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28.07.2015
Vive la co-working!

Don't think so? Maybe you are in the wrong space!

When you start freelancing all the experts tell you to keep expenses low so it's easier to calculate the new business. This was the reason why I started my freelancing career working from a home office. And even though this was actually saving me money it got boring after a few years. In addition I started acting weird in large crowds.

Founding The Geekettez and moving into an office space made a huge change. Not only was there someone to talk to face to face during the day but the collaborative work in a design-pair team actually boosted business. Another benefit was that changing space for work keeps you on track if you are the type of person who finds many important things to tend to around your apartment just find a reason not to have to do the less interesting tasks in a freelancers life.

When my fellow Geekette moved to Berlin last year it was time for another change. The Geekettez are still a team, however we now collaborate via internet, meeting up, discussing and collaborating on projects online. This works great for us but I still wanted a space where I could go to during the day as I had very much enjoyed the "work-space" and company within the first Geekettez years. This is why I decided to join the Raben-Engel-Odenwälder collective last year.

We are a group of freelancers and small businesses that share an office space but other than just sharing costs, I found a few more benefits within the last year.

Inspiration

Our space is home to many businesses. We have designers specializing in digital media, designers specializing in print media, 3D artists, developers, photographers, film makers, screen print artists and even a business distributing "Äppelwoi"

It's not only a highly creative space but also a space hosting people who are willing to take a look when you are stuck in the process and people who like to collaborate on projects, not only for business projects but on fun side projects as well. Personally I find this openness very refreshing, the dialogue highly inspirational and somewhat unique as I hadn't experienced it in other co-working spaces that I have been a part of.

Synergy

Obviously dialogue can have a synergy effect turning co-working colleagues into project collaborators. Meeting a new pool of creatives, who's work you know and who actively seek out contact makes it easier to find the print designer, developer, film maker.... that the client of your current project is looking for. It's not only a great service that you can provide for your clients but can also help your business grow. The Geekettez might have even found a new member here. But it's too soon to actually talk about that.

Fun

Dialog, inspiration and synergy however, do not simply magically happen. One factor that cannot be underestimated here is: FUN. We have lunch dates, summer BBQs, Christmas parties, host events together and might even make it to a weekend at the lake this year. Meaning, even if you haven't had the time to get to know everyone during your mega-focused, hermit-like work days (because you are coming from years of home office work), you have those events to actually connect, talk and find out who all those interesting people around you are.

With all the obvious benefits such as established office logistics or low costs I think these three factors are most important. And yes, the space sounds very much as described on Wikipedia.

"Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other."

What makes this space very different from other co-working offers within our city is that the many attributes that describe co-working spaces are actually alive and well within our collective. Other spaces I have looked into do not seem to have the same magic going on, which leads me to the conclusion that you simply cannot slap a "Co-working space! Come and join us!" sticker on the door and expect the culture to come into existence. I think our space is so special because there is a group of committed people running the place, who balance kicking off projects and events and giving everyone enough room to bring in their own ideas very well.

I do not know how these spaces work in other cities but if I could give you one tip when searching for your own space it would be to not just look at the space you will be assigned but to also look at the people, talk to them and ask about activities and collaborations that have happened in the past.

After a year at REO I am still very happy and want to pass on a huge thank you to: Chris from Azraels Art, Benny from Bembel with Care, Kalle from Buschfeuer Design. You guys are doing an awesome job!

And to the rest of the crew: Antighost , Rabenschwarm, mots agency, GetKirby, Bembel with Care, Laura and Claus, Vectorhafen and Carpzilla thanks for the INSPIRATION, FUN and SYNERGY!