Thursday's event, themed 'Space as a Service', brought world-class speakers together from all corners of the business community to challenge workspace practices and present new opportunities.
'The traditional workplace is dead'
Keynote speaker Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone UK, opened proceedings by proclaiming that the 'traditional workplace is dead' - and went on to explain how today's flexible workspace operators are in a prime position to meet a tectonic shift in corporate workplace requirements.
He explained that business requirements are changing, and a combination of factors including outdated workplace style, a change in customer expectations, recession legacy and the advent of Generation Y is leading to a fundamental shift in workplace needs.
Some of his words were echoed by John Spencer, newly-appointed CEO of Regus UK, and Ben Munn - Joint Global Head of Workplace Strategies at CBRE.
John Spencer pointed to enormous opportunities in the workplace market and outlined Regus UK's continuous growth objectives, largely in response to growing demand and a chasm in flexible workspace supply. Ben Munn later took to the stage to explain that out of 1 billion sq ft of office space across London, New York and Tokyo, less than 1% is serviced office space, and less than 0.1% is coworking space.
'The workplace market is enormous - this is your opportunity for growth,' he said, and encouraged delegates to engage with corporate clients to show how they can improve efficiency with a more flexible workplace model.
Julian Sturdy, MP of York Outer, delivered an update on Empty Property Rates (EPR) - and the latest in what he described as a 'suffocating' tax on small and medium sized businesses. He pointed to the need for tax reform and outlined his targets, which includes extending EPR exemption, and increasing the EPR threshold back to £18,000 for a two-year period. Despite some progress, Julian explained that the battle against EPR is still 'far from won' and outlined his commitment to find a more permanent solution for what he describes as a 'capital-sapping threat to businesses.'
The Power of Positivity
While EPR continues to burden workspace businesses, the energy in the room lifted dramatically with the arrival of Marcus Child, who delivered an engaging and inspirational presentation that placed the focus on positivity. Shockingly, of the 27 million employees working in Britain today, only 19% are classed as 'engaged' workers. The remaining 81% are either 'not engaged' or actively 'dis-engaged'. Marcus showed delegates how to use the power of positivity to improve employee buy-in and explained that positivity can help to turn a business around.
'We always have the power to choose,' he said. 'Why would you live one seventh of your life in a mediocre way just because it is labelled Monday?'
Dr Nicola Millard, Customer Futurologist at BT, brought the speaker's schedule to a conclusion with a fascinating insight into the value of flexibility and the dying tradition of 9-5 working. BT has bee