Coworking Europe 2022: Mind-changing Experience & Key Takeaways

Helga Moreno
Helga Moreno
Coworking Europe 2022: Mind-changing Experience & Key Takeaways

Two days of the Coworking Europe Conference 2022 flew by really fast. After two years of virtual communication, it was so good to get back to personal eye-to-eye contact and physical proximity.

It was a challenging trip for me as I had to take the bus from Ukraine to Amsterdam and back, change seven vehicles along the way, and spend 80 hours totally onboard. But if you ask me whether I am ready to do it all over again, I would say, “Definitely!” And here are my top personal reasons why.

1. A Tour of the Best Amsterdam Coworking Spaces

Pre-conference warm-up was invigorating. More than 15 spaces and coworking brands opened their doors for a personal visit to the Coworking Europe delegates. You could either tour at your own pace or saddle a bike and burst into the Amsterdam atmosphere together with the athletic SALTO Systems team.🚴

It was our chance to see The Social Hub, Zoku, EBC Amsterdam, TNW, Tribes, Mindspace, and many more spaces with our own eyes. The hosts were cordial and ready to reveal all their secrets.

Zoku coworking space

Guided tour at Zoku

2. Personal Meetings with Coworking Industry Influencers

The 2022 year’s event gathered around 300 coworking experts and thought leaders from nearly 20 countries. The density of industry influencers per square meter was beyond the bounds.

The possibilities for networking were really infinite. You could listen to your favorite celebs during the talks, then continue informal discussions and Q&A sessions during the coffee breaks and evening pub crawls.

Coworking Europe Conference speakers

Source: Coworking Europe

3. Panel Discussions that Answer Burning Questions

Running a coworking business, you have so many questions, answers to which are challenging to find.

Panel discussion at the Coworking Europe 2022

  • How can coworking become an essential piece in the chain of hybrid working?
  • How to best balance the need for tech vs. the human touch in future smart flex workspaces?
  • How to compete with international brands when they open a location in the area?
  • How to pitch investors?
  • How to develop an economically viable coworking offering elsewhere than in big urban or suburban areas?
  • How to engage with landlords to find the best risk-sharing win-win deals?
  • Is the coworking community concept the same in 2022 as it used to be ten years ago?
  • To what extent can flex workspace and hybrid working options play a role in corporate ESG values fulfillment?
  • Could coworking spaces in the future market themselves as “work well-being solution providers?”
  • What is the most effective mix of sales channels and strategies?
  • When is the right time to consider an expansion based on franchising and partnership?

Coworking Europe is the right place to go for well-grounded expert insights you won’t find anywhere else, as they are based on personal experience. Sometimes these insights are really unexpected, such as the presence of a big brand in your area can considerably reduce your effort and budget on audience education and service promotion because that brand has already done all of these.

4. Workshops that Make the Way to Success Smoother 

Coworking Europe 2022 has become the place where operators can get practical how-tos by attending extensive workshops.

Speaking about training sessions, I can’t help mentioning “Unpacking the critical steps towards opening a new coworking hub” conducted by Vanessa Sans from Happy Working Lab and Claire Carpenter from The Melting Pot.

These hard-boiled coworking innovators gave the audience an in-depth understanding of significant things to do in the 100 days before opening and in the first 100 days of operating a hub.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, what will it take to raise a vibrant and successful coworking hub scene? We can all be mid-wives to our collective recovery and growth.”

Claire Carpenter from The Melting Pot

Claire Carpenter The Melting Pot

5. Plenaries that Set Industry Trends

Cautious opportunity: a byword for the next phase of growth

The opening session conducted by James Rankin from Instant Group was really insightful. James shared unique research data defining further development of the flexible workspace industry.

According to Instant Group analysis, all types of space have potential. Though, operators must have a realistic expectation of what is possible and understand the commercial opportunity by using data and benchmarking, which will secure them from making a costly mistake.

The Instant Group Research & Analysis

Source: The Instant Group Research & Analysis

The character first - square meter second: why you have to offer more than just offices

Another plenary that attracted lots of eyeballs was conducted by AllOfficeCenters. During this session, operators clearly understood how companies’ and employees’ requirements for workspace changed over three years, what they are looking for now, and how to adjust a flexible space to their needs.

