When 'The Office' turns one
Luxembourg's newest business and co-working space, The Office, celebrated its first anniversary on Friday, October 27.
Home to a wide range of innovators, including entrepreneurs, start-ups, freelancers, consultants and other creative minds, The Office has grown considerably over the last 12 months.
What started as a start-up itself, co-founded by Gosia Kramer and Jean Wagner, today the co-working space counts 60 members and has a very international character.
"People who come to work here originate from Italy, Greece, Spain, Moldova, the UK, Belgium, the US, Hungary, as well as Luxembourg," said Kramer, the CEO of The Office.
Looking back on the last twelve months, Kramer added that celebrating this milestone is a "real accomplishment" and outlined that "the biggest developments related to The Office are yet to come".
An alternative for innovators
The Office was created to provide "unconventional office infrastructure" and offers an alternative to the costly office rental market in Luxembourg.
There are different membership deals available, including part-time co-working possibilities, dedicated space and 12 private offices for rent.
One year on, the co-working space is turning into a creative and business hub, fully booked and with an extensive waiting list for people looking to hire office space.
'A place with diverse people and ideas'
Gosia Kramer told Wort English the idea to create The Office developed over time. Having worked in the banking industry for 10 years, she recalled always being surrounded by the same people, which stopped her from developing new ideas.
"I was missing a place where you have diverse people and ideas," she said, explaining that the oldest member of The Office is 69 years old, while the youngest ones are university students working on a start-up. "There is a 40-year gap between these members," she said.
In need of a career change, she decided to open The Office in November 2016, and it was very clear to her that the new facilities would be "something complementary to an incubator", catering to the needs of small and medium entrepreneurs.
"We propose a place where people can register their business and come to work in a central location," she said.
And there is also a social element attached to The Office. Its members share ideas, work together on projects and take part in various events that give them access to a growing network of contacts.
Converting an old garage into a creative hub
While looking for potential venues for the project, she came across an old garage on Boulevard Grande Duchesse Charlotte and knew that, once renovated, the venue would be perfect for The Office.
Spending five months to renovate the facilities, it was Kramer who decorated the venue, being inspired by co-working spaces she had seen in New York.
However, the task proved to be somewhat challenging, given the limited budget available, which is why she used recycled items, such as windows from an old factory.
Every day is 'full of action'
And since formally opening The Office, Kramer has been very busy running the place.
Satisfied that her work "adds a lot to the ecosystem" in Luxembourg, she explained that "every day is full of action" and admitted she would never go back to working behind a computer.
Planning for the future, Kramer hopes The Office will be a platform that brings together small entrepreneurs with innovative solutions and big companies in need of these services.
On the day of the anniversary, Wort English also talked to two members of The Office about their experiences and motivation to join Luxembourg's newest co-working hub.
PHOTO GALLERY NEEDED HERE
Yolande Koster is a Luxembourgish national who has worked as an independent graphic designer for nine years.
She joined The Office in mid-January because she no longer wanted to sit alone at home. She comes to The Office every day and has a dedicated desk.
According to Koster, The Office gives her the possibility to work in a "central and familiar atmosphere, surrounded by start-ups, fintech services and consultants".
She also explains that the co-working space gives her "energy" because "you see other people working around you".
"It's a more productive and faster environment and you can receive objective feedback from people outside your field of work," she added.
Koster also believes The Office has become more crowded since January when there were only 10-15 members.
Member - International trader
Belgian national Sebastian Van Overfeldt is a trader of aluminium windows and doors and composes various packages for clients based on islands, for example in the Caribbean region. He has lived in Luxembourg for eight years and used to work in a corporate environment.
Looking for a change, he started his business Appel S.A. two years ago and at the beginning worked from home as his business was "too small to hire a place". He joined The Office four months ago.
He works in the open space of the hub three times a week. When asked about his motivation to use The Office, he said he liked the "visual aspects of the facilities" and also appreciated the additional services offered, such as the canteen available on site, and the events and workshops hosted.
"It's always fun being here," he added.
From doing "something very corporate", he explained that he is now more relaxed and has the freedom to do what he enjoys.
"There are no more sales reports and I even come to work by bike," he added.
And soon enough he will even be able to expand his activities, working with another member at The Office to develop a business together.