Tag: Berlin

Ahoy! Berlin works on accommodating freelancers and corporations

Ahoy! Berlin is a Berlin based space for coworking and innovation. The more than 4.000 m2 big space host now freelancers as well as sartups and corporations.

Hi Stéphanie, can you introduce the Ahoy! Berlin project? What is it about?

Our main goal is to create a dynamic yet sustainable community where people have the freedom to collaborate, to explore and to have fun. We stand behind the main 5 shared coworking values – community, openness, collaboration, mutual help and equality, but we added another one – well-being. 

As a second concept line we have the nautical theme which is implemented in every detail in Ahoy. It likens the new startup economy to the open sea with it’s strong currents and unpredictable weather. Ahoy serves to help budding startups and freelancers steer clear of potential pitfalls by connecting them to a wider community of possible collaborators and investors via Tech Berlin sister companies Openers and Tech Open Air while also offering additional services like event management and legal advice.

Ahoy started as fairly small space and scaled up rapidly. Was it the founders’ plans to go this way?

Ahoy! was founded in December 2011 by Nikita Roshkow and Nikolas Woischnik. The first location was in Charlottenburg and was only 400 m2. Over the years, the space grew up to 1700 m2. As a result of this natural and organic growth in September 2015 Ahoy moved to a new location, which currently has over 4200 sqm spread over 3 floors.

Thе scale up wasn’t by accident, but it also wasn’t strictly planned. Our expansion was a result of hard work, willingness to develop the coworking concept, team members’ devotion and community strength.
In December 2015 we opened our second location in Sao Paulo with 450 m2. It’s managed by Felippe Burratini who is an Ahoy! Berlin Alumni. This is a perfect example of the way how the coworking synergy works. 

How receptive was the Landlord to accompany this process?

He helped us a lot in our recent growth in the last year – from the moment we moved to our current location until now, we expanded from only 1 floor to 3 floors. Even now the landlord constantly keeps us in a loop for potential new buildings.

Ahoy hosts some bigger companies. What are corporations looking for in a coworking space ?

According to our observations and regular feedback we get from our corporate community members we know that there are 5 main reasons:

  • To establish themselves quickly in a new city or a new market
  • To reduce costs and risk of new projects
  • To get closer to startups and entrepreneurs
  • To acquire more autonomy
  • To recruit new talents

Is the social and community dimension important in their choice, or do corporation’s employees in your space keep themselves aside as an island in the space?

The companies that use team offices often stay together in groups. Nevertheless, many of the interactions and collaborations between them and the other community members happen in very informal, chill and friendly atmosphere, while having a coffee, a lunch or a drink after work in our open cafe area. That’s the moment when the best ideas are born. The phenomenon known as “serendipity”.

Isn’t the flexibility and offered scalability a sufficient a value proposition for bigger organisations within you space?

It’s not only the space, the services and the possibilities to grow within the space that attract the bigger organisations. It’s also about the social interaction and the access o a professionally diverse community.

Do you work on mingling actively all of your tenants/members, including those working as employees for a company ?

Yes, we do work on that – we organise various community events:

  • community breakfasts;
  • captain’s’ lunches, strictly focused on bringing together the CEOs of the companies at Ahoy;
  • skills exchange;
  • drinks after work;
  • yoga classes
  • German classes.

We also facilitate the process of professional interaction by connecting our members based on the fields they work in. In order to foster the community development we use internal communication channels where they can introduce themselves and approach the other members.

What are the main differences between individual members with respect to the level of engagement with the rest of the community?

I’d say that the level of involvement and engagement in the community depends more on personal traits like collectivism and extraversion than on the type of membership. We have community members from big companies that are actively involved in the community and freelancers who prefer to stay on their own.

Desks VS offices ?

For us it is important to have them both – we offer fix and flex desks, as well as team offices. We’re striving to meet the needs of the freelancers, the startups and the corporations.

Are you working on hosting more corporations in the future ? 

