The landscape of work and work spaces is rapidly evolving, with concepts like remote work, flexibility and diversity taking centre stage in all types of industries across the globe.
Last week, Projects’ Director, Alex Young, had the honour of hosting GCUC UK, the biggest conference series in the world. Hundreds of thought leaders in the flexible work space sphere gathered at Convene in London to discuss how, together, they could make the industry better than ever.
The real estate industry historically lacks diversity and so this event held immense significance, emphasising the need for visibility and active advocacy for underrepresented groups. GCUC UK serves as a catalyst for change. Emilie Lashmar, Producer and Director of the conference, curated a stand-out schedule for the day and attendees left feeling invigorated about the ways in which the industry is evolving.
The essence of the conference lay in providing a platform for industry professionals to engage with thought leaders shaping the flexible workspace landscape. Discussions spanned from upcoming trends and technological advancements influencing coworking to broader cultural shifts defining the future of work. However, beyond conversations, the event was a call to action. It encouraged attendees to step out of their comfort zones, share challenges, and extend support to one another - a refreshing and vital practice within an industry that advocates for community but might not always embody it within its own ranks.
GCUC UK was more than just another event; it was a commitment to creating a more inclusive and innovative future for the flexible workspace sector. It underscored the responsibility of industry leaders and team members to continue these dialogues and adapt to the evolving needs of the workforce.
The future, as discussed, hinges on our collective ability to craft diverse, sustainable and adaptable workspaces. Such spaces are not just physical but ecosystems that foster productivity, creativity and well-being. Our responsibility in the industry extends beyond mere infrastructure; it’s about empowering individuals to excel in their roles, creating environments where their best work can flourish.
One of the highlights was hearing from Alex Barker, Co-Author of How To: Be More Pirate - from healthcare to education to big business, mutiny in Manchester to the climate pirates of the Caribbean, How To: Be More Pirate captures their applied wisdom. Packed with relatable examples and practical tactics, it is a map for causing good trouble. Alex has advised huge companies, from Sales Force to Dyson, on how to challenge the status quo and create better businesses. She told attendees about how her work with Sony encouraged them to set up monthly ‘F*ck Sh*t Up Meetings’ where they’d throw crazy ideas around the room and see if anything worth exploring further came up. Her inspiring talk made everyone think about how they, too, could be braver and bolder in their daily lives and work in a way which prioritises people and our planet more. Alex’s message that ‘how and where we gather matters’ resonated with everyone present.
Attendees were also able to listen to talks about AI and how to embrace new job roles that will emerge as a result of new technologies developing. There was a lot of excitement following the speech from Instant Offices as they shared insights on the growth of the flexible work space market. Their main takeaways were that the need for flexibility in workplaces cannot be overstated, impeccable service and strong brand identities are crucial - occupiers know what excellence looks like and don’t want to settle for less and finally, the potential for growth is not limited to primary markets. There are significant supply and demand imbalances across the UK.
The conference emphasised that it's not enough to envision a future that’s inclusive and diverse; we all must actively work towards it. GCUC UK served as a launchpad for ongoing conversations and actionable steps toward a more equitable and innovative workspace landscape.
Alex told us that as she reflects on the valuable insights and connections made at the conference, she is filled with hope and determination.
‘With collective efforts, we can revolutionise the way we work, bridging gaps and embracing diversity to build a future that works for everyone. It's a commitment not just to the industry but to the communities we serve, ensuring that workspaces become hubs of empowerment and growth.’
GCUC UK was a stepping stone, and it's now incumbent upon all of us to carry forward the momentum, fostering environments where everyone—regardless of background or identity—feels valued, empowered, and supported to do their best work. Together, we have the power to redefine work—we can create inclusive and innovative spaces which prepare us all in developing the skills and business we need to have a more sustainable and fairer future.