Eduardo Forte completed his studies in Law and business management, while simultaneously developing his skills in marketing and management. He is the co-founder of Betahaus Barcelona, an open space that offers passionate professionals the opportunity to develop themselves in a creative and inspirational atmosphere. Eduardo will be speaking at this year’s Social Workplace conference, and gave us a glimpse into what it’s like to run a space catered to the “new coworking class”.
How does Betahaus Barcelona define the social workplace?
For us, it is a place where people can have access to an inspirational atmosphere filled with individuals from various backgrounds. For example, Betahaus currently has 200 members from 40 nationalities. This diverse community not only allows people to expand their business contacts but also gives them the chance to share and find others that are also passionate about what they do.
For us, to have “big numbers” (big community) means that we can increase that chance. You could meet someone that might be your next partner, client, friend, crush or love of your life.
What types of members chose to work at Betahaus Barcelona?
We are a big space in terms of members (+200), thus we have many profiles. Overall we attract international and open-minded people that have chosen Barcelona due to their lifestyle. Our members range from creative professionals (designers, illustrator, etc) to entrepreneurs and startups. We also have an in-house workshop, so we attract many makers and product designers that want to build their own prototypes.
Betahaus Barcelona is pretty focused on design. Why are the look and feel of a workspace so important?
We worked really hard to design our space that provides the best working experience possible for our members. One of my co-founders, Pedro Pineda, is a designer and he is also in charge of developing and improving the concept of the experience you will get when you become a member of Betahaus.
The design is not only about having a nice and comfortable chair, or hip meeting room. It’s primarily about developing something that is useful and shaped for the user. Overall, the design aims to improve your working experience in general.
How have open workspaces influenced the culture of work
I think these social spaces opened up more possibilities for workers because they offer members the chance to meet other profiles that they wouldn’t typically encounter in a traditional office.
In a coworking space, you’re in touch with people that don’t necessarily share your skill-set, thus you have the chance to open your network and develop a much broader vision of your own work, and that definitely changes (in a good way) the way you will work in the future.
Do you think that larger companies are now looking to join open workplaces?
I think that’s not 100% true. I think that small to medium-sized companies are much more open to social workplaces. It’s very complicated for corporations to change the way they work because they’re big and less flexible. Also, large companies are a community within itself, so the question is: How you put a community inside another community? It wouldn’t really work. But what we will start to see is larger companies and corporations will we send small teams to social workspaces to gain inspiration, or understanding about what is happening in the startup and freelance ecosystem.
What are the challenges of creating a productive workplace for freelancers?
There are many challenges! But I think the biggest challenge is how to create a mixed environment where everybody feels comfortable and can adapt to their workflow. When you are dealing with different profiles, the various work styles don’t necessarily fit together, so you need to find the way to make them come together. That’s the biggest challenge.