coworking

We're approaching operation mode

We have now been up and running at the new Cowork Klitmøller since April 3. It's an exquisite feeling. The rooms are tuned in, and the place is working well. We're approaching operation mode.

You should try it to see if it turns on your sense of belonging also. We have eight chairs for beta residents, which have already been used quite often. It's easy to book a chair, and the price is fair.


Pricing: 
4 hours: 6€ + Danish VAT
9 hours: 10€ + Danish VAT
One week: 60€ + Danish VAT

OPENING HOURS: 8:00 - 21:00, 7 DAYS A WEEK.


We have a good video conference system and are considering purchasing a green screen so you can have anything in the background. That way no one can tell that you aren't at your usual location.

We have ... maybe not amazing coffee but we're working on it -and shared lunch approx. at noon. Bring some food, and remember: we share what's there.

I think the best word to describe the place is: homely - or at least that's how we feel, and what many say when they visit the place for the first time.

We are 11 residents in the house: a graphic designer and a clothing designer, another graphic designer, a photographer, another photographer, a moviemaker, a chief project manager from Cowi, a musician, a creative director at a local clothing company, a manager at a home for kids with special needs and – well – me.

We have held the first two Friday bars. As it turned out, and lucky for us, the place is also suitable for that. The next Friday bar is 21st of July. Come by! Surfjoint (the biggest surf party of the year) is on Saturday 22nd; that's a perfect two in one.

By the way, The opening on April 1 went amazingly. If you were not there yourself, you can share the memories through the pictures from the opening day

We wish you a good summer and look forward to seeing you at Cowork Klitmøller.

The new Cowork Klitmøller is undisputedly taking shape

We have been working (a.k.a. practically lived on the building site) for nine weeks, and the project on Ørhagevej 84 is beginning to take shape. Fortunately, we haven't encountered major obstacles; everything is (knock on wood) going according to planned. The result is, in our humble opinion, fantastic.

At the beginning of January, Fejerskov and I will continue to work on the outside of the building for around one-and-a-half weeks; the rest of the team will move inside. We will join them in the middle of January. There, we will work round the clock until the beginning of March when you'll receive the next update.

It's impossible, and maybe only interesting to us, to describe what we've been through. Instead, here is Mette's depiction of the process:

It is still the goal to be finished by Saturday, April 1st for the official opening day and party. You may put that date on your calendar.

We can't wait to invite you to enjoy the new Cowork & Guesthouse Klitmøller. Until then, feel free to stop by. We won't stop working, but, if necessary, will talk while working. ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Heavy machinery just rolled into our backyard

This man – wrapped in a 20-ton excavator – just tore down a third of Ørhagevej 84. 

This man – wrapped in a 20-ton excavator – just tore down a third of Ørhagevej 84. 

Friday evening we removed everything stored in the back of the building at Ørhagevej 84. Saturday morning two guys came in with some heavy machinery and started tearing down one-third of the old building.

We're indeed rebuilding the place. On October 3, we start laying the foundations for the two new buildings, facing north. It feels great.

Four hours earlier there was a building here.

Four hours earlier there was a building here.

On October 24, we move Cowork Klitmøller to Ørhagevej 185. The place is located 25 meters from the surf house at the tip of Ørhage, so it's not bad. We'll be staying until April 1, when we move into the new building at Ørhagevej 84.

To make things easier, we've made an online booking system. We look forward to seeing you in Klitmøller.

Our good friend, Mathias Nielsen, helped us move everything from the back of the building. 

Our good friend, Mathias Nielsen, helped us move everything from the back of the building. 

I wanted to be Bruce Lee

I met Marcus at the European Coworking Conference 2015 in Milan. His project immediately caught my attention. He was kind of creating what we were creating here in Klitmøller. The main difference is that his space, ALPEAN, is located in Flims Laax in the Swiss Alps, two hours southeast of Zurich. The place was earlier known only to very few outside of Switzerland, but now is quickly climbing the list of favored ski resorts. I'm pleased to present Marcus's story.