We are open to everyone who want to join our space and become part of our community. At the same time we’re trying to keep the balance between freelancers, startups and corporations. We believe that this is the only way we can preserve the community diversity – the aspect that makes the coworking idea so appealing.

Do you see a new level of openness in bringing employees from other departments ?

More and more corporations are open to send entire teams and departments to coworking spaces. However, the process of making that decision still takes more time and it often goes through the several rounds of approbation. There is often as much internal negotiation as there is with the coworking operators. Managers need to convince their superiors and their employees of the value of such spaces.

However, once a corporation embraced that change, the trend spread easily through the entire company.

Do you think medium-size and big companies could outsource a big part of their office and facility management to bigger coworking spaces in the future ?

We’ve seen it’s already happening – from having an office in a coworking space to renting entire buildings managed by coworking companies, corporations are now switching to another way of perceiving the working process.

 

Ahoy! Berlin will be a speaker at the upcoming Coworking Europe 2017 conference in Dublin.

“We create an online magazine together within the community”- Maria Ebbinghaus, BlogFabrik

You may have already heard about Blogfabrik, the Berlin-based coworking space that gives you a desk in exchange for your writing skills. The innovative concept behind this German coworking space has already garnered significant media attention, in addition to inspiring new ways of imagining coworking spaces, as not just based on traditional fees, but as service based platforms fueled by creative exchanges.

Recently celebrating it’s one year anniversary, we caught up with Blogfabrik’s lead project manager, Maria Ebbinghaus, to find out what it takes to build a community of trust and collaboration.

Hi, Maria. Can you please give us some details on how Blogfabrik operates as a space and also how it meets the needs of members?

Blogfabrik is a coworking space for content creators who are working and living in Berlin. The focus of our space is within digital publishing. The people who work at Blogfabrik pay for their desk in the form of various content, such as texts, photos, videos, etc. This content is then published in our online magazine DailyBreadMag, which is a result of our collective effort.

Overall, our goal is to create a strong network of media influencers by creating a new networking hub and think tank for media creation and distribution.

How do you manage to be self-sufficient without charging traditional memberships?

Fortunately, we are part of the powerful Melo Group, a Munich- based group specializing in media distribution, which both invested and supported us. They strongly believe in the future of digital publishing, so we are encouraged to experiment and try out different things. As a result, our creative agency has a very strong collaborative aspect. For different types of projects, we are able to combine various skill-sets and talents ultimately offering very creative solutions when it comes to content marketing.

What do you think that coworking could do for industries that focus heavily on social media and digital media?

Our coworking space gives passionate freelancers from the media a new home. We work with bloggers, Instagrammers and journalists who have a high media reach and strong communities in their following. To work side by side with a community of talented and innovative individuals has many advantages. For example, we can develop advertising campaigns, brainstorm on brand cooperations and a multitude of social media projects.

How could coworking help the media industry grow, become more interactive and overcome challenges?

Our space is ideal when it comes to deep networking. People exchange knowledge about their businesses all the time. Before, the blogging community was mostly meeting on roof-top brand parties. Today, they can meet each other in a professional working environment at Blogfabrik, where we really work to empower them and their business.

Maria Ebbinghaus, lead project manager at Blogfabrik

Maria Ebbinghaus, lead project manager at Blogfabrik

We also found that everybody faces similar challenges, so we focus on collaboration, rather than competition. I think that professional potential can be found within coworking and partnering in general.

What are the biggest challenges facing those working in media today? 

Of course, low pay is still an issue and having enough projects available in order to make a living is also a constant struggle. Apart from daily hassles, we think there is a big challenge in the actual distribution of content and for those in media to be seen and recognized amongst the vast landscape of other media producers. Today, nearly everyone is fighting for the same thing, as the majority of people working in the online media industry depends on Google and Facebook when it comes to distribution of their content to their audience.

How does Blogfabrik work to overcome these challenges?

We try to empower content creators here at Blogfabrik and we truly believe in our coworkers. Through our agency, we offer them as many jobs as possible and by giving them a professional work environment they can learn to present themselves as qualified and skilled freelancers in order to attract more clients. Through close contact and many discussions amongst our community, we consistently aim to educate ourselves about the future of content and distribution, which is helping all of us to succeed.

