Gosia Kramer is CEO and co-founder of The Office, Luxembourg’s newest business and coworking space located in the heart of the city. It was while working to set up a FinTech company that Gosia recognized a need to create a dedicated coworking space and was inspired and motivated to embark on The Office project with co-founder and business partner, Jean Wagner. Together, in November 2016, they opened the doors to a unique, contemporary and beautifully-designed coworking hub which brings together companies and individuals from all walks of business.
“What I love is that coworking spaces are excellent platforms to boost creativity.”
What does coworking mean for you?
Well, amongst the many words that begin with co-, community, collaboration and connection are the first that spring to mind. Coworking is when people doing independent activities or running small companies work in the same place and, effectively, share bits and pieces of their professional and personal lives. Coexistence leads to sharing more than just a workplace. It taps into the more human and social aspects of “inhabiting” the same space. Our main goal at The Office is to bring people together.
What I love is that coworking spaces are excellent platforms to boost creativity. A casual conversation over a coffee can suddenly give an idea a whole new dynamic, with the feedback and fresh perspective from someone else opening the door to new possibilities and inspiring confidence.
Sharing is a big part of coworking. It’s wonderful to see how quickly people are drawn into the sharing mindset: whether it’s books, a business idea, a chair, an espresso machine, or a useful contact, everyone wants to contribute something.
Though working from home may have its benefits, it certainly has its limitations: isolation, less opportunities to grow your network and not having the appropriate environment to receive customers on-site are all reasons why I receive desperate phone calls from “homeworkers” saying “I can’t do this anymore!”. Renting an office space implies agency fees, deposits, spending on furniture etc. so cost-wise is not the ideal solution when working with a limited budget. Coworking solves all those issues!
So what conclusion can the average coworker reach? When I join a coworking space, I increase my revenues, grow my network, build relationships and create new business opportunities.
“We see more and more people wanting to fit their working schedules into their personal lives.”
How has coworking evolved over the last two decades?
How long do you have?! So much has happened in the last 20 years since a bunch of hackers in Berlin created a space to meet up. It didn’t take long for their idea to catch on in the U.S. with San Francisco and New York City pinpointed as the first coworking hubs. It was in these cities that coworking grew into a concept, something more than just a shared working space.
I believe it was WeWork the largest global coworking chain with a presence in 25 countries, that really established coworking as a global trend. They recognized that it wasn’t just something needed by IT geeks and hackers, but by artists, housewives and everyone else in between!
We see more and more people wanting to fit their working schedules into their personal lives (rather than vice versa), so flexible working hours are a big plus in this respect.
The astonishing statistics more than prove the benefits of coworking: 72% of people increase their revenues compared to those working in more “traditional” environments; 85% of people note higher levels of efficiency when coworking; 86% notice a decrease in their sense of isolation; and 95% have reported network growth.
“A recent trend which I love is big organizations sending staff to coworking spaces to get inspired, explore startup mentality…”
What developments would you like to see in coworking in Luxembourg?
I have so many ideas! It’s a very exciting time for Luxembourg. In cities like Berlin, London, Paris, Brussels and New York there are hundreds of coworking spaces. Why? Because it has become the new way of working. It’s the future.
So, this trend that is maturing in other placesonly started a couple of years ago here in Luxembourg. I saw that an element was missing and wanted to do something different to all the FinTech-focused incubators or accelerators.
With 1-1-1 companies dedicated to startups, Luxembourg is becoming one of the cities in Europe to launch a business. Being able to set up a company in just one day for just one euro goes hand in hand with the concept of coworking: a package that gives startups a high-speed go-to-market and a place to call HQ.
A recent trend which I love, and plan to implement at The Office, is big organizations sending staff to coworking spaces to get inspired, explore startup mentality and, as a result, take on a more open-minded approach to work and maximize performance. Facebook, Google, KPMG and Microsoft, for example, are all doing it. It makes so much sense! Rather than investing in in-house training sessions focused on thinking outside the box, just spend a few days at a coworking space where you can feed off the energy and enthusiasm of other coworkers. Very often, the corporate environment can kill motivation and this is a way to inspire creativity and unlock greater potential. We mustn’t forget that many companies offer exactly the same services as their competitors –it’s the people making the difference. So it would certainly be in employers’ interests to place staff in an environment where individualism can shine through more freely.
Moving on to other ideas I would love to see take shape in the coworking arena here in Luxembourg: freelancers opening up their living rooms to other coworkers; coworking spaces for mothers and babies with daycare provided; coworking spaces at the borders (what better way to combine convenience with greatly reducing traffic into the city?); and a one-stop-office for business daytrippers.
“So, if any entrepreneur readers out there like the sound of these ideas, now is the time for action!”
This article was first published in the Spring 2017 issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.