovation Network, also know as EUWIN. Prior to working for the EU Commission, I worked in the Polish Ministry of Economy, focusing on innovation support systems, industrial & SME policy.

European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN) aims to animate and sustain workplace innovation within the EU. How exactly does the program focus their efforts?

EUWIN was launched in 2013 to improve the performance of organizations as well as the quality of jobs in a sustainable way. Today we are connected with more than 10,000 companies and other stakeholders, such as policymakers, trade unions, academic experts, al with whom we are sharing know-how and experience.

And what steps does EUWIN take towards increasing innovation in the workplace?

Some of the key elements of EUWIN:

  • Distributes evidence on the benefits of modernizing the workplace and working conditions.
  • Focuses on raising awareness via dedicated regional workshops and social media.
  • Provides a valuable resource for managers and employee representatives through the Knowledge Bank.
  • Is open to practitioners, social partners, policymakers, representatives of intermediary organizations, and others with an interest in the workplace.

As the concept of coworking is spreading, a majority of these networks are now located in Europe. Does the European Commission also consider coworking to be revolutionizing the workplace?

Coworking spaces can be a part of the solution aimed at making the best use of employee potential. In this context, they are part of the wider concept of workplace innovation.

In addition, workplace innovation can mean many things, such as a change in business structure, human resources management, relationships with clients and suppliers, or even the work environment itself. It improves motivation and working conditions for employees, which leads to an increase in labor productivity, innovation capability, market resilience, and overall business competitiveness.

All enterprises, no matter their size, can benefit from workplace innovation.

In addition to coworking spaces cropping up, the number of freelancers in Europe has dramatically increased in recent years. Does EUWIN, or the EC, look at ways to assist and protect remote workers?

New technologies have changed the way we live, consume and meet people. As the internet has changed our lives, the industrial internet is now transforming the way we work and produce. The digital revolution is happening, which of course affects employment.

In this context, the European Pillar of Social Rights was announced by President Juncker in 2015. The Commission put forward a first preliminary outline of the Pillar in March this year and a public consultation is open until 31 December 2016. The results will inform the final proposal, which will be presented early in 2017.

One of the main aims of the consultation is to reflect and propose answers to these new trends we are now seeing in work patterns, as well as our societies. It also looks at the challenges that they pose to employment and the welfare state, due to the impact of demographic changes, innovation, technological change and digitization.

What might be some of the ways that workplaces in the EU could accommodate the rising number of freelancers without taking advantage?

Alternative work arrangements, such as telecommuting or telework, freelance or independent professional (iPro) work, crowdsourcing and employment in the shared economy ultimately create jobs and new opportunities for the self-employed. By lowering entry barriers to service provision and to new forms of employment or activities this can be achieved.

However, there is a tension between new and emerging types of occupations and business models and the existing contractual arrangements that question the current definition of workers, both statistically and economically as well as legally. For instance, the dividing line between “worker” and “self-employed” is becoming more blurred, particularly in platforms within the collaborative economy. Platform work questions the identity and responsibilities of the platform/employer in triangular relationships with the service provider/employee and the customer. It questions the definitions of contracts and relationships, and their impact on undeclared labor.

Grzegorz Drozd

Grzegorz Drozd

Today there are many questions regarding this topic, such as the volume or duration of work, the capacity to identify the employers as well as the associated level of social protection, notably in terms sickness, unemployment, and pension benefits. This can raise legal uncertainty and insufficient information on the applicable regulations and rights. Almost one in two employees on permanent contracts receive training compared to 32% of employees with fixed-term contracts and 19% of self-employed.

All of those aforementioned issues need to be addressed in order to make a full use of the potential offered by alternative working arrangements.

Have freelancers and coworking spaces played a noticeable role in helping the EU become more professionally dynamic?

Under alternative work arrangements, workers are gaining more autonomy and improved work-life balance, but also inherit more responsibility to optimize their career paths. Decentralised, self-organised forms of work can also boost business development.

In addition, more strain and faster pace of change are likely to lead to higher stress levels, as well as psychological and mental health risks. In the future, work stress could be a major occupational health and safety. In order to counterbalance stress in strained work environments, increased worker autonomy and flexibility are key.

In general, what have been some of the changes you have seen in the current workforce, such as job growth etc. and what has been the biggest catalyst for positive change?

The employment situation in the EU is improving. We observe an increase of the overall employment rates, for both the EU and the Euro area, which is an increase representing 3 million more employed people in the EU than in 2015. Yet, the overall long-term unemployment rate has decreased by 0.6 pp compared to a year before and now makes up 4.3% of the labour force. This is the largest reduction since the first decline in long-term unemployment observed in 2014. In addition to these number, for the first time since the start of the economic recovery, the number of very long-term unemployed (unemployed over two years) dropped more drastically than the number of people long-term unemployed for less than two years.

Finally, there is also a continuous improvement and convergence amongst Member States regarding youth unemployment, which has also strongly decreased in the countries most affected by the crisis.

On the same note, what are some of the major issues that still need to be overcome? And do you think that coworking, for example, could act as a solution to these challenges?

The new industrial revolution will have a serious impact on our current social models. Automation and artificial intelligence will transform the way we work and produce. New types of employment are emerging. They impact standard job patterns, they transform the relationship between employers and employees, they revisit work organisation.

The overall impact of automation and artificial intelligence in regards to job quantity is unclear. Studies show that the net effect is expected to be positive, with more new jobs being created than being replaced. However, a reallocation of human resources to more productive uses will not happen automatically. The new jobs created will require different skills and competencies over those jobs that will eventually disappear. Without complementary action to prepare the workforce for the future, there is a risk of unsuitable skills, unemployment, and social tensions.