GCUC Podcast Recap: Ben Hamer

By Stormy McBride On August 17, 2023 In CommunityFuture of WorkGCUC AustraliaGCUC APAC

GCUC Podcast

On the latest episode of the GCUC Podcast Dr. Ben Hamer, Chief Futurist at Creative Cubes in Australia, discusses various aspects of the coworking industry, its potential growth, and the importance of embracing flexible work practices. He draws parallels between the coworking scene in Australia and his experiences in other countries, highlighting the increasing demand for flexible working spaces. He and Liz get into some deep bits that are sure to inspire you.

For a glimpse into this podcast, check out these sound bites below.

To listen to the full podcast, click here. 

“I’m not sure if it’s like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you see that car everywhere on the road.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“I was walking around Chicago. Every block had a coworking space. Like it was massive. And I relate that back to them, what I’m seeing here in Australia, and we’re absolutely not there.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“I did a little bit of research in Australia, so the coworking market is valued at 1.3 US billion dollars, and there’s around 400 coworking spaces across lots of pretty big countries.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“What is huge here is flexibility of the concept and that fully underpins coworking. So what we’ve seen here is that unemployment is really low.”-Dr. Ben Hamer

“In Australia last year, it hit a record low level of 3.4%. Now it’s only marginally above that. What that means is, employees have more bargaining power than they’ve had in the past. The top three things that work as one here in Australia are salary, work-life balance, and the flexibility to work wherever they want.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“In a market where you’ve got high inflation, low wage growth, organizations can’t give their employees the pay rises they need and expect.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“What you’re seeing is a lot of pressure on organizations from employees to adopt flexible working practices.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“In our two major cities, Sydney and Melbourne, there are 14.4% of offices vacant in Sydney, 16.2% vacant in Melbourne, which is massive. In the tech sector, their subleasing space has more than doubled in the last 12 months. So all of that’s a really big complicated answer to say that coworking is getting there.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“Flexibility is really, really a massive thing that’s being pushed here from the organizational and employee, but more so employee perspective. The transformation in this sector really gives a big rise and lift to support coworking and the adoption of coworking.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“I think it’s really shortsighted when business owners are like, you have to come back to the office. You’re gonna lose talent because people are demanding flexibility.If you don’t allow for flexibility and trust your employees, then you’re just gonna lose great talent.” -Liz Elam

“Some roles can be done entirely remotely and the majority of roles should probably be done across both.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“Coworking spaces traditionally understand how to build community and belonging, and that’s what people really need and seek, especially with off the charts loneliness.” – Liz Elam

“We just need to allow humans to work in communal spaces.” – Liz Elam

“We found last year from a study that I was involved in that people reported the ability to work from home really supported and improved their mental health.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“We also had the 40% of Australians legally experiencing loneliness while working from home.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“Toby and I connected because we found that we had a really shared ambition around wanting to support and enable the growth of businesses and their people.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“To me it was about doing research to help educate, inform, and to then advise organizations and their people to make them more empowered and future fit.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“We know that the future isn’t predictable linear, it’s volatile.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“Amongst Gen Z, 40% feel like they are their most authentic self in person, while 45% feel their most authentic self online.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“Are there coworking spaces that exist in the metaverse? Who’s building it and how is that happening? Because clearly, if there is not a demand for it now, there will be soon.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“A big part is about looking at their new ways of working, how those new ways of working. Manifest in the physical design of an office space.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“We want to play that role to help organizations and use the core dna of what makes cubes so special and coworking in general, which is around creating belonging and happiness.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that really every major corporation and every government works with futurists and you know, there’s the like, oh, crystal ball, whatever. You know what, there’s a methodology like that’s why I went to graduate school ’cause I wanted to learn the methodology.” -Liz Elam

“We’re not predicting the future, we’re forecasting possible outcomes, and we’re doing a ton of research.” -Liz Elam

“If there’s other folks out there that are listening to this, you should look at hiring these guys to help you with your foresight plans.” -Liz Elam

“We’re typically looking 15 to 50 years out. We’re not looking at five years. It’s too, too soon in the scope of things.” -Liz Elam

“The way I describe it is it’s your own personal intern. So think about what you would get an intern to do if you had an intern. As a default with that mindset, every time you think, “oh, I’ll give that to an intern”, use generative AI. The more that you then get used to it, the more you see the value of it.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“It’s also really important to help take away the stigma or the fear of generative AI.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“We’re talking about everyone across all roles and industries that have access to this pretty incredible technology.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“There’s always gonna be another disruption, there’s always something that’s gonna take your short term attention.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“What are the things that would make your life better that you can put into your coworking space? Everybody’s got a desk. Everybody’s got a phone booth, everybody’s got wifi, everybody’s got coffee. What now?” -Liz Elam

“Don’t put so much pressure on it, but also don’t just focus on getting the best grades because then you miss out on learning those critical skills that when you’re an adult are so important around being able to work with other people.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“Embrace it now and just live your life the best you can. You’re gonna be great.” -Liz Elam

“One of the things I absolutely love is you walk into a coworking building or place, and it’s just that sense of community and belonging and it just elicits that authenticity as well.” -Dr. Ben Hamer

“It was in 2015 that we first did the research with Steve King that came back and we were amazed that we weren’t really even looking for this, but it came back that 89% of people in coworking were happier.” -Liz Elam

Give it a listen where you stream your media or here. It’s a good one.