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Repurpose, Reshuffle, Reimagine: 5 Key Takeaways from the 2023 GWA Conference

From “Tech & Tools: What Are the Newest and Best Ways to Efficiently Run the Space” and “The Evolving Participation of Flex” to “Hospitality: How to Build and Nurture Your Community,” the Global Workspace Association’s recent Flex Forward conference in Washington, DC, was the epicenter of innovation in the evolving world of flex space. 

GWA’s annual gathering of flex space operators, landlords, thought leaders, brokers, space aggregators, and vendors served as a dynamic forum to discuss, define, and design the future of the workplace. Thought-provoking sessions and speakers shared business-building strategies from the field, while the conference also facilitated valuable professional connections with like-minded individuals who share the common objective of propelling the flex industry forward.

Preferred Office Network was proud to be sponsor of this year’s GWA Conference, as well as the co-host of a networking-focused afterparty along with global commercial real estate software and technology provider essensys.

Read on for five of our most insightful takeaways from this powerful gathering of visionary professionals who shared forward-thinking solutions for navigating our brave new world of work. 

  1. The commercial real estate industry is embracing flexible space: As the commercial real estate industry collectively reinvents itself, landlords are increasingly accepting the numerous benefits of incorporating flexible workspaces into building footprints. In fact, many lending institutions now won’t finance an office building if flex space isn’t part of the offering, an unheard-of stance even three years ago. 
  2. Thinking of the office as an experience: In negotiating the nuances of today’s workplaces, it doesn’t pay to be passive. Rather than sidestepping return-to-work showdowns in your organization, it’s better to take a stand and create a workplace that people actually want to come to — and flex is the answer. By providing welcoming, hospitality-driven environments and searchable experiences much like Airbnb, enterprise offices can pave the way to working together in person once again. In his insightful keynote session, “Unveiling the Future of Flex Space,” Rethinking Real Estate author and renowned future of work expert Dror Poleg implored the audience to embrace emerging trends, technological advancements, and potential disruptions that could shape the way we work.
  3. Hospitality-forward spaces engage employees and entice tenants: Many sessions during the conference highlighted the importance of hospitality in today’s workplaces. People have come to expect high-touch, high-design environments in our day-to-day lives, and offices are no exception — in fact, they’re high on that list. Not only do flex workspaces that offer thoughtful amenities, useful services, and welcoming environments aid in employee engagement and retention, they also attract tenants to a building who appreciate what those considerations can offer their organization.
  4. Collaboration is king. Employees are still missing the feeling of connection, collaboration, and community that comes from working together in a shared space, something that was lost during the pandemic and hasn’t been fully regained in today’s working world. The vast majority of workers report missing in-person meetings, brainstorming sessions, and impromptu socializing that only occur when people come together. Flex space solves for this problem without the burden of long-term leases and underutilized offices that accompany traditional commercial real estate structures.
  5. Data is the key to successful office real estate strategies: In today’s data-driven world, analytics are essential for the sustainable growth of any organization. Mark Gilbreath, CEO of Liquidspace, and John Williams, Chief Marketing Officer of The Instant Group, discussed how to leverage metrics to gain valuable insights, make informed business choices, and adapt to the evolving needs of workspace users. These powerful insights can help the enterprise solve supply/demand challenges, enhance brand awareness, and comprehend what’s really going on in the world of work beyond the headlines.

Defining the Future of Work Together

Preferred is proud to be a part of the Global Workspace Association community — a collection of organizations dedicated to elevating the flexible workplace industry and the client experience. That’s what flexible workplaces are all about — connecting with other professionals to uplift our individual experiences and organizational initiatives.

Enterprise clients who are considering their office real estate options should reach out to learn more about how Preferred Office Network’s portfolio of locations, suite of spaces, and streamlined process can help bring your organization to the forefront of the future of work. 

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