You need your own place to work for focus.

Kati and I arrived in Ghent yesterday. We were already here once in the summer of 2015. At that time we wanted to find out how we could work independently of location. In eight weeks we traveled across Europe and worked in coworking spaces and cafes. It worked out wonderfully and afterward, I decided to do something with coworking as a profession.

In Ghent I learned a fundamental lesson about work: Different activities need different environments to be focused. Which environment you need personally is something you have to find out for yourself. I think this is the biggest challenge in the world of work: knowing what you want and what you need.

You also need space to focus.

Bart Chanet drew my attention to this, running the Floating Desk, a now non-existent coworking space in a barge on a canal. Kati and I worked one day on board. He told me he went to another coworking space once a week to focus on the company’s long-term goals.

I understand that better now. When you work for a coworking space, you don’t get focus in your own coworking space. You’re always being approached by others. Members ask you for help with the printer or have questions about their bill. Other people come by spontaneously and want to know more about coworking.

Since I’ve been working at St. Oberholz, I’ve always paid attention to visiting other places for specific tasks. I write article drafts in the library in my neighborhood, write concepts in other coworking spaces or build presentations in caf├ęs. Everywhere where no one can talk to me and get me out of my flow.

Picture from the inside of the former LikeBirds (Image: Katharina-Franziska Kremkau)
Picture from the inside of the former LikeBirds.

LikeBirds was a revelation for me.

Bart always went to LikeBirds and took us with him the next day. The LikeBirds was located in the former cafeteria of a gas factory that had been closed for a long time. Kati and I spent a great working day there, and I could work as relaxed as seldom. That was very nice. This day became a highlight of our journey.

In LikeBirds Bart introduced us to Vicky Persyn. She founded the Coworking Space in 2014. Three years ago she had to leave the premises of the gas factory and started again on the other side of the connecting canal. Tomorrow we will be in the new LikeBirds for the first time. It’s certainly as cool as its predecessor. In the end, it’s the people who shape the places.

After our trip in the summer of 2015, I was always asked for the best coworking space in Europe. You can’t answer that question. All coworking spaces are kinda cool, but that’s why not every coworking space is right for you. But what I could say is that I personally liked it best at LikeBirds. There I was able to focus.

All Images: Katharina-Franziska Kremkau, Ghent 2015