The CoreNet Global Summit in Shanghai was PLASTARC’s first speaking engagement at a conference in Asia, and it was a blast! CoreNet’s programming centered around the theme of “blurring the lines” and “transcending boundaries,” and our team presented the research and thoughtfulness behind Verizon’s global coworking program with John Vazquez (last year’s Global CoreNet Real Estate Executive of the Year), Dirk Schlotter, and Nick Livigne from the Verizon Global Real Estate team. The breakout session we hosted featured a lively conversation with the audience about how corporate workplace environments stand to benefit from further emulating the coworking world. Keep an eye out.
Ours, however, was not the only breakout session related to coworking and the shared office industry—both hot topics at a conference focused around transcending boundaries in corporate real estate. An exciting panel, entitled Flexible Workspace: Not Just Flip Flops and Backpacks, included coworking researchers and practitioners at Colliers, WeWork, and Instant Group. Their discussion addressed the fast-paced growth of the flexible workplace industry in Asia over the past couple of years, which can partially be explained by new lease accounting standards, increasing use of coworking space by multinationals, and expanding venture capital investments in the region. Examples of increased multinational corporate interest in flexible workplaces continue to make corporate real estate headlines. In addition to Verizon’s coworking initiative, HSBC has recently filled nearly 400 desks at a WeWork in Hong Kong, and Microsoft has decided to house around 300 employees of its sales division at WeWork offices in New York City and Atlanta.
We also really enjoyed the session CRE Advisors: Are They Representing You?, in which four leading corporate real estate executives shared the basics of their relationships with service providers. It was a frank and energetic conversation that covered everything from portfolio management strategies to service provider pet peeves (tip: don’t send your customers a random email RE: FYI without describing why you’re sending it and what they should be looking at or actioning!). Thanks to James Woodburn of WPP, Dr. Paul Luciani of E&Y, Neil Austin of Omnicom Group, and Tony Wong of Cisco for their unvarnished perspectives!
For more on the post-recession rise of coworking, check out PLASTARC’s recent article in WorkDesign that enumerates the major factors driving global coworking expansion. We also recently spoke on an IFMA webinar, Exceptional Workplace User Experience (UX) Through Community, about the ways the coworking industry is transforming user expectations of workplace policy and enablement.