Coworking is booming, and the number of flexible office workspaces continues to grow. Not least in Bremen – which currently has twelve coworking spaces. Through its Dutch subsidiary Spaces, the International Workspace Group (IWG) has just created a further 3,000 square metres.
The new addition consists of a coworking area with its own barista-run coffee shop and flexible office space for rent. The new development in Bremen is a first for the Group. In our interview, Stefanie Lürken, the Spaces Country Manager, tells us why.
Ms Lürken, coworking is really taking off at the moment – what is causing the current boom in this particular way of working?
Lürken: There are three different aspects to this. The first is actually related to teleworking. Demand for working from home has dropped off a bit, as it turns out that employees start to feel lonely, and tend to get distracted at home. They also lose touch with head office and are less involved in their teams. But the people concerned often don’t want to return to faraway corporations with their rigid structures and closed office doors either.
So the problem was to work out the best way to integrate these talents. The solution is to create a working environment in a central location that offers attractive furniture, facilities, design and shared services – such as a business club or a coffee shop where people from different companies can meet up and exchange ideas – while also providing private spaces, such as separate offices.
What about the other two aspects?
Lürken: The second aspect is digitalisation. That means employees don’t necessarily have to work wherever the head office happens to be. Companies in rural locations are unable to find suitable staff locally these days. And many city dwellers don’t really want to move to the countryside. With flexible office solutions, faraway corporations are able to provide employees with workspaces near their home that can compete with those offered by other major companies or trendy start-ups. The final aspect is more relevant to the companies. Office solutions like those offered by our Spaces sites allow corporations to keep down the costs of setting up in a new location.
From a company’s point of view, what are the arguments in favour of renting ready-made office space in a business centre rather than setting up their own office?
Lürken: Cost and flexibility. Our tenants are companies that are expanding rapidly, and that are using us to establish new locations, perhaps with a view to acquiring their own premises later on. They are saving on furnishings, maintenance and infrastructure costs for their sites.
In a 2018 study, property developer Colliers concluded that a lack of available office space in urban centres is one of the reasons why companies might look for alternative solutions. Does that correspond to your own practical experience?
Lürken: Definitely. Take Munich, for example. It has virtually no real estate availability. Or Berlin, where the amount of office space in attractive locations is also becoming increasingly scarce. And in many cases that is very much the crucial point these days: the location. Most of our clients have no cars. They travel by bus, train and bike, and they want to work in the city centre close to where they live. Good luck trying to find a space to match all that!
Who is the typical user of coworking solutions and flexible workspace?
Lürken: The idea that it’s all start-ups is just a cliché that doesn’t hold water. Many of our clients are from the IT or marketing industry, often they are project groups. The number of major corporations keen to offer people a ‘cool’ workspace is growing. In Berlin we’re even renting out one entire property to a single company, which uses it as its head office.
What different working models do you offer?
Lürken: We start with membership, which provides worldwide access to the flexible coworking areas at all Spaces locations. Clients who want to use our premises as their registered office need to take the next step and rent a dedicated workspace from us – either in an individual office or in our shared spaces. Should their requirements grow, they can upsize to larger offices.
You mentioned the high demands made by your target group. In Bremen you’ve got your own coffee shop, with barista service and coffee from your own roastery. What does a coworking space need to offer nowadays?
Lürken: We deliberately decided on a concept that encourages connections. Our aim is to inspire the people who use our spaces to meet and interact – and that is also what they want. That’s why in Bremen we have a coffee shop with a barista, great coffee and snacks. We are also going to set up a gaming corner and a nap room, and we’ve got a roof terrace where people can hang out, and perhaps watch a football match. The overriding objective is networking. We regularly organise events, including ones with external input, hold yoga courses, and we also allow our members to have their say.
Is that what made you decide to take three floors of the Bremer Carrée complex, right at the heart of the city centre, where you’re surrounded by retail shops?
Lürken: Yes, the inner city location is important to us, as is the proximity to local public transport and to the main train station. Our entrance is at ground level, with large expanses of glass, right next to retail outlets. We deliberately designed this ‘shop window’ to the world. It allows passers-by to have a look inside, and makes them curious. We want to draw in the life from outside, as part of the networking idea, so this location was ideal for us.
What was the decisive factor that persuaded Spaces to come to Bremen?
Lürken: We started off in the seven largest cities in Germany. Bremen is our first attempt to establish ourselves in one of the smaller urban centres. We can see a lot of potential here. We have already had positive experiences in Bremen with our other corporate brands, for example Regus Business Centers, and we could see the demand was there.
What are your expectations for demand over the coming years?
Lürken: High – we are only at the start of this particular trend. At the International Workspace Group we are preparing for the future, we are planning to expand significantly and to develop new brand concepts. We are opening three Spaces in Berlin, and in Frankfurt we are setting up one covering 8,000 square metres. We currently have 153 Spaces location worldwide, and there are more to come. Including some in Bremen. We will shortly be opening a new location at Citygate near the main train station. It will concentrate on the higher-priced segment, with spaces for lawyers or management consultants.
Ms Lürken, thank you for talking to us!
How do self-driving cars find their way around rural areas? A team in Bremen is using space technology to overcome this challenge for autonomous cars.
Bremen-based start-up cellumation has already won various awards for its invention, but now the company is really taking off. It has developed a new conveyor system called Celluveyor, whose modular construction makes it significantly more flexible and means it requires less space than conventional systems.
