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We were thrilled to host the second eOffice International Partner Conference, which took place on 18th and 19th June 2015 in London. The two-day event was tailored to our international business centre and coworking partners from around the world and we were happy to welcome delegates from Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Italy and even all the way from Costa Rica and India.

The dynamic set up of the programme was designed to host all sessions in different venues ranging from historical with a traditional look to the very contemporary with trendy design and interior.

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Early morning on the first day all guests were welcomed in the iconic building of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, which impressed guests with its admirable history and interior dating back to 1391. After the welcome note by Pier Paolo Mucelli, Founder eOffice, each partner had a chance to introduce themselves and their centre and engage in impromptu conversations sprung by curiosity to find more about the coworking spaces part of the eOffice eNetwork.  They were also presented with the full functionalists of the eOffice Events App from one of its creators Jonathan Sivak, EventSpark.

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This “breaking the ice” session was followed by a brief presentation by Goran Garberg, CEO, United Spaces, taking on an exciting tour of the interesting concept and unique design of his coworking space. After a career in advertising, Goran launched United Spaces in Stockholm in the year 2000, making it the first coworking / shared office space in Europe, and has steadily expanded and developed ever since.

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His interesting presentation was followed by another of our partners and eOffice advisor – Carlos Goncalves, Founder and CEO, Avila Business Centre in Lisbon. He intrigued the audience with his engaging presentation of the changing nature of work and employees’ behaviour, cleverly titled From ‘Flying Chairs’ to ‘Flying Workers. Some of the interesting statistics presented by him was that 40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers mainly due to the fact that the generation of the Millennials wants freedom with regards to what, when, how and where they work from. Interesting findings, which will directly affect the future of the workplace.

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After a tour and a lunch at eOffice Holborn the group headed to the new LSE Academic Building, passing through the impressive Lincoln’s Inn fields – our favourite view from the office.

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The building incorporates modernistic design, benefiting from an ample rooftop with breathtaking views of the city of London.

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The afternoon session was dedicated on the Real Estate and Flexible Office Market gathering three recognized names in that sector. First to present was Elaine Rossall, Head of Research London Markets,Cushman and Wakefield who took the audience on a comprehensive tour through today’s office market and relocation trends.

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Her interesting research showed that the vacancy rate in the West End is only at 2.9%, and at the same time the one in East London has also fallen rapidly to 7.8% due to second hand space being absorbed and no new developments. In her own words Elaine shares:

The traditional hall-way-heavy serviced office proposition is under fire and being disrupted by cutting edge coworking environments.

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Next to take the podium was Celeb Parker, CEO, MeetingRooms.com who shared his views on the Rise of the Third Space and the trend towards merging hospitality and workplace. The future of work is very much related to the Millennials generation which are savvy, engages and plugged-in and have put on a pedestal technology, freedom, flexibility and quality of life, indicating that workspaces would need to adapt for this new generation of employees.

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Tushar Agarwal, Co-founder, Hubble was next to reveal how How Technology is Completely Transforming the Fabric Companies and the Way they Use Space giving examples with the growing number of small businesses, which has escalated from 2.9m in 1990 to 5.2m in 2014. An interesting example of how the digital nature of startup companies is transforming the old corporate structure is the comparison Tushar gave between UBER and Royal Bank of Scotland – both valued at $40bn, the on-demand taxi app with c.2000 employees while the bank with 141,000.   Definitely some food for thought for the major shifts in economy.

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After a short break and a tour of the facilities and the impressive rooftop terrace of LSE the afternoon session continued with experts sharing their view on Marketing and Managing Your Space. First to engage the audience with her lively personality was Tamsin Fox-Davies, Small Business Marketing Mentor, Constant Contact. She presented in a very visual and informative way the importance of email marketing referring to the fact that the #1 app on mobile devices is Email, and more than half of all emails are opened on a mobile device. She also shared a simple and very useful four Ps rule for venue marketing – focus on Position, Pictures, People and Perks.

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Pedro Pinto, Senior Sales Engineer Enterprise, Box followed up with tips on how to be more efficient at work presenting the comprehensive platform of Box, allowing to store digital files and at the same time share interactively. This session was finalized with the knowledge rich presentation by Barry Holloway, CMO, Monkfeet, who shared his first-hand experience in Increasing Your Website Visibility with SEO Optimization Techniques stressing on the importance of the quantity and quality of links that point back to your website.

Before finishing the long day with the eOffice Cocktail Party at The House of St Barnabas, guest had the chance to visit the Monopoly inspires office space of Office Space in Town, which has adopted oversized hats as tables as well as benefiting from a an admirable rooftop terrace for all members.

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The Friday morning session was dedicated on the Workplace Trends and Design. Open to the public the session gathered architects, designers influencers from the workplace industry, who engaged in valued networking and knowledge sharing. The inspiring session started with Grant Kanik, Partner, Wheelerkanik offering his comprehensive insight into the The People-Focused Workplace series© We need to talk about….millennials!. By 2025 Millennials will account for 75% of the world’s workforce with a strong mindset for collaboration, autonomy, and flexibility, with blurred boundaries between work and personal time and ability to work across multiple teams and geographies. This is why the workplace has toreflect this emerging nature of employees and adapt to the fact that desk is only one of the places where we work.

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Following this interesting presentation the audience met Christopher Jenkins, Workplace Director, Peldon Rose taking the audience on a tour to some of the company’s most inspiring and non-traditional workplace designs such as the Alice in Wonderland and the Monopoly inspired office.

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Robert Leigh, CEO and Head of Agency, DeVono offered his insight on the Evolving Market and New Trends in the Flexible Office Industry, highlighting that due to the changing, more mobile nature of work, high rents and low vacancy rate more occupiers than ever are being driven to flexible working environments. Good news for all shared office operators.

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Before joining the panel of discussions, moderated by Pier Paolo Mucelli, our partner Pietro Martani, CEO Copernico Milano presented his impressive, all-inclusive business centre Copernico and the Blurring Line between the Home and The Office, followed by Martijn Roordink, Managing Director, Spaces (Regus Group) offering an inside view of their trendy facilities.

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The last part of the conference welcomed everyone at the Hospital Club, where the event continued with David Blake, Business Development, Gust explaining about their newly launched platform Tech.London aimed at connecting and growing tech ecosystems. He was followed up by Mona Kovacheva, Business Development, eOffice, who shared about the exciting launch of the eOffice Membership Card and the significance of a loyalty programme.

The last session of the eOffice International Partner Conference was dedicated to the Emerging Trends in the Startup Ecosystem and Funding with specialist and our partners in the Angel Investment sector Alexandre Covello, CEO AngelsCube, Scott Houghton, COO Envestors and Henry Freeman, Founder CrowdShed.

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Closing drinks were held at WeWork Soho, located at the same building where the first eOffice was opened, back in 2002.

We hope the two-day insightful eOffice International Partner Conference sprung new impressions, ideas and valuable business connections and we hope to see everyone back very soon.

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