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#10 FAQs about coworking: A practical guide for Athens, Greece

“We have the talent. We just need to work together. Different environments need to overlap, connect, and interact in order to transform our culture. In order to create a sustainable community based on trust, we value”:

  •    collaboration over competition
  •    community over agendas
  •    participation over observation
  •    friendship over formality
  •    people over personalities
  •    value ecosystem over value chain

These are some lines straight out of the coworking manifesto published more than 10 years ago! Does coworking still sound relevant to you?

After two years into this world-changing pandemic, the answer is more than obvious. Remote working has become the norm while more and more professionals seek new ways of balancing work and life and living off their passions. Millennials and GenZers, who are always craving new experiences and travel around the globe, prefer working from different destinations instead of an unchangeable and set office. And one of those up-and-coming coworking pins on the map is the Greek capital, Athens!

We strongly believe in the idea of flexible workspaces and we love to see our community expanding, for that reason we thought it would be a great idea to present you with:

#10 FAQs about coworking in our beloved city of Athens!


1. What is coworking and who is a coworker?

Athens Coworking

Coworking is the new way of reaching your professional and personal goals! If you just need your laptop and good Wifi to work from anywhere, or if you just can’t stay in the same office (or city) on a long term basis then this is your ideal way of working! Coworking means working alongside together. Sharing a workspace with people who may possibly become your friends or fruitful networking contacts but are NOT necessarily your colleagues. Coworking means that it’s your choice to hang out with them today or focus entirely on your projects tomorrow by setting your limits. Coworking means neither one-way socialization nor professional solitude. 


2. What is a coworking space?

A coworking space is a place where you can have all that! Essentially, it’s a shared workspace that offers flexible options for all professionals. The layout may vary but usually, it incorporates co-working areas, private offices, and common areas in its premises: Coworking areas include an arrangement of hotdesks for members to work from, private offices for those who want their own closed space, and common areas like kitchens, terraces, and lobbies where all of the above share a cup of coffee together! Common areas are essential for socializing and every coworking space has its own meeting point! Moreover, coworking spaces include meeting rooms and/or call rooms. This way members can hold business meetings and communicate with their clients and partners from all over the world!

3. What kind of coworking spaces are there in Athens and where are they located? 

Athens has become a truly attractive destination for ex-pats, and at the same time, locals are seeking new working environments and are longing to socialize in the after-COVID19 era.  That is why many different types of coworking spaces have sprung up as well! You may find everything in the Greek capital and there are online search engines specifically for this, like coworker.com. You may find coworking franchises, international hub brands, and independent Greek businesses like Stone Soup! These workspaces are scattered all over Athens, from Marousi in the North to Exarcheia, and all the way to Peiraeus next to the port. 

4. Is the location of a coworking space important? 

You can imagine that even if we live in a digital world, coworking spaces are still physical, so location is important! Make sure that you pick the one that suits your everyday urban explorations! If you fancy the northern suburbs of Athens and their classy restaurants, parks, and calm ambiance, look for coworking spaces in Kifisia or Marousi. If you prefer to follow the urban vibes and stay in touch with everything that goes around in the contemporary Athenian scene then the center of the city is a must-be. The center of Athens has plenty of coworking spaces so if you are looking for a taverna in Psyrri, a bar in Exarchia, or a gallery in Koukaki then there are many coworking spaces to pick from. And lastly, it’s the Greek Riviera in the south where there are a couple of options as well! If you are driving then parking is important! Coworking personnel will be happy to share with you the best cost-effective options around their area but they usually do not include parking fees in their membership options.

5. What are my membership options when I want to join a coworking space in Athens?

In almost all spaces you will find a wide range of memberships to match your needs. There are packages starting from a few hours and daily passes to monthly plans and long-term agreements! Each coworking space in Athens usually has its own policy, but flexibility is one of the most important attributes! How much would you stay in your ideal workspace? No need to answer right now! Feel free to try whatever suits you and your timetable and you can always upgrade or downgrade later. Don’t hesitate to ask the community manager on the spot for the most convenient solution.


