The Future Of Office Space: Interview With Campbell McKellar
Loosecubes is leveraging trends in technology and work lifestyles by developing a co-working community.
Upon hearing about Loosecubes‘ website re-design, PSFK caught up with founder, Campbell McKellar, to dig deeper into how her business capitalizes on trends that are shaping how we work. Read the interview to learn more about Loosecubes and important cultural shifts that that reflect how quickly our office environments are changing.
Tell us about your company and the problem you are solving for.
Loosecubes is the world’s largest community marketplace for shared workspace with almost 1,700 spaces in 350 cities and 47 countries around the globe. We connect business owners who have an extra desk, couch, conference room, etc. with freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business travelers in need of an inspiring place to work. Starting a business or working remotely can be really lonely. I’ve been through it a couple times. It’s hard to find a productive and affordable place to work on an ad hoc basis. It’s even harder to find one full of people you’d like to spend happy hour with.
Our goal is to reinvent the office for today’s workforce. We’re mobile, we’re social, and we’re passionate about our work. I want everyone to make new “work friends” by working in Loosecubes with other great people. We’re bringing the concept of co-working everywhere: to company offices (Rickshaw Bags, TaskRabbit, Rocketboom), home offices (Red Paperclip Rooftop and Patio), art studios (Con Artist Shared Artist Workspace), even commercial kitchens (Bakery Rental Share)!
Tell us about your website redesign; how has the website experience been improved?
We’ve shifted our focus to the people that work in the spaces and not just the spaces themselves. Members in search of spaces can now connect Loosecubes to their Facebook accounts and receive recommendations on places they might want to work based on their real life friends. In addition to that, hosts can connect to Facebook to receive recommendations for Loosecubers they might want to invite to cowork with them at their spaces. Other highlights include reservation payments via credit cards and Paypal, the option for hosts to offer discounts to friends or deals to Loosecubers they’d like to meet, and a heavily improved search function complete with multiple filter options.
We really took the time to listen to user feedback and worked hard to improve the user experience based on what we were hearing. Now it’s easier than ever to find a space, book it, and get to work. We’ve got a lot more that we want to do with the product, but this redesign has been a great first step!
How are our ideas about the workforce changing?
Cloud technology, the recession and an increased presence of women in the workforce have created a huge shift toward flexible and location independent work. It’s a story we’ve heard 100 times, but what’s crazy to me is how much it’s changed – and how quickly. According to research, 62% of American companies allow their employees to work remotely. 57% of US companies allow some form of flex time. Today there are 42 million freelancers & contingent workers, according The Freelancers Union. Another recent study said by 2020, 40% of the US workforce will be contract based. And it’s only going to accelerate. Elance stated that 83% of millennials view freelancing as a part of their career strategy. The producers of The Office did a study that said that 58% of people in the UK think the traditional office will be extinct by 2021. Clearly work has changed. It’s time for the office to catch up.
What tactics and strategies have you employed to grow your community and supporters?
We live our own model (or eat our own dog food as some might say) by hosting Loosecubers in our office every day in Brooklyn. People come in, see our culture, see what we are trying to create. They tell their friends, blog about it, and in some cases even refer us to other freelancers or start-ups we might be interested in working with.
We’ve done some direct outreach to companies and co-working spaces that we think are a perfect fit for the community. Twitter is an extremely useful tool for us, and keeps us engaged with our community on almost a 24/7 basis. We’ve been a bit underground for almost a year, but with our new site, we’re ready to spread the word!
Where do you go to find inspiration?
Some instrumental reads are: Seth Godin’s blog, Stephen Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class, Julie Burstein’s Spark: How Creativity Works, and Workisnotajob.com. I’m also a huge fan of Blind Melon – Change. Most of all I am inspired every day by our team and the members of our community I meet coworking in our office in Brooklyn and whenever I travel.
We believe the world of work should look different. With our growing community, we’re getting closer every day.
Are you a freelancer who likes to be surrounded by people when you work? Maybe you’re a new startup CEO using a coworking space to grow your company. If you’re working anyplace other than a typical office or in your home, share with us and tell us what you think the benefits are, or send us a link to a related innovation that we might have missed.
Tweet it to us at @psfk with the hashtags #FoW #MyCoworking, for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to the social product development company Quirky.
Over the next 4-8 weeks we want to start a conversation around what you see as possible in the Future of Work. Be sure to follow the conversation on PSFK and participate in the daily competitions. Tweet us your ideas to @psfk using #FoW.