The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Northern Germany is a new beacon project for the aerospace sector in Bremen.
Robots in the office and block groves in the kitchen? Our man in Silicon Valley, Tim Ole Jöhnk, has tracked down unknown shooting stars, new technologies and trends from Silicon Valley that could be exciting for Bremen companies.
It is anything but everyday that a Libyan comes to Bremen to found a company here. But Tamim Fannoush has good reasons to choose the Hanseatic city as the starting point for his European business. And they are not only economic in nature.
As anyone who has shopped online will know, the search function in web shops is nowhere near as good as Google search. A company from Bremen is set to change this.
A company founder lives for his or her idea – no distance is too far and no obstacle too high. Four foreign entrepreneurs in Bremen share their passion for their vision.
Jiani Chen recently moved to Bremen. The energetic young Chinese woman founded the start-up App CN in the Hanseatic city and is now looking to kick-start her international business. She loves things about Bremen that many locals would take for granted.
Free electric-powered transport – Bremen set to become incubator for UZE Mobility. On behalf of its partner UZE Mobility, Bremeninvest announces the following: Bremen, 19 November 2018 – Start-up firm UZE Mobility has decided to relocate to Bremen at the beginning of 2019.
The state of Bremen covers 420 square kilometres and is home to around 670,000 people. Almost 22,000 companies provide more than 325,000 jobs. Below, we introduce some of the strong sectors that that make Bremen such an excellent business location.
Esteban Bayro-Kaiser has big plans for his start-up, WearHealth. And he has no doubt that Bremen can become a leading hub for artificial intelligence technology. But what made this globetrotter choose Bremen?
The best of both worlds. A young Indian from Bremen is helping German engineering to benefit from India’s factory capacities and vice versa. And everything is completely digitalised – with one click in real time, an order can be sent straight to the Indian factory. The benefit for manufacturers is huge.
How is the role of media and other forms of communication changing in society? What are the resulting challenges? The international MA in Digital Media and Society, which launches at the University of Bremen in time for the winter semester, aims to provide the answers.
Wherever Urbanscreen appear with their projectors, astonishing "Ahhs" and "Ohhs" are guaranteed. It is good that they also record their works of art on video – we have selected the ten most beautiful.
Setting up your own business is never easy, but Bremen offers the perfect environment for budding entrepreneurs. A unique start-up scene has taken root in the region that will help you access the expertise, contacts and funding that you'll need to succeed. So what are you waiting for?
Stathis Stasinopoulos built his first bike so that he could get to and from work in Athens more easily. At the time, he could not have imagined that his idea would see him set up his own business in Bremen. We visited the entrepreneurial engineer in his new workshop in the north of Bremen.
The depths of the ocean remain one of the last great mysteries on Earth. What is the precise composition of the seafloor? What flora and fauna inhabit it? Where has the delicate balance of the ecosystem been seriously disrupted? We still don’t have complete answers to any of these questions, but four young scientists from Bremen are aiming to change that.
Tizz & Tonic: Two sisters from Canada are producing and selling sustainable and organic underwear in the centre of Bremen. But what was it that attracted them to Bremen? We caught up with the two well-travelled fashion designers to find out.
You are or want to become self-employed – but you do not know where to start? In this video, we show you how the Unternehmensservice Bremen helps you to deal with official approval procedures, forms and funding.
You rarely get the opportunity to try out musical instruments when you buy them online. Bremen-based start-up TonePedia has developed a piece of software that allows musicians to properly compare guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers and effect products online. This saves time and reduces the number of returns and the associated cost.
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
Is this what sales assistants of the future will look like? Bremen start-up company Blackout Technologies develops software based on artificial intelligence, unlike any other software in Europe. Before long, we’ll be greeted by their robot Pepper in shops, at trade fairs or even in care homes. We visited Bremen’s robot lab to find out more.
Stathis Stasinopoulos was unable to find the perfect folding bicycle for his commute to work across Athens. So he developed his own. The bike, called ‘Folding Project’, is lightweight and comfortable and folds up in five seconds. This has given Stasinopoulos an unexpected new direction in life.
The founders of Mac Panther Materials, two brothers from Bremen, produce an open-cell metal foam for use in a number of different applications. Its secret lies in the production process that is based on a brilliant and yet simple idea.
A lively start-up scene with close ties to industry has developed in Germany’s smallest federal state. Government offices, banks, entrepreneurs and development agencies all work together like one big family. It’s what makes starting a new business in these two cities so easy.
Photography studios, workshops and professional kitchens are rarely fully occupied round the clock. So why not let others share them? The german start-up Craftspace brings together providers of production spaces with entrepreneurs, small business owners and artists on a single online platform. It’s an arrangement that benefits everyone.
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
The right investor provides much more than just money. They are someone to talk to, someone who can open doors and build bridges. Important advice for technology start-ups in search of an investor.
How do you feel about setting up your own business at the age of 20? At Jacobs University in Bremen, students like Julius Schneider are groomed for their careers as entrepreneurs. And Bremen itself offers them the ideal conditions to turn their ideas into reality.
The Chinese designer Haoyu Li combines his German design degree with Chinese business acumen. Now he is opening a design office in Bremen, with the aim of making it easier for Chinese products to enter the German market, and to bring German brands to China.
Revolutionising house hunting in cities using virtual reality. Training people to live a sustainable lifestyle using an app. Introducing food-sharing ideas to tackle our throw-away society. Offering professional HR management methods to smaller trade ...