6. What is a coworking desk? 

A coworking desk is the main element of a coworking space: Ιn the coworking slang we call it either a “hot desk” or a “dedicated desk”. In the first case, there is a first come first served rule and coworkers pick a different desk each day depending on availability and on how early they arrive at the coworking space. In the second case, coworkers are assigned to a dedicated desk for exclusive use and it usually includes more office amenities, like a locker or other furniture, and you get all that with an upgraded membership.


7. What is a private office in a coworking space?

Except for the desks in the open areas of a coworking space, you may also find some closed areas that serve as private offices. If your project requires privacy, if you run a team or if you just prefer to work in solitude but you still want to have a cozy chat during lunch and coffee breaks then you should go for this option. Private office tenants usually have access to their offices 24/7 so they can drop by whenever they feel inspired to get back to work! It is also a great way to have your team gathered together in the same space without having to worry about long-term leases, commitments, and monthly utilities!

8. What is a meeting room?

Are you ready to have a creative brainstorming session with your team or partners? Is an important client coming and you are looking for a place to host your meeting? Do you have one of those long zoom calls and you want to feel comfortable in a professional setting? Those are reasons to book a meeting room! Some meeting room hours are usually included in a coworking membership or there might be an extra cost. If you are not a member and just want a meeting workspace for a day or more this can work for you too!

Coworking in Athens


9. Can I find professional equipment that I can use in a coworking space? 

Usually yes! It depends on what each space has to offer and what you need! Is it a monitor or a TV? An ethernet connection? A printer? Is it a 3D printer? Is it a copy machine or a scanner? Most workspaces offer monitors as a minimum since they are a must-have for a creative professional. These are either included in membership or you can rent them as an add-on at an extra cost. Advanced services like ethernet connection or phone lines are in most cases available on demand; their installation cost varies according to the agreement you have with each space. Never hesitate to ask for all those little things that will make you feel more comfortable and creative!

10. Can I bring my four-legged friend with me?

Most coworking spaces are inclusive of cats and dogs but they require a heads up before you decide to bring along your fluffy friend. Feel free to ask what a workspace’s policy is on that!

Do you have any more questions about coworking? Let us know!

Collaborative workspaces are here to stay and the new ways of working remotely that came up during the pandemic boosted their importance. Flexibility is awesome only if you are the one who’s choosing your desk and your community of coworkers! If you are in Athens, why don’t you check out the available coworking spaces and see which one will make your everyday life a little more extraordinary? 

Are innovators born or made?

The entire western world talks about innovation. It’s the key for the development of western economies, and it’s a one-way street. All of the engineering and math-oriented work passes through globalization to overseas engineers. It combines low operational cost with high productivity. However, in the case of innovation it is really complex. Actually, there is no consensus on how innovation works.

Numerous products such as book or pieces of art are made each year, but how many of them actually obtain an exceptional place in the market? Engineering plus creativity gives birth to innovation. It’s not a coincidence that great innovators were not just engineers or scientists; they were also artists in their own fields, in their own community.

One-inch

It is true that innovative minds can be taught, to some extent; but not the regular way. Arts and  Humanities is that one-inch that makes the difference. Is it possible to imagine Mac OS without art? However, markets are not always in favour of the best technology. Mac Os is vastly superior than Windows OS in many aspects, but the latter dominates the markets. Believing  that every product or skill deserves the share that it takes is a big fallacy. It may be true when talking about low-level service and measurable skills, but it’s not about innovation. It’s almost trivial to give credits on to someone or something that is already established.Any wise analyst can see all the critical points that made the difference of that one-inch and claim “I knew it, I knew it, I saw it!”. Bullshit! Nobody takes into consideration the billions of products that never surfaced because of flawed timing, funding or many, many other reasons that we may find afterwards.

Start wherever you are!

In the real world with real considerations and a well-structured market, skills and abilities will be expressed and rewarded somehow. But that could be anywhere! What they say? ‘History is repeated!’ Nonsense! Just nonsense! Every path is unique and, the dots can only be connected by looking backwards. All innovative newbies are fighting for a ticket in a theatre where the performance is never, ever repeated. The roles are changing upon the stage and the script is nothing more than trash.

The best way of learning is by doing..

A YouTube founder once said: I am not impressed by our success, we planned it! Hah They planned it! They planned to receive in a couple of years a bunch of millions. When Google came to light, its founders  wanted to sell their idea but nobody wanted to buy it! They couldn’t see any commercial value in a multi-billion-dollar business idea that changed the flow of information in the whole world! Who really knows? Trial and error was the most effective method that has ever existed, and it still might be.

The point is that the harder you work, the luckier you get. Perseverance can make the difference. The vast majority of inventors, innovators, and scientists  around you – they are not as charismatic or talented as you think – they are persistent.

Give it a shot!

Credits for the article go to: Antonis Vatousios
Find the original article here 

Ferryhopper: Enabling you to hop on any island you want!

We would like to focus this week on stories of Greek startup companies that inspire. Stories of teams coming up with new tech solutions to solve existing problems and manage to disrupt a whole industry.

It may not be easy to start a business, especially when it deals with new processes or technologies. Moreover, with so many successful examples coming from countries abroad, it can be discouraging always reading about companies thousands of miles away. However, the good news is that such stories are occurring right here in Athens too, and we would like to share one with you.

Ferryhoper: a new way to book your tickets for the Greek islands

We will introduce you to the story of Ferryhopper; one successful business that was founded right here in Athens, Greece.

Ferryhopper is a platform that allows travelers to find and purchase tickets from over 30 different ferry operators. Founded in 2016 by Christos Spatharakis, Vasileios Lahanas, Panagiotis Sarafis, and Aiden Short, the company has managed to sell over 200,000 tickets to over 160 destinations on its platform. At the forefront of the growing trend of the digitalization of travel services, the company seeks to revolutionize the way people travel by ferry.

Disrupting the tourism business

Ferryhopper currently operates from Stone Soup’s office space, and we are very excited to have them here with us and to get to know the team better. To understand how the team has achieved its successes, we had a conversation with Vasiliki, their marketing manager.

“It started out with four guys. Two of them were electrical engineers from NTUA, in Athens and they later met again in CERN during an internship.”

The four founders were avid travelers who found themselves constantly frustrated by the difficulties of traveling between islands in Greece. The team created Ferryhopper with the goal of developing a single platform that would streamline the island hopping process. They consolidated all of the ferry operators and developed an algorithm that allowed travelers to choose routes between islands, even if they were not directly connected. With an emphasis on providing great customer service and user experience, Ferryhopper allowed travelers to book tickets directly on the platform with no service fees.

As Christos explains, when entering a mature market filled with established players, without having prior experience or market experts amongst your team it is essential to focus on creating a solid product that solves an actual problem. What is also important is to find the right people for your team who are willing to explore solutions and experiment with novel ideas. In Ferryhopper’s case, once the platform was launched, they received more demand that what they projected – quickly validating their value propositions and paving the way towards receiving funding.

Securing Investments for their startup

As Ferryhopper scaled up over the years, the team began pitching their company to various investors. They received a 30,000 euro award from the Stelios Foundation, and more recently, they raised 600,000 euros through a funding round including Metavallon and easyGroup in 2018.

“Our procedure was to create a pitch deck, and approach some possible investors. It was time consuming because we wanted to create a very strong pitch and we wanted the investors to understand exactly what our product was about.”

Although the company faced challenges during the pitching process, it ultimately paid off as they were able to negotiate an amount and secure the final investment from Metavallon – an investment that will allow the company to further bolster its tech infrastructure and support its international expansion.