Q: What is your story, your background?

A: I grew up in Basel, a lovely town [in the] north of Switzerland. I preferred playing different sports, sleeping through school lessons, and eating during breaks.

After high school, I focused all my energy on martial arts. I wanted to be Bruce Lee. After several bouts of serious lower back pain, I gave up; I turned to skiing. A skiing accident brought me down to earth—at least for a short period. The subsequent rehabilitation developed my interest in physical therapy. I returned to school to become a physiotherapist.

After finishing my degree I worked in different clinics and for the international Scott Downhill team as a physiotherapist. At a certain point, I wanted to settle down and decided to open a rehabilitation clinic in Laax. I also started offering group training. In 2008, I developed and kickstarted the event series, Kick the Vik. It's a 3-day Laax mountain hut happening in the winter.

Q: What came before your decision to create a coworking space?

A: Running my clinic and being the main driving force behind Kick the Vik, I led a rather versatile and busy life. At the time, my flat looked like an office-jungle. I needed a place separate from my home where I could work, meet people, share projects and drink good coffee. In July 2015, I was offered a chance to buy an old restaurant. I did and later renovated the place. I opened the doors to ALPEAN 2nd of January, 2016.

Q: What kind of space have you created?

A: We have 220m2 of office space. It includes a bar with three bookable tables for small groups. We have a lounge, workbenches, and seven ergonomic tables with adjustable height. We also installed a PS4 and beamer for gaming and video sessions. We just installed the electronic locks and therefore offer 24-hour entry.

Q: What's your day-to-day role at the space?

A: I'm the private owner of the place; I rent it to ALPEAN. I'm responsible for the daily operations.

Q: How is the space different from other coworking spaces?

A: The space is 300m away from a top skiing resort. In the summer, it's the best place for mountain biking. There is a bus stop 100m away and a small shop, which is open from 7:00 - 22:00. For city people, it might be not special, but for mountain resorts, it is.

Q: Why should I (definitely) visit your space?

A: Well, if you love being active in nature – especially skiing or mountain biking, if you love spending time and working with likeminded people, ALPEAN is the place for you. The people at my place are helpful and open-minded, and the coffee is (damn) good.

Q: Where do you see your space in five years?

A: It might be different depending on the experience we get in the next few months, so I don't want to say too much now.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who want to create a coworking space?

A: As a greenhorn, I'm still experimenting, but I would say this: Define how you want to handle the noises in your space. That means telling your coworkers they better not do a longer phone call or make facilities that'll make it possible to have long conversations without interrupting others.

///

Thanks a lot, Marcus. Coworking and skiing most certainly could be our next adventure.

Coworking saved my life

I met Mike LaRosa at the Coworking Europe Conference 2015 in Milan. He was busy and had just ran the last half-mile so that he could reach the venue in time. Almost out of breath, he removed his shoulder bag, looked up, stuck out his hand, and said, "Hello, my name is Mike. Where are you from?" Later, I found out that he was one of the speakers at the conference. His topic was "sponsorships for coworking." It was an interesting talk, but what I also found interesting was the use of the word "coworkaholic," a term Mike used to refer to himself. I recently got the chance to ask him a few questions and dig a little deeper. Here are Mike's replies:

Q: What is your story, your background?

A: Kind of a crazy - I will try to keep it short. Was a college dropout while working at Starbucks. By the age of 21, I was the youngest Store Manager in the company and by 23 had managed a half a dozen stores, became a Coffee Master and then started working for them in a regional training capacity. 2008 was really tough on the company and I was in need of a change, so I answered a job posting for an Event Coordinator for the Washington Business Journal. Within 6 months in the role, I was selling more event sponsorships than the entire sales team combined. They groomed me into a custom role and brought me into corporate. That's where I started designing event concepts and sponsorships for all 42 markets in the US. By 2012 I had decided I was over the challenges of working in corporate environments and started by own consulting firm.

Q: How did coworking change your way of working?

