A few months ago, I made one of my best and most important decisions in my entrepreneurial career. I decided to start working in coworking-space in Helsinki. I had read about Wonderland Work from a newsletter I received and my curiosity roused. I filled out a form found on the website, which resulted in a request to visit Wonderland on the spot. When the tour was held, I was so convinced that I signed the contract right away. After four months I can say I’m really happy that I did.
Last fall I reached 6 (!!!) years of freelancer work and until August 22, 2018 I always worked at home or for variation in a cafe. Now it feels totally crazy. What did I think? On the other hand, I had considered other alternatives to my workspace, but a couple of obstacles were repeatedly reminded of me.
One big question was the cost. So far, I had not thought that I would have to pay two hundred euros a month for a workspace. My income is usually irregular, and a couple of hundred euros a month will suddenly make a couple of thousand euros a year. Do I really want to spend so much money on something I don’t really need?
Neither did I find a suitable solution for the workspace. I didn’t want to “just” rent a room or sit in an impersonal space surrounded by men in suits. When I was working for a Swedish company, I got a job at an office hotel. It’s one of the most boring experiences in my life. First, I sat alone and when I finally got a “colleague”, he happened to be the type that spoke uninterruptedly. For anything like this, I wouldn’t want to pay a euro myself.
However, during the past year, I have more and more often dreamed of an office, colleagues and a community, but I have not been willing to pay for it because I couldn’t find a suitable place.
Not until now! Suddenly, I have people I can talk to by the coffee machine, I have lunch company and a community with whom to drink afterwork wines on Fridays. Earlier in the autumn, one of my colleagues asked if we would go to the gym. OF COURSE, I said!
I have a Flex contract with Wonderland. This means that I can freely choose my place in the coworking-space. Many also rent their own office here, but I enjoy my Flex site, and I do not feel that I have a need for my own room. I have my own cabinet where I can store my things. If I want to consider something more closely, I can roll up next to my Whiteboard table and write my thoughts into it. When the day is over, I pack my things or leave them in the closet. Really easy and smooth!
Five best things about working in a coworking-space
During the last few months, I have repeatedly thought: what if I had not started to work here? What if I still had to sit at home or in changing cafes? What if I hadn’t met these great people that I can now call my friends? The mere thought of terrifies me. But why is it so great to work here then? I present five reasons why I am so pleased with my situation at the moment.
- A clear difference between work and free-time
I live in a studio and working from home meant that I was always working. Although I got to spend a lot of time at home, after I started in Wonderland, I feel like I got back my home. Now it’s just my home, not an office
I wonder on how many workdays on my freelance career, I’ve just been sitting quietly by myself all day, only saying hi to the staff at the cafeteria for lunch? I am a social person and enjoyed being surrounded by people. This does not mean that I should always be able to talk to others, but it is wonderful to have the opportunity to do so.
3. Working is more effective
At home, I could sit for hours browsing Facebook along with my work. Now when I work in the office, function more efficiently and I’ll go home if can’t get anything done, or when I’m ready. I feel focused and motivated when I work here. At the same time, I can be free while I am at home. Wow!
4. Common activities
On Monday mornings we are offered breakfast at the office, yoga is organized twice a week, and every Friday we have a common afterwork. In addition, coworking-space was used to hold e.g. Halloween celebrations and one afternoon we tied bouquets together. The best part is that all these activities are included in the monthly rent I pay.
5. The working community
Although I’m not working together with others, I feel like I’m part of something bigger – part of the community. I no longer sit at home in broken sweats and accidentally do things that are not related to my work. Instead, I’m sitting in an office like an adult. In some strange way feel that I am more valuable to society to be here? Just as my work would suddenly be a lot more “real”.
In fact, I could write a lot about this topic. I do not know how I could better describe this, that I enjoy and can do better here than in any of my previous working lives?
I still work for myself and on my own terms, but at the same time I’m part of something bigger.
I have long been waiting for that, I would feel more part of working life and that I would have another place to work than a dining table. When my ex was working in a big IT company, I was jealous of having a lot of parties and cold beer at the workplace fridge (yes, my great dreams, haha). There is no beer in the fridge here, but every Friday we are offered AW drinks, so I feel it is almost the same thing. In addition, we have a lot of other fun activities that you can participate in. Suddenly, such a place is really my workplace?
When I started in Wonderland, my goal was to come here about three days a week. I thought I would definitely work from home too. However, during these four months, the days I work at home can count on one-hand fingers, I enjoyed it so much in the office. Occasionally I work from home and it is a nice variation, but I feel I get a lot more done when I am in the office.
I know that I sound almost ridiculously happy, but I’m just really happy with my current situation. As I said, I have not regretted my decision day. Sure, I pay more than 200 € + VAT per month for my workspace, but at the moment it feels very much needed for my own wellbeing. When I think how much I have received, it seems that the amount actually ridiculously small.
I was already thinking about buying an office space in the spring, and then I talked about it with my friend. His comment was, “Don’t think what you lose (in money), but think about what you might get.” And oh, how much I have gained!
Michaela Von Kügelgen