This is the first post from a series that aim to showcase our most valuable resource as a company – our people! We’ll put in the spotlight some of our amazing colleagues, who have a major impact on our customers, our product and hence our industry.
For starters, we sat down with Jessica Knapp, OfficeRnD’s APAC Regional Manager and talked about her journey in the coworking industry, her professional background and the present and future of the flexible workspace market in APAC.
After being involved in the startup environment, in 2012 Jessica started working in the coworking industry, and as she loves to say—since then, she’s coworking obsessed.
It all began with an offer to join the team at NextSpace, a collaborative coworking community that has grown up to 9 locations across California and Chicago since 2008.
“When I walked into the space for the first time, I didn’t really know what coworking was, but I immediately felt a strong sense of belonging and that this was a company I wanted to work for.”, Jessica says.
Jessica started as a Community Builder, then moved onto the position of Community Manager after about a year, not only leading her space, but leading a team of community managers across the company.
She had an incredibly rich experience in all aspects of managing a coworking space—from community, to operations, to accounting and all other things coworking.
Moving to the technology side of the coworking industry didn’t really cross her mind until she got to meet, quite by chance, the team at OfficeRnD in 2015.
“I was amazed by the product and how much it could empower coworking operators and I knew I could help with the experience I had from working in the industry. It was not a conscious decision to get into technology, but I think that we’re going to start seeing more and more operators in coworking moving into consulting, or technology because they have knowledge of what the business is really like.”
When asked what she loves about her job, Jess shares that there are two main things;
“First of all, it’s our clients. We’re lucky to work with people who are doing incredibly good work—both business-wise and for mankind in general. I think that coworking has a lot to do with combating loneliness, and it’s a great way for people to connect. We’re living in a time where people are inherently disconnected from each other. I believe that Coworking is a great reason to get out of the house, show up and be around people.”
She adds it’s also great to have the opportunity to speak to many coworking operators from around the globe and observe how the industry is evolving and growing in different regions.
“Not a lot of people have access to this kind of information and I think this puts us in a great position to give a lot of value and knowledge to our customers. I think that we’re lucky to work with amazing clients who are doing incredibly good work. I love that we’re the backbone of these spaces.”
“The other part that I really love is the team. When I joined OfficeRnD there were just 4 of us, and now we’re 40 and still growing. Everyone is really great, and I think that the care that people put into our product is impressive.”
Specifics of the coworking industry in the APAC region
The APAC region is an industry we should definitely keep an eye on, shares Jess.
Landlords in Asia started paying attention to the flexible workspace market a little while ago. They’ve observed different coworking models worldwide and recognized what’s doing well, and the industry is now booming.
Operators, on the other hand, know what they want and what they need, and are incredibly adaptable to change. They are also more open to technology. You have regions like China, Singapore, or major hubs like Shanghai or Hong Kong that are very process-driven.
The growth in Asia is different from the growth you’ll see in the US, or in Europe. The scale is enormous—we’re talking about flexible workspace brands with 25 to 50 locations, Jessica shares.
“Things are being done with a great swing, and people are very ambitious to scale their business and deliver an exceptional experience to their customers. I’ve never seen such a level of service and that’s absolutely fascinating. There are also greater expectations from the user’s perspective.”
“As for Australia, I like to think of the region as the sleeping giant of the coworking industry. Predominantly the US, and Europe, and the UK, in particular, get most of the attention but I’m constantly surprised by the caliber of the coworking business in Australia and the sheer volume of coworking spaces.”
“There are great examples—clients of ours like Victory Workspace and Hub Australia—which have amazingly rich experience and have scaled a great coworking business throughout the years becoming leaders on the market.”
The future of OfficeRnD in the APAC region
“We’re very well positioned to help operators in the APAC meet the demand and scale. We’re already working with a lot of high-profile clients in that region which I’m incredibly proud of and which gives us the opportunity to be up to date with how the industry is changing and what their needs are.
“My hope is that OfficeRnD will continue to be aligned with these larger landlords, and partners, and coworking spaces, as well.”
“We’ve proven ourselves to work well in a multi-site scenario. We can support all the variations of the spectrum, but we do our best work with larger operators who want a very consistent roll-out.”
If you want to reach out to Jessica, you can email her at email@example.com or drop her a line on LinkedIn
The Human Factor in OfficeRnD
This was the first post from a series of content pieces, that will showcase who we are and why we believe in what we’re doing.
We’ve always wanted to be of value for you, our lovely audience. We’ve invested a lot into spreading the knowledge we’ve gained (and continue to gain every single day) from working with hundreds of coworking and flexible spaces around the globe.
We’ve always been inspired by our amazing clients and their success, and by the scope and speed of the workspace transformation. This has been a dominant motivator on our way of providing a management solution that helps flexible workspace operators scale their business.
We realized that there’s an essential ingredient in the mix that worths being mentioned, and that’s our team, the major engine that stays behind the OfficeRnD brand—from the product to the experience, to the support, the communication, you name it…
We have the honor to work with great teammates—exceptional professionals and amazing people, who truly believe in our mission of making coworking the way of working.
And we want to put our team in the spotlight and share with you our story.
Don’t miss to check the next post from the series:
OfficeRnD Expands in the US to Better Serve Local Coworking Spaces: Michael Everts Joins the Company as Regional Manager
To be continued…