A: Coworking saved my life. I launched a company with some great initial success but within a few months I was miserable working from home or coffee shops. I hated the isolation and struggled to stay productive, keep up on projects and my work totally suffered. At that time, I guess that I had known about a space in DC, but honestly I really thought that coworking was limited to "startups" and as a consultant/freelancer I just didn't think there was a place for me. Clearly that was a stupid thing to think, but rather than go check it out, I had been asking other small businesses I knew if I could rent some space from them, etc. They'd let me come in for a day or two at a time, but really none of them took me up on the offer. I had a client project that took me to Kansas City, MO and we were working out of a coworking space and I had this AHA moment that was like why am I not working from these spaces?!?! Then I discovered the conferences etc and I was hooked.

Q: In what way did coworking change your life in general?

A: I've started working on primarily only coworking projects. My experiences in producing events and working with corporate sponsors pairs very well with needs in the coworking industry. I've been able to produce some of the biggest conferences in the market and have brought some awesome sponsors/partners to spaces I work with. It's funny too that the experience I have from Starbucks trained me quite well for some of the skill sets needed in coworking. Both are very much a form of hospitality. Each Starbucks is a community. We have regulars that come in every day and we get to know them, their families. They share celebrations with us as well as sorrow. You also have to be great at customer service and be able to solve problems quickly.

Q: What is a 'coworkaholic'? Is it "just" a name, or is it something one can be?

A: Coworkaholic was just a term that someone used to describe me at a conference and the name just kind of stuck. I thought it was a pretty funny thing so that's what I used to name the blog that I'm working on now. I think that anyone can be a coworkaholic - it's a person who loves, eats, breathes, sleeps coworking. There are quite a number of us out there as evident from the large crowds gathered at events such as Coworking Europe Conference.

Q: Is there a downside to being a coworkaholic?

A: The only downside would be that it's still a form of workaholic? ha! I think that a coworkaholic is just someone who can't get enough of sharing and social workspaces. They are community builders and believers in the future of work. I meet people every day that are thriving in coworking spaces no matter where they are in the world. More and more of them are digital nomads - a group of people that have been around for quite some time but that now have the ability to plug into a network. I've had connections that I never would have thought possible. A former member from my space in DC is a part time member at a space in Thailand owned by a guy I was chatting with in Bali. It just proves that the world is really such a small place. 

Q: What's the most important thing that being a coworkaholic has taught you so far?

A: I've learned about the power of community. The power of finding your "people", your tribe. Being an independent worker is totally a doable thing, but without having a space to call your own, it's a very lonely existence. It's so great to know that I'm in a space where there are others who share my interests, struggles and have that common bond. 

Q: What's your advice to others who are on the verge of becoming coworkaholics?

A: I think that if you are using Coworkaholic as a definition of someone who is about to become a digital nomad and travel the world, it's that you mentally prepare yourself for the unexpected, have a willingness for adventure and also be ready to grow apart from some of the people that you hang out with on a daily basis. Planning is key - but then again you can't plan too much - you need to be able to pivot and adapt if things are to change. If you are using Coworkaholic as someone who is into the idea of coworking, believes in it's power for greater good and wants to open a space, then they need to do a ton of research to understand what goes into this business.

Thanks, Mike. I hope to see you again, somewhere out there.

The transformation of 312 Main

When I met Thomas, I immediately became fascinated by the project he is involved in. On the surface, he is part of the team that is creating a co-working space, but if you dig a little deeper, you find that much more is at stake. I’m so pleased that he has decided to share the DNA of his project with us. Ladies and gentlemen - here’s a guy on a special mission.

What is your background and how did you get involved in the project? 

I am an urban planner and real estate development advisor. I am the owner of TB Real Estate Co, which is a firm that provides support to developers in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. The guiding principal of the work I undertake is to contribute to real estate development that maximizes the assets available for the health, wellbeing and prosperity of future generations. I became involved in the project to revitalize 312 Main Street three years ago when I met Mr. Bob Williams while completing my Masters in Urban Planning. Mr. Williams has been a member of the Board of Directors at Vancity Credit Union for the past thirty years. Vancity is a Vancouver based cooperative financial institution with assets approaching $20 billion. 

