The Coworking Europe Conference Concludes: Flexible Offices Are a Rapidly Growing Segment


The conference, which was literally bursting with energy, brought together professionals from all over the world from small and medium-sized providers, through the representatives of global coworking networks, to investors, IT experts, or marketers. The optimistic mood was fueled by more than just being able to meet in person after the pandemic. "The data presented shows that flexible offices are an expanding commercial real estate sector, and the growth of this segment is expected to continue next year," says Kateřina Burešová, Flexible Workspace Consultant at Offices Unlimited.

According to data from key multinational operators such as IWG and WeWork, coworking is currently experiencing a boom in all major European capitals, including the host city, Amsterdam, where providers are reporting 91% occupancy. "Companies' transition to flexible offices accelerated after the pandemic. For many of them, flexible offices are a way to stay agile and face new challenges," stated Country Manager of IWG Netherlands, Karin Poel van der Lans, in her conference presentation.

The Prague team visited local coworking centers, which was even more inspiring. "Some have been in the market for over 50 years," says Marie Kantorová. This is the case of EBC Amsterdam, which is based in an elegant historic building right on the Amsterdam canal. "We were captivated by the impressive shared garden in the courtyard with a summer house that doubles as a meeting room. Birds also share the space with people here and the center's operators have placed bird boxes in the garden for them that are quickly occupied by feathered tenants each spring," adds Burešová.

The visit to two branches of international providers was also a source of inspiration. "While the provider of boutique centers, Mindspace, offers opulent spaces with a marble entrance hall and authentic frescoes in the style of Louis XIV, the Amsterdam branch of The Social Hub has gone with a fresh mix of services, from hotel rooms, through shared offices, to a gym. Customers are just spoiled for choice here" agree both consultants, remarking on the different approaches.

The Offices Unlimited consultants also gained a number of insights at the conference. "One of the most interesting presentations was by Bastian Boss, coworking designer for Deutsche Bahn. The German carrier is trying to show the public that traveling by train can be efficient and comfortable, especially if people can use the spaces inside train stations for their work during transfers. They have been trying to create these spaces with a maximum emphasis on sustainability," says Kateřina Burešová.

Both were moved by the performance of Helga Moreno, a Ukrainian who works for Andcards. "She described how coworking spaces in Ukraine have become temporary homes for people fleeing from the eastern part of the country, yet have managed to maintain up to 60% occupancy." They were also pleased that the conferece was organized through the Eventee app by Czech founders Roman Maštalíř and Petr Fiala.

"We came home with many new contacts, information, and a long list of innovations that we want to gradually introduce in our four Prague branches. Our visits to the Amsterdam centers confirmed that Offices Unlimited have a design that is top-of-the-line and we offer premium services comparable to those abroad," concludes Marie Kantorová.      

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