Hear from the experts: Liz Elam, Founder of GCUC Global

We asked Liz Elam, Founder of GCUC Global, to share her insights on flexible workspaces, as part of our series into the buildings of the future.

Note: When essensys references the flexible workspace market, they are referring to the general growth of any type of flexible real estate whether that be the development of shared amenity space in a multi-tenanted office, or a coworking operation.

What are the biggest challenges facing the flexible workspace market?
The biggest challenge facing the market is going to be the glut of old buildings that will be left empty as we embrace a hybrid work model in a meaningful way. This will leave cities with a tax revenue problem. Banks will have to deal with buildings getting turned back. This will all come to a crescendo when the majority of leases in the US come due in about three years….

What are the biggest opportunities for the flexible workspace market?
The biggest opportunity will come directly from the biggest challenge. Challenge breeds opportunity. New uses for old buildings, new businesses which utilize space in new ways, and new and exciting ideas that will tantalize our brains and possibly our beliefs.

What keeps you up at night? Tell us about the biggest pain points you encounter when implementing flex space.
The biggest pain point question doesn’t really relate to me but in terms of what keeps me up at night, it’s trying to pull off three additional conferences this year… one in North America (Toronto this September), one in Europe (London this November), and one in Australia (Sydney this August).

What are the biggest benefits of a flexible real estate strategy?
The biggest benefit of a flexible real estate strategy is that we are finally changing an archaic industry that was ripe for change.
"The way we build, design and fill our buildings is outdated and ripe for a disruptive change. COVID was the catalyst."

What role does/can technology play in delivering flexible workspace?
Technology can help us streamline utilization and learn more about how we can improve efficiencies. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

What does the future of flex look like to you?
I can’t really speak to the future of flex, but I can speak to the future of coworking. As people self-select into space, coworking will win in a big way. Why you ask? Coworking spaces are unique in that they offer a sense of belonging. It’s not just space, it’s a community. Coworking spaces are focused on hospitality not real estate returns.

Read more insights from the industry experts:  
Part 1
with Faye Stutts, National Director of Coworking Partnerships, Vari.
Part 2 with Davey Friedman, Vice President, Real Estate at Arch Amenities Group.
Part 3 with Mark Burge, President, Flex Workspace Solutions.
Part 4 with Michael Kloppenburg, Vice President, Avison Young.
Part 5 with Jamie Russo, CEO, Everything Coworking.