What is the background to the project you are involved in?

312 Main is the former Vancouver Police Department headquarters. It is a 100,000 square foot building owned by the City of Vancouver. Symbolically, this building has been a flashpoint in the Downtown Eastside neighoborhood’s struggle for a compassionate and just society. The project is currently at the design stage and renovations will be commencing shortly. The first phase of occupancy is set to be in 18-20 months. The redevelopment of 312 Main is a unique collaborative effort between the Vancity Community Foundation and the City of Vancouver.

The idea for this project was germinating when I first met Mr. Williams. He had set out to pursue this project in remembrance of his late friend Jim Green, a hard-nosed community organizer and developer of social housing in Vancouver. The vision for the project was to create an inclusive centre that would build economic capacity within the Downtown Eastside community, an area that has been subject to much pain and difficultly participating our conventional economic system. 

The transformation of 312 Main is set to be a continuation of the unparalleled work that Jim Green completed over his career, most notability, with his involvement with the Woodwards department store redevelopment. This is a 1.2 million square foot mixed use development, including 200 units of social housing, a Contemporary Arts University, and office space for local NGO's. It was developed by Westbank Projects and designed by Henriquez Partners Architects.

What is the ultimate goal of the project? 

The rehabilitation of this building will be designed to enhance the physical elements that are conducive to cooperation, collaboration, and shared services, and to acknowledge the history of the building in the neighborhood. Offering a spectrum of spaces and promoting different types of interactions, 312 Main will strengthen civic life amongst tenants and the local neighborhood while building economic opportunities. These opportunities will create employment, encourage skills development, and leverage the impact created by social and technological innovations.
 
How is coworking part of the project? 

Spaces will suit different needs including open offices and coworking desks, maker space and studios, conventional offices, meeting rooms, and vibrant common areas with places for local cooks to feed tenants and their guests. The main floor will be designed to be porous to different ideas and interests, where the public and private spheres can readily mingle through the formal and informal programming that is delivered there.

What is the biggest challenge facing the project going forward? 

The coordination of a shared vision between the many diverse groups involved is the most challenging aspect of the project. 

What is your take on a solution (if you have one)? 

Constant and clear communication between all stakeholders is the most important element to any development project. People must feel included, respected and welcomed to participate in the process. Collectively, everyone has much to contribute. If engagement is completed sensitively and respectfully, throughout the entire planning, execution and operational phases of a project, people can be empowered to participate in a way that adds value that may have been hidden initially.

Where do you see the place in 5 - 10 years? 

I see 312 Main being known as a place where Vancouver took major leap towards developing an inclusive new economy. It will be a space that honours stories of the past and transforms this energy into narrative of rebirth, reconciliation and vitality.  

How do you envision cowoking in 10 - 20 years? 

I believe coworking will become a widely adopted and normalized office space typology. These venues will be providing an important amenity to the bourgeoning self-employment and micro entrepreneurial sector. Demand and diversity of coworking venues will continue to grow as people realize its suitability to a flexible economy, where limited supply of real estate in global urban centres renders conventional office space out of reach for a significant number of companies.

///

Thanks Thomas, may your project flourish and bring the changes, you describe. We look forward to following it.

Talent Flow Coworking – what doesn't kill you will make you stronger

When I met Isabelle, she was living in Vienna; she immediately struck me as a person on a mission. "Who are you, and what is your project?" she bluntly asked. We quickly fell into conversation. I told her about our project. It turned out it resonated with some ideas she has. Isabelles project is called Talent Flow Coworking. She has been kind enough to tell us more about herself and the place she's creating. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a woman with grit.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I studied at a business school in France and an additional year at HEC in a special program for start-ups in 1997. I set up my first company when I was 28 (1996). It was an industrial design and graphic consultancy firm acting in Hong Kong and China providing services to consumer goods manufacturers. With no bank support, I developed the company so that at some point it employed 20 people. I closed the company in 2006 due to the $US/Euro exchange rate, Chinese manufacturers' low profit, and the new local Chinese design competition.

