What makes coworking spaces work in Europe?\

Each year all our staff our invited to go on a research trip; themed to a sector or service we offer. In 2015 one group visited Leipzig and Berlin to look at workplaces...

You Still Need Privacy When you Cowork

Even though most of the coworking spaces nowadays are all about sharing, socialising and cross fertilization (hence the big kitchen tables and the presentation stage), many of the coworkers still need privacy. According to a research conducted by Herman Miller, the office furniture company, the best way of coworking is to work quietly and independently first before discussing your ideas with others. Flexible sub-division of small alcoves or work stations are therefore key.

Playing is the New Working

The new generation of coworkers like to work hard play hard, so games and fun are definitely on the menu for coworking spaces. They can act as a medium for meeting new people, or a marketing tool to showcase the philosophy behind the new creative class.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Good coffee is the quintessential coworkers' brew; they even call their industry the 'flat white' economy! A more generous fit-out to include a self serving kitchen equipped with suitable coffee making machines would be ideal. Some coworking spaces even have outsourced coffee providers to spoil their coworking staff.

Teapoint in Ahoy Berlin

Coffee corner in Mobile Suite

Coffee shop in Betahaus

Featuring the Power Cables

Exposed ceilings are the new norm for coworking space fit-outs, and with it comes the exposed mechanical and electrical (M&E) services. Instead of hiding the pendant lightings and extension cords, featuring them can be a good idea! That of course means a closer working relationship with your M&E consultants. Please make sure they write 'to architect’s design' in their spec!

Power cables in Betahaus

Steel frame incorporating services in Mobile Suite

Outdoor is as Important as Indoor

The outdoor green space can almost be treated as office net internal area (NIA) these days if it is not raining! Coworkers would rather have their jumpers on and have a meeting outdoors in natural daylight. The outdoor spaces should also offer wellbeing activities: gym, running track, bee keeping, kitchen garden, pop up coffee shop, garlic farm on the roof terrace. You name it, they can be there!

Did you also Know?

In many of the coworking spaces we have visited, both in the UK, Holland or Germany, they all prioritise the personality of staff, the hospitality of services, and friendly atmosphere, over internal fit-out, or even the architecture. Some of the owners of the coworking spaces even said that it is the cheerfulness of the receptionists that have the greatest influence on the success of a coworking space. Some of these coworking spaces also work as a network, they help out each other, organising events together, almost like religious groups. Having said that, high quality interior design and innovative use of space is still attractive in premium coworking offices.

“Personality first, architecture second.”

Opening event in Impact Hub

Internal presentation in Betahaus

Tour in Spinnerei

Watch This Space...

While working on such projects like Here East and Kora, we have visited many coworking spaces in London and Eindhoven. These spaces plus the seven we saw in Berlin and Leipzig have given us much food for thought. The diversity and forward thinking of the coworking industry across Europe has offered us inspiration and confidence to explore more of our innovative ideas. Watch this space…

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