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COVID-19 and coworking in Athens

Are coworking spaces closed because of COVID-19?

Numerous countries around the world are in the beginning stages of managing their own outbreaks, in each country the situation is very different and governments make their own decisions about how they can deal with the virus best. In Greece, it’s been a week since most companies and organizations were instructed to conduct their businesses remotely.
It’s crucial that we all follow our country’s respective measures and instructions for our health and protection. Even if Stone Soup is not directly obligated to stay closed, we have taken all precautionary measures and since March 12th we are not accepting any new members. As all coworking spaces are based on the social interaction of their members, we have recommended to our members to work from home as much as possible.

Stone Soup coworking community

This abrupt lockdown and necessity to work from home, is disruptive and apart from having to recalibrate your tasks and your own workspace, you may also face difficulty to concentrate and a feeling of solitude. This is why coworking space operators are exploring how we could work together online and keep the human interaction alive. 

To keep the community of Stone Soup active we boost our communication on online channels like Slack. Feel free to visit the #westaytogether channel to get webinar invitations, to share things to do, to arrange video calls, to share yoga videos or to start a group for people to enjoy online video games together, and many more ideas. COVID-19 virus shouldn’t put the coworking spirit in Athens down!

Stay tuned ’cause from Monday 23rd and on, we will start our Virtual Coworking (VC) sessions. At 10:30 we are going online and we want to see familiar faces and hear familiar sounds, while we all focus on our tasks. If you can’t do without this passive ambience of an office space full of people getting work done, join us! Let’s cowork virtually in Athens, and lets – under these peculiar circumstances- try to minimize the side-effects of COVID-19 and all negative thoughts.

You will get the rest details about Stone Soup’s VC operation through Slack by the end of the day!

P2P exchange stories: Sharing, thriving and laughing together!

Running a coworking space is creative and socially engaging work, but it is not uncommon for owners or community managers to experience a feeling of “solitude” while they run their daily operations. Thinking constantly about how to do the best for the community and maintain your partnerships, takes a lot of improvisation and consumes lots of energy. People who join coworking spaces do not often realize that keeping everybody happy is really hard work!

Coworking is all about making partnerships

The minute Stone Soup became a member of the European Creative Hubs Network we became part of a larger family of hubs and space owners. We were able to start connecting and exchanging know-how and experiences. Stone Soup was also lucky to participate in the P2P program exchange and we got to spend 5 days in Malaga, the city that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas was born.

We would like to share with you the highlights of our trip!

We exchanged knowledge

Meeting TLR Stone Soup

When I met Ben Kolp founder of The Living Room coworking in Malaga, we immediately clicked, and our communication and thoughts on the improvement of our coworking spaces were honest and deep. Our interaction made me soon realize that visiting the TLR was the best choice we could have made, as our communities and values are very much alike, and we could validate our successes and reconsider our weak points.


We had new experiences

Coworking space

Our tour in Malaga started with a delicious culinary experience of freshly made tapas and local red wine. We were also amazed by the city’s infrastructure, a small Andalusian city of 500.000 residents, Malaga has a big Technology Park that attracts global companies and has a vivid digital nomad scene. We visited both locations of The Living Room, Soho and Alameda, and it was interesting to observe why certain people would prefer the one to the other. We spent our days coworking at both locations, having meetings with the community, discussing synergies, and helping one another to advance our plans, and avoid making common mistakes.

Building authentic partnerships

George Carey Simos at TLR, Malaga

At the end of the week, we partnered-up to cohost an event at TLR’s Soho location. We invited George Carey-Simos to talk about communication in the digital age. George is a digital strategist, consultant, and co-founder & COO of wersm.com. At the core of his talk was the idea that in our online communication we often take the easy way out, and we often fail to connect because we fail to “speak human”.

We also often forget to listen to what others have to say. In an over-automated, hyper-targeted, analytic world, we neglect the human nature of the interaction, and we forget how to be ourselves, how to be authentic.

As inspiring as his talk was for the online world, we also learned that as coworking space operators we need at times to encourage members of our communities to be more human! To seek out for the social interactions and partnerships that can be found in a coworking environment.

Being authentic is the start, and the baseline for improving ourselves, our brands, and ultimately to share, thrive and laugh together.

We would like to express our gratitude to the ECHN and the Creative Flip project for making this exchange possible. We hope that our new partnerships will add value to the project, and we can’t wait for the next coworking expedition!

Learning opportunities between European Creative Hubs

 

Next week we will be flying to Spain to experience at first hand the coworking life in  Malaga and more specifically in the creative hub The Living Room (TLR).

Olga Paraskevopoulou (founder of Stone Soup) and George-Carey Simos (Digital Strategist, Stone Soup resident), will spend 5 days in the beautiful Andalusian city in order to learn and exchange best practices, engage in learning experiences and knowledge transfer as well as to co-create and present a joint event at the hosting hub.

Stone Soup was selected by the European Creative Hubs Network (ECHN) and the Goethe-Institut and was awarded the Peer 2 Peer mobility grant. During the exchange Stone Soup and The Living Room Coworking will share experiences on how to scale a hub from a small operation to a successful and profitable business with space management technology and automation as a key component. We will also look into the great synergies that can happen, if we operate an agency within our hub and work on impactful projects with our members.

The exchange programme is supported by the Creative FLIP project, which is co-funded by the European Commission. Creative FLIP supports healthy & sustainable ecosystems related to Finance, Learning, Innovation & Patenting for CCIs in Europe. The project is implemented by a consortium of six partners, spearheaded by Goethe Institut Brussel and the European Creative Hubs Network.