I then went to Austria, learned German, and 18 months later, I set up a real estate agency. Very soon, I had specialized in Luxury Real Estate. However, I found that running the business was difficult in terms of creativity, networking and self-development. So I wasn't feeling very happy about it. In 2012, I got a very bad business setback: I wasn't paid a commission of 200K€, went to court for two years, spent 25K€, lost the case and went bankrupt ... That's life – and hey, what doesn't kill you will make you stronger.

Tell us about the coworking space you are creating – when/how did it all begin?

I started thinking about it because one of the designers with whom I've worked with for 18 years started a 400 m² with 80 desks coworking space in Paris. He opened a tiny space in 2004 with some friends; then he got the opportunity to buy 200 m² and later on another 200 m².  He doesn't organize any events or training for the people that are there; the place is working by itself. The atmosphere there is amazing. You can just feel the community spirit and synergies arising from the place. This inspired me to go on a field trip to New York in May 2014. I visited a bunch of places just to understand the activity. I dived into the market and gradually developed a new business idea.

Why are you creating a coworking space? 

First of all, I'm not doing this (entirely) for fun. I want to make a business, i.e., to earn money. I also want a place that'll make it possible for me to keep running my current business, which I started a year ago. I'm exporting cosmetic products from France to China. I also help people find manufacturers in China and just solved two cases in 2014 as a consultant.

I expect the place to facilitate synergies between people, to spark new ideas and businesses. I'll also give me an opportunity to pursue my passion for helping people developing their business. I have a lot of experience in local and overseas business, I know how to start from zero and lay out the steps for growth – and I know how to close a company.

What will be your day-to-day role once you're up and running?

To begin with, I'll be the face of the place, welcoming the new members of the space. From there, what'll happen will depend on the users' request. Mostly, I'll do my best to support them in growing their business by providing experience and network centered around useful training and events. That said, if I'm lucky, I'll be able to create a sense of "our space" and community. If I do it right, people will feel encouraged to contribute to the content, which will benefit first of all their business but also the space.

Why is your space awesome?

Well, I know how it is to be a foreigner wanting to start a business in Vienna. That's why the place will serve as a relay between all chamber of commerce organizations in Vienna and the immigrants who want to set up and run a business here. I'll be able to provide the right information in English (not in German). That's pretty awesome. Furthermore, the place will be great for local Viennese people and businesses that want to interact with creative and entrepreneurial people coming from other places.

How will the space be different from other coworking spaces?

There'll be a lot of diversity. People will spend 10 to 12 hours a day in the space, and so will I. It has to be perfect. That's why I care about design and work to provide quality furniture and a great environment consisting of a mix of work zones, zones for relaxing and playing, a bar and a lounge. I'll use my female intuition to implement a sense of belonging.

What is your biggest challenge?

I've invested my own money. It's a total €300K. That is almost everything I have, and I'm 47 years old, so I cannot make mistakes.

Where do you see your space in 5 - 10 years?

I want to open more spaces with my landlord (the Austrian Post) in Vienna and the countryside. I believe that a mix of presence in the city and the possibility to retreat to more quiet rural places close to nature is and will be of increasing value to businesses. The creative workforce is changing rapidly toward micro-businesses and independent workers. My vision is for my place(s) to provide some of the infrastructure supporting a well-organized cluster of extremely agile people and companies that'll be able to find a solution to pretty much any need out there. I think being able to do that is the DNA and, hence, the real value of the coworking movement. 


Rayaworx Coworking – you go, take a swim and go back – to work

When I attended the Coworking Europe 2014 Conference, I met Doris Schuppe. Doris describes herself as a digital pioneer, mobile enthusiast and now coworking host. I soon fell into conversation with her as it turned out that we were working on similar coworking projects. 

Whereas our place is in Klitmøller, Cold Hawaii, in the (relatively) high north, she, along with her partner, began a coworking adventure in Southern Europe. Doris has been kind enough to share their story with us. Here it is:

///

To understand why we're starting a Rayaworx Coworking at Mallorca, you've got to know two things about me.