Plenary at the Coworking Europe 2022 by AllOfficeCenters

Source: AllOfficeCenters

6. Charismatic Keynotes

Building up your coworking brand - strategies and key actions

Brand positioning is a vital asset of any coworking business. But how to develop a positioning that would reflect your values and personal style? Where to start, and why take care of it at all?

Zoe Ellis-Moore from Spaces to Places answered these and many other questions. What I liked the most about Zoe’s speech is that she explained the entire brand-building process in two real cases, which allowed the audience to track the whopping impact of properly implemented branding on the coworking business.

Building up your coworking brand by Zoe Ellis-Moore from Spaces to Places

Source: "Building up your coworking brand" by Zoe Ellis-Moore, Spaces to Places

By the way, if you didn’t grab your copy of my “How to build a coworking space brand” book, just drop me a line here blog@andcards.comand I will send you the PDF.

How to recruit the best coworking space manager 

I can’t agree more with Gareth Jones from Townsquare that the team you build at your coworking space is your members’ experience. That’s why it’s better to invest enough time and effort into recruiting process. Start with answering the initial question of why you are hiring a manager, and what duties you expect them to overtake, then start to search for talent and interview candidates.

Also, be prepared to deal with the risk of burning out and demotivation in the long run to keep your golden team cheerful and inspired.

How to recruit the best coworking space manager by Gareth Jones from Townsquare

Source: "How to recruit the best coworking space manager" by Gareth Jones, Townsquare

Meeting rooms & more: New product demand in 2023 & beyond

An extremely useful and data-rich session by Mike La Rosa from Upflex and Ronald van den Hoff from Seats2Meet. The experts revealed how to best position meeting room products in 2023 to make the meeting room rental business a thriving activity at a coworking space.

Meeting rooms & more - Coworking Europe presentation by Mike La Rosa from Upflex

Source: "Meeting rooms & more" by Mike La Rosa, Upflex

7. Personal Experience Sharing

Two days of the conference were stitched with personal stories, which made the entire experience really inspiring. Thus, we learned the path of The Social Hub, from hybrid hospitality to community-focused brand, along with Aticco’s internal and external challenges and learnings of growing as a coworking ecosystem.

As the writer, I was looking forward to the "Around The World in 250 Coworking Spaces" book presentation by Pauline Roussel & Dimitar Inchev. This is a truly unique project about coworking, community, and design with a fascinating concept and history. I finally got to know why the book has no title on its cover and plenty of other details I was interested in as a professional.

Dimitar Inchev, Helga Moreno & Pauline Roussel

Left to right: Dimitar Inchev, Helga Moreno & Pauline Roussel

8. Social Problems that Disturb Everyone 

The coworking community is a great power and a gathering of progressive minds that can and want to make a social impact and head social changes. This year, Coworking Europe raised two uber-important problems: reducing plastic waste and the war in Ukraine.

​​Say goodbye to single-use plastic

Manuel Maqueda from Super NGO and Zach Douglas from Orega Group showed us the way to real sustainability via lower trash volumes and environmental impact within coworking spaces.

Coworking Europe presentation by Manuel Maqueda from Super NGO

Source: Manuel Maqueda, Super NGO

260 days of the war: what's going on in Ukraine

I was invited to the conference to share my personal story as a refugee, to give a snapshot of the Ukrainian coworking industry after nine months of the war, and show the European coworking community how to help Ukrainian coworking operators in their resilience.

How to support Ukrainian coworking spaces

9. A New Beginning

Coworking Europe 2022 has paved the way for 'European Coworking Day.’ Kicked off at one of the Unconference sessions by Claudius Krucker, the leader of Coworking Switzerland, the first European Coworking Day is appointed for May 10, 2023. The project is now entering the next phases, which will be described in detail in the upcoming exclusive interview of Claudius for the Coworking Smarts blog.

European Coworking Day - Coworking Europe 2022

Can’t Wait to Meet You All at the Coworking Europe 2023

Hope my impressions and takeaways were inspiring, and next year you won’t guess if Coworking Europe is worth your visit. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to avoid missing a single big or small thing from the bubbling coworking community life.

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