Tag Archive for: remote work

#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? 

Athens lockdown: opportunities and challenges for freelancers

Meet Ambre, our coworker from the French city of Bayonne in the Basque country! She is a copywriter and translator (English and Spanish to French) for e-shops and commercial websites. She got her first job offers through the translation and copywriting agency Textmaster and she now works for a network of regular clients and agencies that offers her a steady workflow.  We had a chance to speak with Ambre about the pros of online work and how did she cope with the spring and winter lockdowns in Athens. We also asked her how did she end up in Athens in the first place, and how did she experience the lockdowns as a freelance worker.

This is her story.  

The pros and cons of freelance work

After obtaining a Master’s degree in international purchases and logistics Ambre worked for five years, until 2017, for different companies in Paris. After evaluating the experience she gained from this kind of fixed work she decided that she needed a fresh start. She left Paris and started a small business in the fashion industry that seemed hard to succeed. So she looked for something different driven by her other passions, languages, communication, and reading. Copywriting and translation services proved a field where she felt truly comfortable.

Working as a freelancer gives Ambre the freedom she looked for. She remembers that during her previous 9 to 5 work scheme she felt stuck in a structured and hierarchical workplace. When talking about the pros of freelancing she mentions the ability to organize her free time and to write about different fields that appeal to a curious personality. When it comes to the cons she adds that in a globalized market there is competition for the same job and fewer quality offers. Before forming personal links with her clients she used to grab every opportunity. 

Ambre freelance work at Stone Soup

Picking Athens for remote work: before and during the lockdown

Ambre works remotely and she agrees with the concept of nomadic work. When she left Paris she went to Seville, Lisbon, and Bayonne before choosing Athens with her partner. She laughs remembering that she didn’t know anything about the modern city, just that it was an affordable place! They first came in January 2019 and started exploring different places in Greece. 

In March 2020 everything changed! At the beginning of the first lockdown, she was working as a content creator for a tourist journal. It was shocking when the company told the copywriters that they could not work anymore. At first, she was feeling a lot of insecurity and uncertainty. Her (already remote) work did not change but she was really bored because she had no other choice but to work! Her narration of the life during spring lockdown is revealing: “waking up, yoga, working, working, working, yoga!” Work was an escape from the fear but in a depressing way that made her feel stuck. Athens was in a cocooning phase too and Stone Soup was closed. So it was her home that was both a workplace and a safe space.

Ambre freelance work

Remote work after a calm summer: and another lockdown in autumn!

Summer was a calm and relaxing time for Ambre. Traveling to Santorini and meeting with friends was an escape from the numbness of spring. But in autumn restrictions were re-imposed again and freelance workers like her had to deal with another Athens lockdown in November. But this time both coworking and online work emerged stronger than before. She clarifies that the digitalization of small businesses drove up the demand for online content creators. As a result, autumn began with hopes up. She gets the chance to walk to Stone Soup and see friendly faces. She walks from her home in Petralona to her coworking space early in the morning and enjoys the sun rising and the quiet ambiance (fewer people and more cats on the streets!). Athens feels cozier in this controlled freedom state now.

Coworking seems like an excuse, a way to get out, take coffee breaks and feel like we are all in this together, she adds. The feeling that comes up first in her mind when she thinks about coworking is socialization!

Looking forward to a post-lockdown Athens

“PARTY HARD!” That is what Ambre misses the most! She is not a fan of the digital social life of the pandemic world and wants to see people again. Discovering more of Greece (“what about a road trip to the Peloponnese?”) is another goal along with climbing Mt Olympus! The Athenian cultural sites like the National Museum of Contemporary Art and the small bookstores are the places she cannot wait to visit again. Physical activities she used to do like yoga and volunteer teaching of English to refugees in a real classroom for the Za’atar NGO will also be more than welcome in her everyday life again. Her online work for companies like Sweet Small Pea, MonPlanCBD, and Agence Boca will feel even more exciting then. Athens will feel authentically charming again and the real-life small neighborhoods can be explored after some evening drinks with her Stone Soup friends such as Jelia! At the end of the day, we saw the limits of the digital way of living, she concludes, and it is time to re-appreciate what we miss and hope for.

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