First, I like riding my bike, a BMW F800 GS, together with my husband, who rides a Ducati Multistrada. Before moving to Mallorca, we were living in Munich and so were blessed with winding roads in the Alps near at hand.

However, as soon as the snow melts, the roads become crowded. For us, this was overshadowing our joy of driving, which increasingly was becoming frustrating to us. In 2012, we found ourself at a point where we wanted the change that could revamp the joy.

Second, when I started working as a solopreneur again in 2010, coworking soon became my favourite way of meeting new faces and getting something done. I disliked the isolation of having just my own office and was fed up with the ups and downs of a shared office.

In 2013, we had to cancel our planned motorcycle tour to the Pyrenees. Instead, we decided to go to Mallorca. We had been there several years ago and found it quite nice. We rented motorcycles and booked some tours with Mallorquin Bikes.

During the talks with other tour members, I realised that moving to Mallorca could both restore our joy of driving and support my passion for coworking. We could have great times on our bikes, exploring the roads in the Tramuntana Range and do business by offering coworking (and a stable Internet connection, which still is hard to find in rural Mallorca) as a service to expats and travelers alike.

After having convinced my partner, we worked for a few days on the concept and finally – as a first test – presented the concept to the owners of the motorcycle rental company. They immediately liked the idea, and well, for some reason, it gave us the courage to continue, and we haven't looked back ever since.

Lots of preparations later, in October 2014, we moved to Mallorca and founded our Spanish company. In February 2015, our 185-square-metre coworking space opened its doors in southeast Mallorca, in Santanyí, Bernat Vidal i Tomàs 43, 07650 Santanyí, just 4 km from the beach in Cala Santanyí.

Santanyí is also the name of the municipality; it truly is a gem and a very beautiful place. The area covered by the municipality extends around 35 km along the southeast coast of the island. It encompasses a variety of beaches popular for their scenic beauty. 

It also holds a large number of archaeological sites — 172 — evidence of the existence of a productive agricultural tradition since at least the Talaiotic Period. Santanyí is also home to a protected natural area, the Mondragó Natural Park. The area is great for outdoor activities, except for surfing. To surf, you have to drive to other areas of the island. 

There's still some bits and pieces we need to take care of before we can open our space. When that happens you'll not only have a nice place to cowork, you'll also have free access to bicycles. On hot days, the Cala Santanyí beach is only 15 minutes away. So you go, take a swim, and go back and work again. Not bad for a Monday at the office? Follow us to stay up to date. 

Our target groups are solopreneurs and digital creatives and/or nomads who want either to extend their vacation in Mallorca or to stay there for a while before moving on. Furthermore, we target agencies and project groups and invite them to use our place as a nice retreat where things get done. Finally, we target German- and English-speaking residents lacking a good Internet connection.

To this day, I can't tell whether this will work as planned. But I am pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback of friends and acquaintances; our new contacts in Mallorca are excited as well. They like the coworking concept and the idea of working off-site with a fresh sea breeze, sunshine, and delicious Mediterranean food. It's a new kind of vacation; you can travel to the area and the climate you would like to be in and still get things done and meet new faces and business opportunities.

Maybe some of you guys will come around to escape the winter? I would be delighted.

///

Well, Doris, you surely have awakened our interest. We at Cowork Klitmøller wish you good luck. See you out there — on the roads and at the digital frontiers, and again thank you for sharing your story with us. 

Coworking is about the community – more precisely, the people

Everything I do, I can do through a combination of a computer and an Internet connection. I don't even need my own computer to do it. Everything is in the cloud, so any computer will do. Furthermore, I haven't got an employer who expects me to "show up" (once in a while). I have my company; I'm my own boss. So why do I choose to work from and pay for a workstation at Cowork Klitmøller?

To come up with (some of) the explanation, we have to go back to where it all started.

