Chairman’s Report to FlexSA AGM
At last week’s Flexible Space Association AGM, the Chairman of the Board, Freya Cross (pictured below chairing a panel at our Conference in May), gave this report on the past year. FlexSA’s financial year runs from 1 September to 30 August.
In the last quarter of 2021 whilst some companies were beginning to re-instate face to face meetings others were still imposing restrictions. Despite this backdrop of concern, the Board made the decision that the Flexible Space Association should continue with plans for the September 2021 Conference and Exhibition, which had been postponed from May 2021.
It was first of the major industry events to return as others were further postponed or cancelled. Unusually, two conferences were held within the financial year, as the event returned to its scheduled month of May in 2022.
A considerable overhaul of the FlexSA Awards was undertaken in 2021, and it is pleasing to report that this resulted in member participation increasing considerably on previous years. The cancellation of the 2021 Gala Dinner provided the opportunity to bring our members together in four events in different cities at the same time to hear the award winners announced.
Post-pandemic the Board recognised that FlexSA’s outward facing profile could benefit from a boost. In July 2022 work commenced with a communications company with an understanding of the flexible space industry. This is beginning to result in greater coverage of the Association, and further work will be delivered in the coming months aiming to increase FlexSA’s membership as the sector grows.
FlexSA continued to host webinars and online roundtable meetings for the first half our reporting year, and we are now returning to more in-person activities. In addition to these regular activities a meeting of the smaller operators was held online whilst workspace tours have been piloted in London, and will be mirrored in other cities over the coming year. Our Executive Director Jane Sartin also recently visited members in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, which they very much appreciated.
FlexSA members have continued to find great value from the Virtual Office Forum, which brings together FlexSA member companies with representatives of HMRC, Trading Standards, the Police and other bodies. I would like to formally extend my thanks to Peter Radcliffe for his chairing of these meetings, which have increased to take place four times a year, two in person and two virtually.
Following the decision of the Events and Communications Officer, Zoe Kemp, to move away from the area, we have been working to recruit an Events Manager since the spring. Unfortunately, we have experienced very challenging recruitment conditions, and it has been difficult to fill the vacancy, hampering some of the Association’s activities. In the past week an offer has been accepted, and it is hoped a new member of staff will join the team in a month’s time.
Membership Support Officer, Adele Walker, and Jane Sartin have remained in post throughout, and I would like to thank them both on behalf of the Board for their hard work during what has proved to be another challenging year.
As with all trade associations, FlexSA couldn’t exist without the continued support of its members. It has been a difficult time for everyone and I would like to thank those who have gone above and beyond with their support – be it sponsoring events, hosting meetings or giving freely of their time and expertise. It has been greatly valued and appreciated.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Directors and our broker and service provider representatives for their time given to the Association. I would specifically like to thank Nick Gandy for agreeing to succeed Richard McVay as my Vice Chair, and for the additional support he has given Jane and I with the much-extended recruitment process.
As we continue to face economic uncertainty, I am sure that the resilience and tenacity of the flexible workspace industry, combined with our ability to evolve in the face of adversity, will provide essential support to our clients and ultimately the economy as a whole.
For the Flexible Space Association, the future feels bright. We are ambitious in what we can do to support our member companies and the wider industry, and as the sector grows there will be an increasing number of opportunities to take.
26 September 2022
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