What is the function of Blogfabrik’s in-house magazine? 

For us, DailyBreadMag is the portfolio of the Blogfabrik community. One can find interesting information about the media industry and useful tips there.

Based on your experience, what could in-house publications do for other communities?

DailyBreadMag is not only a portfolio, it’s also our common working ground. We try to bring people together through projects, thus we make an effort to combine different members for articles or content projects, where they often work together for the first time. It’s the ultimate networking tool for the concept of Blogfabrik, and it also functions as our testing ground where we can experiment with different models of collaboration.

Overall, our magazine has a lot of very important functions for us and it is also an interesting case for our clients, which shows our expertise in content creation.

The coworking space model is evolving, from corporate spaces to coliving spaces, what direction do you see coworking going in from the perspective of a place like Blogfabrik?

The future of coworking is bright. We strongly believe in the creative power of freelancers and we know how important it is to love your working environment and your colleagues. To create a community like this is challenging but also very rewarding. People spend their vacation days at Blogfabrik which is a sign for us that they love to spend their free time with us and their coworkers. Perfect!

How could other niche spaces create a model like yours to encourage knowledge sharing?

I think that question is not so easy because we are a very special coworking space. I think the easiest way would be to create a common project that everyone benefits from with knowledge, networking, and of course, love!

Did you already registered for Coworking Europe 2016 (Brussels, Nov 28-29-30) ? 

 

What Role does the Coffee Shop play in Today’s Workplace?

The coffee break has been a staple of the workday since the early days of modern industry. Office spaces soon became ornamented with automatic coffee machines and afternoon coffee orders became a daily ritual.

Yet, these breaks were often limited, to ensure that workers weren’t spending too much time away for their desks.

Today the tables have turned. More traditional companies now realize that social concepts, like the communal workspace, actually boost employee productivity and coffee culture is a major part of this. Grabbing a latte is no longer just something workers do on their break, but rather a vital part of a productive workday.

Offices around the world are now jumping on this trend, rapidly moving away from placing emphasis on hours worked and focusing more on socializing in order to promote communication and collaboration.

Have a Cup of Corporate Coffee

International office design experts, Steelcase, recently published an article titled “Real Work”, where they explored companies that are currently integrating alternative spaces into their official workspaces. They highlighted the fact that being productive is no longer limited to the desk, but can also take place while grabbing a coffee with colleagues.

It is important to remember that these office cafés are not like the ones around the corner from your house, but actually considered to be another type of office. The creation of the workplace coffee shop is a result of blending “first place” and “third places” to create a “second place” that gives “employees access to environments that offer employees the relaxed amenities of home”.

The “Real Work” article made reference to several examples of alternative workspaces, including Google’s latest endeavor the Coffee Lab. The author paid a visit to Google’s latest addition to the London campus, describing it as a “neutral territory, perfect for meeting outside vendors or partners”.

Creating added value through First, Second and Third Spaces 

Betahaus, Berlin

Betahaus, Berlin

Betahaus, which first opened in Berlin in 2009, and has since expanded to Barcelona, and Sofia, is a prime example of a contemporary collective office that has created added value through various qualities derived from alternative spaces.

By combining the “best aspects of a Vienna-style coffee house, the library, home office and university campus”, Betahaus offers their members a workspace that encourages both social interaction and productivity through architectural diversity and alternative workspace.

In fact, when you enter Betahaus Berlin, your first impression is their café. The multifaceted space that leads to the upper floors, where the official “coworking” is happening, is always buzzing with people talking, working on laptops and enjoying a freshly cooked meal. One gets the impression that just as much work is being done over a cup of coffee as it is over a computer in the quiet meeting rooms.

As the workplace changes, things that once seemed counter-intuitive, like working in a noisy coffee shop, are now being reconsidered in the professional landscape. Now more than ever we realize the importance of employee wellbeing as well as the benefit of developing alternative workspaces.

Amanda Gray