COWORKING COMMUNITIES CHART A NEW PATH DURING COVID-19

PC Magazine|June 2020

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COWORKING COMMUNITIES CHART A NEW PATH DURING COVID-19
We checked in with Pauline Roussel, CEO of Berlin-based Coworkers to find out what’s next in collaborative (but socially distanced) workspaces.
S.C. STUART

A year ago, PCMag interviewed Pauline Roussel and Dimitar Inchev, co-founders of Coworkers, an online job forum, advice site community builder, and all-round knowledge base for the free agent. In April 2019, the pair were working on their book, Around the World in 250 Coworking Spaces, and had just returned to Berlin from New York City. In May 2020, like the rest of us, they were grounded at home.

But they weren’t just kicking back and watching TV on the couch. They were organizing Hack Coworking Online, which took place May 28 to 30 (remotely, of course). We exchanged emails with Coworkers’ CEO Roussel to find out more about the conference and coworking in the time of COVID-19. Here are edited and condensed excerpts from those conversations.

PCMag: Hello from Hollywood! All the coworking spaces here closed when California’s ‘Safer at Home’ ordinance hit on March 17. When did it kick in for you in Berlin?

Pauline Roussel: Greetings from Berlin! The situation started to slowly become critical around the beginning of March here. Unlike other European countries, such as France or Spain, where the rules have been very strict, Germany took a different approach to the lockdown, based on trust. Of course, like everywhere in the world, concert venues, shopping malls, and restaurants had to shut their doors. But for coworking spaces—at least in Berlin—because each place has different rules, it was never an obligation to shut down. Many did it, but they rather closed their doors to the public or external visitors. For existing members, many spaces in the city have provided a certain time frame during the day where members could access their office if needed, following, of course, all the safety measures the government has released.

What’s the biggest challenge facing coworking spaces now?

The fact that coworking spaces can’t operate their physical spaces has actually brought forth an interesting question: ‘How do I keep adding value for my members?’ In times like today, when many freelancers lost clients and many companies had to postpone projects, what everyone needs is to be connected to others with whom they can collaborate.

How has Coworkies been able to help them address this question?

For Coworkers, it’s actually a great opportunity, as we can really work with coworking spaces and help them support their members in paying their rent by

A year ago, PCMag interviewed Pauline Roussel and Dimitar Inchev, co-founders of Coworkers, an online job forum, advice site community builder, and all-round knowledge base for the free agent. In April 2019, the pair were working on their book, Around the World in 250 Coworking Spaces, and had just returned to Berlin from New York City. In May 2020, like the rest of us, they were grounded at home.

But they weren’t just kicking back and watching TV on the couch. They were organizing Hack Coworking Online, which took place May 28 to 30 (remotely, of course). We exchanged emails with Coworkers’ CEO Roussel to find out more about the conference and coworking in the time of COVID-19. Here are edited and condensed excerpts from those conversations.

PCMag: Hello from Hollywood! All the coworking spaces here closed when California’s ‘Safer at Home’ ordinance hit on March 17. When did it kick in for you in Berlin?

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June 2020