1 December 2017

O4 – Avant-Garde in the past, now – mainstream

O4 once again proudly represented Poland during the biggest European conference devoted to coworking movement – Coworking Europe. This year, the event was held at the beginning of November in Dublin. A vast amount of knowledge, inspirations and acquaintanceships guarantee, that COWORKING NOW! – the conference being organized by O4 in March 2018 for Polish coworkings will be awesome! What’s more – in this event we will present the results of the FIRST POLISH COWORKING MOVEMENT RESEARCH!  

 

For the first time, we were not the only ones among more than 400 people (apart from us there were also representatives of IdeaPlace from Wrocław and CoWalk from Łódź). However, the truth is that the number of Polish coworking representatives during this event is alarmingly low, taking into account the potential of our country within this scope. We hope that during Polish Coworking Now! conference there will be more people willing to find out that in this business money does not only depend on desks…

But coming back to Europe – it has been a while since we came back from Dublin – vast amount of knowledge, a lot of inspirations and acquaintanceships have already sorted out in our heads. Here are some information and facts, which we would like to share with you after the conference:

 

  • COWORKING AREAS DO NOT COMEPETE WITH EACH OTHER! – only 10% of members migrate between coworking areas, vast majority of clients come to such areas from their homes or big companies! According to very in-depth studies carried out by Carsten Foertsch, as many as 72% of new clients are existing corporation’s employees or homebodies.
  • THE MAJORITY OF COWORKING AREAS FUNCTION IN CITIES WITH LESS THAN 1 MILLION INHABITANTS and as much as 23% – in towns with less than
    100 000 inhabitants! Everyone who perceive this movement as hipster, are quite wrong!
  • 24/7? MAYBE, BUT THE MAJORITY WORKS TRADITIONALLY ANYWAY – nobody is trying to undermine the reasonability of coworking’s accessibility 24/7 and throughout the whole week, but the truth is that the overwhelming majority of coworkers work “traditionally” – between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.
  • COWORKING MOVEMENT IS GETTING MORE AND MORE PROFESSIONAL – until recently, most of areas were created by social activists, passionate people and sometimes – let’s not be afraid of this word – freaks. Currently, as many as 77% of coworking areas in big cities are so called “retail chains” run by big enterprises on the basis of regular business, in business centres – in the past O4 was avant-garde, now – we are mainstream 🙂
  • BUSINESS VS. COWORKING’S SPIRIT – the result of the phenomenon described in the previous point is that more and more often we move away from putting pressure on community, we relax ties in a certain area (the more people, the more difficult it is to create deep relationships), in favour of flexible tenancy. In coworking areas there are more and more offices, teams, big companies and fewer and fewer brave freelancers who are ready to make friends. This phenomenon makes us rather sad than proud. The last hope lies in small-town business communities!
  • JOB SATISFACTION IN COWORKING AREAS DOES NOT DEPEND ON HOW BIG THE WORKSPACE IS, but on the number and diversity of places, in which you can work and which you can freely use. Here we can notice another interesting trend – mine vs. common, fixed vs. flex. On one hand, all studies indicate that “desk” variability has an influence on network of contacts, that is business opportunities (people from Great Britain know it very well because the biggest number of flexible packages “are sold” there and not many people use permanent place of work). On the other hand – your “own place” is an important element to feel secure. During workshops this clash was identified as the biggest challenge, which coworking areas and corporations are facing currently.
  • NOTHING IS AS TIRING AS A 3-DAY CONFERENCE – 3 days of lectures, panels, workshops, unconference, pitching and Irish pubs tours mean a really tiring marathon! However, you come back like from a 40-kilometre run – physically tired, but really happy!

 

We want to give the same experiences to our Polish coworking managers and people, who have just started to think of establishing such an area. Obviously, we are talking about Coworking Now!, which will be held in March. We are already inviting you to participate in it.

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