Coworking as a concept and a way of organizing work originated in 2005. It was Brad Neuberg who coined the term "coworking" (nb. header-image from the first coworking space, from Neuberg's blog) and was the first to set up a coworking space. The place was called the San Francisco Coworking Space. In 2005, Neuberg described "coworking" as follows:

"Traditionally, society forces us to choose between working at home for ourselves or working at an office for a company. If we work at a traditional 9 to 5 company job, we get community and structure, but lose freedom and the ability to control our own lives. If we work for ourselves at home, we gain independence but suffer loneliness and bad habits from not being surrounded by a work community. Coworking is a solution to this problem. In coworking, independent writers, programmers, and creators come together in a community a few days a week. Coworking provides the 'office' of a traditional corporate job, but in a very unique way."

In 2003, Neuberg had experimented with what he called The Nine to Five Group. The idea was that people would occasionally meet at a coffee shop and work together. According to Neuberg, it wasn't a success. He dropped the initiative after just one month.

The San Francisco Coworking Space rented a space at The Spiral Muse in San Francisco. The first official coworker was Ray Baxter, described by Neuberg as a sportsman, developer, and father.

A typical working day at The San Francisco Coworking Space began at 9:00 AM with a 45-minute group meditation; later, people ate lunch together. The day ended with everyone participating in a 45-minute "healthy activity." At 5:45 PM, everyone went home.

After a year, the San Francisco Coworking Space closed. Some months later, Neuberg, along with about 10 volunteers, opened The Hat Factory. At The Hat Factory each member worked on his or her projects but was invited to share knowledge and help the other coworkers.

Since then, the phenomenon has spread. The number of people making use of coworking spaces is increasing rapidly. The 2012 Third Global Coworking Survey, which had 2,700 participants, states that the worldwide total of registered coworking spaces had increased by 245% during the prior twelve months to – at the time – 2,072.

A year later, DeskMag and Emergent Research reported a further increase to over three thousand. In addition, the number of people using coworking spaces increased from 85,000 in 2012 to over 160,000 in 2013. The same study estimates that by 2018, one million coworkers worldwide will be spread out over 12,000 coworking spaces.

Surveys show that most coworkers are in their late twenties to late thirties, the average age being thirty-four. Two-thirds are men; four out of five have a university degree; the majority work in IT or the creative industry.

The Third Global Coworking Survey  reveals that a clear majority, 66%, chose "a social and enjoyable atmosphere" as the reason they chose coworking. Sixty-two percent chose "the feeling of being part of a community," while 57% chose "interaction with others."

In fourth place, with 54%, comes "good infrastructure (Internet, table, chairs, meeting rooms, etc.)" as the reason for choosing coworking. Fewer still, namely 42%, chose "knowledge sharing" as the reason they have chosen coworking.

Next comes "close to my home" (41%), "flexible working hours" (25%), "interdisciplinary collaborations" (23%), "easy-to-change workspace" (19%), "my employer or customer pays for it" (17%), and finally, "the opportunity to work in groups" (12%).

These results can of course be interpreted in many ways, the fact is that a coworker is someone who deliberately chooses to work with other coworkers. No one need (or was told to) be there to work. The coworker is there only to be a part of a community. 

Part of it can be summed up to the network and the (possible) collaborations that continuously arise from being there. Part of it is about helping and getting help, sharing knowledge and ideas. Another part is about meeting new people, being introduced to new networks. Last but not least, it's about hanging out with a bunch of nice people.

In conclusion: The only reason I'm at Cowork Klitmøller or, for that matter, any other coworking space, is the people that are there. That's how it is, and that's how it was when it all started.

Dinner during stone painting day

COIN will become an important and unavoidable dot on the Europe coworking map

We have come to the next story about other coworking spaces that you can visit and be a part of for a longer or shorter period. This one is told by Iva Kosović and is about a new initiative in Zadar in Croatia. I met Iva during a coworking tour in Lisbon. We quickly got into a conversation about COIN, which is the project she's passionate about. Iva is a member of the project team who's task is to successfully implement the project and to ensure further development of the Zadar coworking community even after the project ends.

Q: Tell me about the coworking space you are creating – when/how did it all begin?

A: From January 2012 until June 2013, the Association of Trades and Crafts Zadar, in partnership with 12 European organisations, has implemented an EU project called Coworking under the Leonardo da Vinci programme. The aim of the project was to produce a comprehensive toolkit of documents/means to serve as propellants for all European contexts considering the coworking option. As one of the partners, ATC Zadar gained appropriate insight and perspective of the coworking concept and implemented many different activities in cooperation with European, national, and regional partners in order to promote it and empower the coworking initiative at a regional level. At that point, the new local partnership started to build, and project partners were included in a new EU project conceptualization. On 14 July 2014, a grant contract was signed, and the project "Coworking Zadar – Innovation through Collaboration" has begun. The project will enable us to create a new coworking space in 2015.

coworking-zadar

Q: Why are you creating a coworking space – what do you expect to get out of it?

A: The main objectives of the project are to increase the competitiveness of the micro SME-s and create jobs through self-employment. The project intends to assist and support the development and expansion of the micro enterprises into the small-sized enterprise category. These things will be done by offering lower costs related to infrastructure and other support services (such as education and social events) that would help with their financial sustainability.

Q: What is your main value proposition (i.e. why is your space awesome)?

A: The coworking space will be called COIN – coworking industries. It will be a place tailored to its users' needs. Also, we could say that our extra plus is our city's geographical location. Considering the direction Zadar tourism is headed in and the fact that COIN will be the first coworking space in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Coast, we are planning to become a ''base'' for everyone coming to town who is in need of a space in which to (net)work.

Q: Who is your primary user?

A: Our target groups are micro enterprises (existing and potential micro enterprises providing intellectual services, job seekers, freelancers, etc.), the local coworking community, coworking space hosts, SME support providers, and European coworking champions (subjects championing a coworking cause – initiators, developers, promoters, providers). Our final beneficiaries are resident and non-resident micro enterprises, business travellers, the global coworking community, the local community, project partners, and business incubators.

Q: How is the space different from other coworking spaces?

A: Our biggest difference is more technical and relates to the very beginning of the founding of the space. Since the "Coworking Zadar" project team consists of people from partner institutions (the City of Zadar, the Association of Crafts and Trades, the Development Agency of Zadar County, Zadar County, and the Croatian Chamber of Economy), what could be the difference from other (mostly private) coworking spaces (especially whose owners we've met in Lisbon) is our institutional background.  However, this is not a bad situation. In fact, so far we have experienced more advantages than disadvantages from this "difference."

Q: In your mind, what is your biggest challenge?

A: In Croatia, there are only a few coworking spaces (in the capital, Zagreb and Osijek), but lately, coworking initiatives all across the country have arisen. Informing and raising awareness about the coworking concept is one of our biggest challenges. In that sense, we maintain a high level of communication with our experienced "coworking colleagues," and we have included them in various activities foreseen in the project.

Q: What's your take on a solution (if you have one)?

A: Since the beginning of the project in June 2014, we have had many different events (jelly, coworking breakfast, and education) in order to spread the word about the project, to get close to our potential users, and to create our coworking community. In a few days, we plan to visit coworking spaces in Zagreb and Osijek with our future hosts and users so they too can see directly what coworking is all about.

Q:  Where do you see your space in 5 - 10 years?

A: We are doing our best to make COIN "The place" for networking in Zadar, enabling all freelancers, entrepreneurs, tourists, and other users to come and work (or have have a meeting or a conversation). Also, our goal is for COIN to be a space that will be self-sustainable through memberships and sponsorships. EU project ''Coworking Zadar'' ends with the end of 2015, but, nevertheless, we are hoping COIN will become an important and unavoidable dot on the Europe coworking map in the future.

Q: Bonus: How do you envision coworking (in Croatia) in 10 - 20 years?

A: We envision COIN becoming the central place for fostering SMEs in the region and a meeting place of different professions and creative persons.

Thanks Iva – next stop Croatia :-)!