Today’s coworking spaces offer a lot more than just a desk and a Wi-fi connection. Here’s how to get the most out of the coworking spaces in Berlin.
Flexible working is becoming the norm, to the point where there’s even a proposal in the UK to make flexible working every employee’s legal right. While Berlin is not quite at that level yet, the city is embracing less rigid styles of the working.
According to a report by The Instant Group, a company that helps businesses rethink their workspaces, there are almost 200 flexible workspaces in Berlin, and the number is rising.
With so many places to choose from, figuring out which one suits you best and how to make sure you’re using it to its full potential can be tricky. This handy guide covers all the perks you’re looking for (some you didn’t know you wanted) and where to go for the best experience.
More shared work, more shared workspaces
It’s probably no surprise the supply and demand for coworking in Berlin is growing, but did you know the actual size of these spaces are too?
It’s not just to accommodate more people or to make the spaces more cross-functional, it’s because the types of people using these spaces are changing. Once upon a time, coworking spaces were thought of as mainly for freelancers and remote workers, but they are now becoming hubs for entire teams or companies. Over a third of the demand for coworking spaces in Berlin is for teams of 10 or more.
If you’re part of a work team and looking for a space where you and colleagues can work together, there are plenty of coworking spaces that rent out enclosed offices across the city, giving you the flexibility of a coworking space with the privacy you need to hold confidential meetings.
We recommend checking to see if any of WeWork’s Berlin locations have enough room for your team. While their existing locations are nearing capacity, there are two new locations in the works so keep an eye on it and you could snag yourself a prime spot.
Do some offline networking
By their very nature, coworking spaces already offer a greater chance at networking than working from home or in a traditional office, but most also host events or exclusive networking opportunities for their patrons.
Check out Factory Berlin’s event lineup and you’ll find not only presentations, masterclasses, and fireside chats with founders but also agenda-free social events and even high-intensity workout sessions.
If you’ve already committed to a coworking space, you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out. A lot of the events and talks that coworking space hosts are completely open to the public. Visit the Meetup website, download the app, select your interests, and you’ll have an all-access pass to all kinds of events across Berlin.
On the off chance you don’t find anything you’re interested in or you find a gap in the market, you can even create your own meetup and host it at your own coworking space. Just be sure to clear it with the staff first.
Every day can be take-your-kid-to-work day
A recent study by the American Bureau of Labor Statistics found 63 percent of married couples with children had parents who both worked. When you also including single-parent households and unmarried partners, more than 90 percent of families have at least one working parent.
Compared to some other European countries, and even just compared to other German cities, Berlin is very supportive for young families. The most impactful move in the last couple of years was making kindergartens completely free of charge across the city. While this is an amazing step, it puts more strain on means Berlin’s Kitas, (the German equivalent to a daycare) which are filling up even faster, lengthening the period of time parents are off work.
Thankfully, Berlin’s coworking spaces are starting to step up to the plate, but are being snapped up just as quickly (like at Coworking Toddler) or the time slots are on the short side (like Le Box and Easy Busy).
Our top pick is JuggleHUB in Prenzlauer Berg, which offers a variety of packages for both parents and non-parents, and even a two-hour free trial so you can see if it’s a good fit for not just you, but also your child.
Get your hands dirty
You can’t do everything on a laptop, so if you’re looking to get more hands-on there are a few spots where makerspaces and coworking spaces have converged. If your work requires you to get a little more crafty or you’re just a more tactile learner, you’re going to need a workspace that offers more than just some mid-century modern furniture and internet access.
For the artistically inclined, ESDIP is not just a coworking space but also doubles as an art school with classes and workshops that are 10 percent off for members. Betahaus’ Neukölln location is also working on studio spaces to provide everything from podcasting to pottery, so keep an eye out for those coming soon.
If your idea of high art is a prototype, MotionLab.Berlin and Happylab Berlin are two massive coworking/makerspaces with everything from woodworking tools to 3-D printers, to a programmable robot arm.
The best part of these kinds of spaces is that you don’t have to be an expert to take advantage of their high-tech manufacturing equipment, as they offer workshops and classes as well. Happylab even offers workshops for children, so you really can start at any skill level.
Get some fresh air
Summers in Berlin are fantastic, if not increasingly sweltering. The entire mood of the city is uplifted and might give you just enough energy to crank out that proposal or clean up your codebase. Since part of the draw of flexible work is not being in a traditional office environment, how about not being inside at all?
LAUNCH/CO’s coworking space is ancillary to their web, design, and software business, but the space they do have is great. Have a seat on their rooftop terrace to soak in the sun without sacrificing a speedy internet connection (50 MBit/s to be exact).
You can also work directly from a park. Telekom and Vodafone have hotspots around the city that you can take advantage of if it’s already a part of your plan or by purchasing time-based tickets.
Snack hard, work hard
You can’t expect to disrupt an entire industry without a little fuel. Jokes aside, setting yourself time for a complete lunch break and little breaks throughout the day is actually an important part of preventing burnout. It’s not about getting free food, it’s about making sure you’re taking care of yourself in this culture of constant hustle.
Enklave’s coworking space has daily food-centric events that offer networking (or just some casual conversation) alongside the nibbles. Plus, you can schedule a tour and a full trial day before committing to a membership.
Ok, so this recommendation isn’t so healthy, but if you have a sweet tooth you might be more interested in Thunderbolt Collective’s candy wall. Even if you’re not a sugar fiend, you can still stave off stress with some darts or a game of billiards.
Support for your projects
With such a substantial startup community at your disposal, there’s no reason why you should go it alone when trying to get your passion project off the ground.
Especially as a freelancer, it can be tough to make the connections you need to get ahead, especially if you’re just starting out. If this hits home, Welance might be the place for you. It’s a freelancer collective/coworking space in Berlin that offers consulting, website development, and design services.
Looking for a smaller scale, more casual operation? A membership at Tuesday Coworking gains you access to both their locations and while they might not be as expansive as the WeWorks and Rent24s of the world, they are super culture-focused. If there’s a topic you’re keen to learn more about, you can just ask and they’ll try to set something up for you.
Get some shut-eye
Has the lack of napping potential outside your own four walls kept you from getting out and about? Don’t let a little snoozing hold you back.
Weserland Coworking is a cheery little place in Neukölln that members can access 24/7, and you’re welcome to get a little shut-eye in their nap room or just chill out in a hammock. