Tag Archive for: digital nomads

An Expat Family In Athens: Working On International Projects Remotely

Last six months, we had the pleasure to host George and Carla, a couple of marketers who traveled with their family from Barcelona to Athens! We talked with them about their international marketing projects and their experience as a family in Athens. We also inspired them to create content featuring Stone Soup! As part of his content creation aspirations, George just completed a Videography course in SAE! Stone Soup proudly starred in his first attempt at directing a corporate video!

Working remotely

Firstly, we asked them how they got involved in marketing as well as the pros and cons of working remotely. Before the family came to Athens they added many pins to the European map. Carla started working remotely back in 2015 after quitting her job at SoundCloud in Berlin. Back then she had already been away from her homeland, Spain, for 10 years and she was looking forward to finding her way back home. A friend was the one who connected her with a big digital project. Ever since she has remained working remotely either as a freelancer or in a permanent position. She describes her first few years as a “rollercoaster” as she craved social interaction with other team members. However, she now admits that she has mastered it and she truly enjoys the freedom she gets from working remotely. From her current perspective, going back to her previous life with a 9-5 office job seems distant and weird.

As for George, remote working came along with his promotion to a Regional Marketing Manager at SAE Institute 7 years ago. He points out that getting to work from anywhere as long as you have WiFi is very tempting. You only have to find the strength to defeat the “pyjamas syndrome”. Professionally his main challenge was to train, manage and inspire a team of young professionals exclusively from a distance. Interactions are limited to online tools and this fact consequently limits the dynamics between people.

George and Carla at Stone Soup

Marketing projects they are proud of


Their positions as marketers granted them the opportunity to work remotely and enjoy traveling all over Europe at the same time. They involve themselves in many facets of marketing, so we wanted to know more about their interests in this continuously expanding creative field. Carla enjoys working on digital marketing strategies. She loves thinking of ways to find the target audience of her clients online. She also finds challenging to plan out multiple a/b experiments to test what type of targeting may perform the best. As for George, he prefers working on social media projects as there is a more direct interaction with the audience. Aside from that, he likes running event promotion projects, as they move faster, with a greater variety in designs.

George and Carla marketing experts

Working in the marketing field means that you are designing projects that can be both impactful and creative! We asked our members to pick a couple of marketing campaigns they dealt with that are worth mentioning. George feels quite proud of a marketing campaign he runs across five countries, promoting a new portfolio of Games Production courses. It was challenging as he had to overcome cultural and market diversity issues and manage to create consistent storytelling. Carla could not help but point out that she is currently running a campaign to promote the platform adeccojobsforukraine.com. It is a portal created to connect employers with refugees and this goal motivates her to give her best. Any employer can sign up and upload their vacancies and the displaced workers can upload their CVs. It operates as an effective matchmaking platform supporting all the Ukrainians in this terrible moment of their life.  

Traveling to Athens

Their story continued in Athens, where they have been staying for the last six months. Together with their one-year-old daughter, Emma, they traveled to the Greek capital and decided to try focusing on their marketing ideas from here. They both agree that Athens is a lively and exciting city with plenty of things to do and international people to meet. They comment that strolling around may not be that easy but there are so many nice spaces to go to, like the Niarchos Foundation and the National Garden. There is no doubt that having a family limits the number of outings they can have. However, they have realized that there are also plenty of international families in Athens as well, even in Stone Soup!

Why work from a coworking space?

Working from a coworking space can help in achieving a work-life balance. They find it motivating to leave the house and add some flavor to their work life. If the coworking space neighborhood is full of choices (as it is in the case of Stonesoup), then even better! This way they can also pursue their interests as well. For example, aside from their marketing work Carla is exploring the digital art scene and curates content for her Digital Art District project on Instagram. They both find it inspiring to stay creative so they also do some paste-up street art together every now and then (instagram.com/lovnoir). When we asked them what is their biggest motivation lately, they passionately agreed that their number one mission and success story is named Emma, their fantastic daughter that rules their colorful world!

George and Carla part of Stone Soup family

#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? 

Lockdown & Remote Work: How to Adjust to Working From Home.

COVID-19 lockdown has forced the majority of the workforce worldwide to work from home. Lyda Michopoulou is a freelancer and a member of Stone Soup coworking space. She has worked remotely since January of 2017, and she has long experience in distributed work. One could argue that being a remote worker, Lyda would have an advantage over other workers who were abruptly forced to change their routines. But let’s see to what extent this is true. 

Lyda will help us answer the question, whether working from home is the same as working remotely. She will also share her own experience.

Stone Soup Coworking Member

Adopting a work from home routine and how is that different?

Lyda considers herself lucky as she didn’t struggle much during this transition. Her life as a freelancer requires her to travel around Europe and work from different countries. One of Lyda’s consulting gigs is to an American startup in the travel industry called NextVacay. She is working on US time, following a specific time frame and specific online tools. For that reason, the processes and dynamics within the organization haven’t changed much with the lockdown. 

