It’s just about time for GCUC – The Global Coworking Unconference Conference

Team Deskworks is headed to Chicago this month for GCUC – The Global Coworking Unconference Conference! We can’t wait to show you how our coworking software can automate your flex space. If you haven’t already, get your tickets here.

It’s just about time for GCUC – the time when the Coworking Community comes together each year to look at what’s new, where we’ve been, where we’re going…and to help new people starting out in the field.

The industry has certainly come a long way in a very short period of time. Initially, there were almost battle lines of what constituted “true” coworking. Coworking was open space, a supportive community, and a warm, funky-feeling aesthetic. Maybe there was a meeting room or two. On the other end of the spectrum, was the older model of executive suites, and later “flex offices.” This model had minimal focus on community, and spaces were primarily closed offices and conference rooms – a more formal, professional feel.

I was a little late in starting to attend this annual “unconference” conference. Honestly, I worried that our model wasn’t “pure” enough when we started up in 2009. Now our model would simply be called suburban hybrid, with what are now completely standard offerings of open coworking, dedicated desks, workstations, offices and conference rooms. And a strong, engaged community in a comfortable, bright, and interesting space. In fact, this is now the norm, not an outlier.

And why did the various models converge? Why does every space – whatever they are actually doing – call themselves a coworking space? Because coworking grew out of very real needs, and as those needs became more and more clear, the answers became more clear.

  • Jane is an engineer who comes in every day and has everything on her laptop; she likes to work around others but she’s shy and doesn’t want to engage a lot.
  • Joe is old school and needs files and a door that closes.
  • Maisie likes working at home, but wants to see clients in a professional environment.
  • Sam works remotely for a big tech firm and needs 3 monitors but hates an office.
  • Joan and her startup team are in stealth mode.

And Jane and Joe and Maisie and Sam and Joan could be in our area of Silicon Valley or in remote South Carolina. The aesthetic will be different, and probably the size of space, but the essence of their various needs are all too similar. So are, of course, the outside forces – the smaller form factor of the tech tools we use, the pressures of commutes, the information and processing environment of the cloud.

Like the industry, GCUC has done a wonderful job of growing with the changes, too. The conference is welcoming people who have been involved since the industry was a movement, property owners who are trying to understand the shift to a flexible offering and agreement (rather than a lease,) companies who need to meet the requests (and demands!) of potential employees who are not going to drive two hours a day to sit in a corporate office, as well as those who are thinking about the next “what-ifs”.

Wherever we’re coming from, GCUC is a great time and place to think about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we can go.


See you in Chicago!


Barbara Sprenger, CEO and Founder at Deskworks

Barbara Sprenger

Founder & CEO of Deskworks

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