Advice for pitching your business

For many companies, particularly younger startups, pitching to investors can be a daunting endeavor. As demonstrated by Ferryhopper, this is a very involved process can take a long time, so it is extremely important to persevere and keep the end goal in mind. To help businesses who are interested in securing their own investments, Vasiliki also shares another tip:

“The perfect tip would be to meet people who could consult you, give you real-time advice, and provide feedback on your pitch decks. We have many incubators here in Athens, and a lot of people who have done this themselves and successfully received investments. You need to have somebody with experience that you can turn to.”

At Stone Soup, we offer such business advice. You may opt-in for the Open Office Hours. They are one-on-one sessions with experts in different fields. The sessions are free of charge and are open to all. Our objective is to share the knowledge beyond our walls and to strengthen the Digital Creative ecosystem in Athens.

What’s Next for the Greek startup?

As for what’s down the line for Ferryhopper, the company wants to continue adding new features to its platform and expanding its presence both at home and abroad.

“What we have in mind is an expansion towards the Mediterranean this summer. Not only Greece, but Italy, Spain, and more.”

What are you waiting for? Hop on to Ferryhopper’s website now to plan your summer vacation in the Mediterranean today. You never know, you might just get inspired to build something new!

In union there is strength

Hey! Do you know the slack community ”Freelance Athens“? If you are a freelancer in Athens you should definitely go check it out! It is an initiative started by two digital nomads, Kim Gillick and Lucy Xu, based in Athens and its aim is to give the freelancers of Athens a nice, tight and functional online community to turn to when they are in need of some support!

Recently, we hosted their first event: “Staying Social as a Freelancer” here at Stone Soup. At the event, Kim and a very active nomad, Nathan Sudds, shared some useful insights and experiences relevant to Athens freelancers, helping the community to expand beyond an online-only presence! It’s been a successful and well organised event moderated and facilitated by Karolina Sieler, who recently joined the Freelance Athens’ team remotely.

Who is Karolina?

Karolina is from Poland and she has 6 years of experience as a teacher and a public speaker in England and Scotland. She used to be a university lecturer and – occasionally – a speaker at conferences all over Europe, until she realised she was craving a new challenge. After exploring new professional options for a bit, she initiated her first business by setting up a community for entrepreneurs, start-up owners and freelancers in London, called FBIZZ Freelancers Hub. She spent 2 years running events for the community, inviting speakers and facilitating panel discussions. She used the community’s platform as a ground for creating a business blog while she took her first steps as a freelancer. Two years ago, she decided to start a new chapter in her life and become a digital nomad.

Being a digital nomad: dreaming it vs living it

“My vision was to start from London and spend 5 years there, then go to Hong Kong for another 5 years, then New York etc. I was dreaming about living the big city life but only after a year and a half in London I realised it wasn’t right for me. Therefore, I decided to keep my work life in London and explore my opportunities in different places, including Athens.”

Being a freelancer may become frustrating and lonely. The reason Karolina appreciates Athens so much is for the vibrant city life that gives you the opportunity to build deep connections with local people, as well as, with other expats. This is the main reason she seeks for opportunities to engage and comes back whenever she is able to.

Karolina’s business and vision

Over the years, she has finally figured out the ideal business model that makes her happy and at the same time supports her financially. Karolina has built her own online platform supporting law students in the UK called 1stClassLLB. She creates online courses and runs a YouTube channel.

Both in London and in Athens, she tried at the beginning to work from home. She soon realised that she was missing the sense of belonging to a community or organisation. She was set out to find a coworking home and to be able to share workspace, initiate activities with other coworkers and potentially work on a common cause. 

Karolina drops occasionally by Stone Soup and has joined Kim and Lucy, to fulfil their common vision, that is to unite the Freelance Athens community both online and offline.  “I am very satisfied with my decision to work from here. Ever since I started I feel part of a big family, plus I witness myself being more productive!”