Because of the corona crisis, Lyda is telecommuting from home and she spends most of her time hosting or participating in online meetings. This has decreased her actual working time and disrupted her usual working routine from Stone Soup.

Lyda had a functional working routine for herself, allowing her to work from anywhere as long as the WiFi connection was strong.

Fast WiFi

 

However, working from home is completely different from working from “anywhere in the world”. Social distancing, the new norm that has been given to all of us, is hardly a gift. Being able to keep a working pace, your motivation high and your productivity under control can be compromised especially when you are forced to work without a suitable working environment. 
It is quite easy to fall into traps such as working all day long, without proper breaks or even realizing that your working time is up and you should relax. Lyda sees the value of participating in virtual coworking spaces such as Stone Soup’s and Digital Nomad Girls’ Inner Circle, in finding a sense of belonging and support. 

Online Meetups

How to do your best during the COVID-19 era?

Instead of isolating yourself at home binge watching TV-series and movies, you have the opportunity to do something to better your skills and develop yourself. You can host or join online meetings with friends (networking), figure out how to support others with the skills you already possess or participate in activities that are valuable for the community.

During the previous weekend, Lyda participated in an online hackathon, called: “Hack the Crisis Austria”. She mentored a team who was tackling a challenge: “How can we support the mental health of people”. Lyda has only positive feedback to give about it. It made her more eager to participate in a bigger scale and even think about organizing something similar in Greece.

Stone Soup Coworking Member

Shaping the future of remote work after coronavirus

The corona crisis has unprecedentedly escalated the need to work remotely. The situation might be temporary but it pushes the gears of change and those won’t come back. Companies keeping previously a negative pose to the idea, are forced tο consider continuing with remote work after the lockdown.

Having a global network of contacts, Lyda has heard discussions about the struggles of friends and partners and has acquired some interesting insights. Many companies don’t understand how to use the online world to better support their work. There was no time for guidelines and transitioning. A new culture and priorities need to be set on the go. And of course, this changes the balances and threatens the up to now acquired stability. Companies and teams are being troubled by basic aspects of functionality such as what would be the best way, time, frequency, and means to conduct online meetings.

The discussion moved from online meetings to how people handle the grief that comes with being locked inside their houses. Lyda’s perspective of the situation was altered due to an article on Harvard Business Review. If individuals and companies go through the stages of grief we will be ready to accept what lies ahead and work with that.

After the lockdown is over a changed situation and land of opportunities for digital nomads and remote work is to be expected. The ground will be paved for the companies to keep workers distributed. And they would most probably like to shape their businesses in a way they could cope with similar future situations.

Creative Innovation

Why Life in Athens is Attractive to Remote Workers?

Life in Athens is exciting. If you don’t go to neighborhoods like Acropolis or Plaka you will find yourself exposed to the local people and culture, while living in the center of the city is affordable and not a status quo indicator.

That was the reason why Paulin chose Athens as his base over other European cities. Paulin is a young full-stack developer from France who switched to a remote working lifestyle and he joined our space to share workspace and to meetup with other residents.

work remotely

Life in Athens is Different

Having worked and lived in several capital cities like Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, and Athens, Athens was the one to win him by comparison. Despite its rich history and many sightseeing opportunities Athens still remains affordable without losing its authenticity, even in the city center. This is quite rare for a big European capital city, as most of them end up as huge expensive tourist traps.

What he finds attractive is the hectic way the city is organized, and the possibilities this imperfection provides. Due to its flawed nature, there are lots of organizations determined to reform the community and to create a functional environment for the various vulnerable groups of people. This state invites Paulin to dare think of ways of improving the everyday challenges and make a positive impact on his local context. Therefore, upon his arrival, he was drawn to pick a cause and become part of the change in need.

Following a Social Cause

Paulin discovered quite by chance Social Hackers Academy, a coding school, where they teach vulnerable groups of people, and that was a cause he wished to volunteer to. SHA aims to enable refugees, migrants, and unemployed people to develop skills in the ICT sector and consequently find a job.

He joined in October 2019 as a volunteer teacher of Web Development courses instructed in English and he thinks highly of the whole idea and execution. In a bit more detail, each class is composed of around 15 people, and while the preparation of class material is mostly taken care of by the organization, the instructor gets the freedom to approach the topic of the lecture by choice.

The class is practical with students using laptops during it, and the environment is pretty dynamic and well-organized with a substantial impact on the student’s skills and life.

It is truly fulfilling to see those people successfully following every lecture and being able to take advantage of the opportunities they get. Knowing that there are former students who have found jobs afterward makes it even more meaningful and fuels the cause!

Further Information about SHA:

If you are interested to get somehow involved too, your input would be more than welcome. Specifically, SHA needs mentors in Hard Coding, and Soft Skills, people to run Workshops and/or speak in monthly Meetups, Marketing and Communications specialists as well as laptop donations and any possible funding support. Feel free to contact them and talk to them in person.