My name is Katia and I’m a translator, (but also a blogger, dreamer, dozer, well – er… who said “bother”?). I have been a member of Betacowork for some months now and on the International Week of Coworking, I decided to be unfaithful to my blog (La Nomade sédentaire) to write a post on the best coworking space in Brussels – what am I saying!? Everything! – And tell you about my experience as a coworker. Are you ready? Let’s go!
I have been an independent translator for 13 years and it’s a little less than a year since I joined Betacowork.
For those of you who don’t know about coworking, and would like to know more about this new way of working that is rapidly taking off around the world, I invite you to read the post on my blog “Have you heard of coworking?”
In another post, “Would you like to cowork with me?” (Yes, I know I’m a bit…”bothersome with my titles – I did warn you!) I describe a typical day at Betacowork. You will see, we do a lot more than just work in a coworking space…
Why did I choose coworking? To tell the truth, I was getting fed up with working alone at home. I was afraid of turning into a grumpy old bear through not seeing anybody all day. It was when I realized that the only human contact I had during my working hours was with the baker or the newsagent that I told myself I had a problem – and not just because I was consuming too many cakes and magazines.
When I heard of coworking my antennas picked up (it’s just an image, I assure you; I don’t come from another planet and don’t have a congenital defect) and my fingers started typing for more information. So I started to find out more about the subject, but from a distance. I had also heard of business centers but couldn’t quite distinguish the difference between the two concepts.
Eventually, through reading more on the subject, I began to understand the nuance: a business center is usually office space available to individual workers.
Thus, it’s rented working space and nothing more.
Coworking, on the other hand, is much more than just rented working space.
In its configuration, as is the case at Betcowork, you work in open spaces, large rooms (not too large – just the right size) with desks and equipped with everything you need to work efficiently: comfortable chairs, high quality internet connection, printers, air conditioning (not forgetting the other friendly coworkers!)
That’s the basics. But at Beta (as we like to call it), the master of ceremonies, Ramon, and at his right hand the ravishing Stefania, go even further to take care of our comfort. In the working rooms we find green plants, sweets, cookies and toys (some coworkers clearly just don’t want to grow up!)
Coworking is also the shared kitchen where you make your lunch or take a plate or cup, grab a coffee, heat up your stodgy pasta from the supermarket on the corner, or just have a chat. The spacious cafeteria doubles as a meeting room – or even a chill-out zone.
Of course, at Beta, there are real meeting rooms for more formal occasions – and even a real relax room, with arm chairs, a sofa and even a hammock!
Those are practical aspects. But maybe the least important: Coworking (and this is where the coworking concept truly differs from business centers) – for me, the most important aspect is the feeling of belonging, of being part of a global community. Also feeling a natural solidarity between my coworkers. And the cherry on the cake – the chance to find new clients and suppliers thanks to the diversity of professions that share the space (and by the way, if you’re looking for a translator, general advice on translation, or someone to help you write and edit your documents or website, I’m here!) And let’s not forget the international character of the space through the many different nationalities who work and come together here.
In short, coworking is a marvelous source of serendipity. “Seren – what? you ask yourself.” Then I’d invite you to read the post I’ve written on this subject on my blog “Do you have serendipity?” You’ll see that you too are creating serendipity in your day-to-day life without realizing it. And you’ll see how coworking can really broaden your horizons.
To conclude, I can say that Betacowork responds perfectly to my needs: I’ve found a place where I can concentrate on my work without being a sad hermit who has to go out for a loaf of bread just to see a smiling face. Coworking has also brought me things I didn’t expect: the feeling of belonging to a community, happy new contacts, new professional horizons and new discoveries (it’s thanks to coworking that I had the idea to start my own blog, originally dedicated to house exchanging and now encompassing every aspect of the collaborative economy, of which coworking is a part)
So there you have it. To all those who would like to try coworking I would say this: come and try it for a day – a day’s trial is free, and take my word for it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
To Ramon, Stefania and all the team: this International Week of Coworking is your week! Thank you so much for everything you do for us – and for the new toys you’ll soon be bringing us (If we’re good!)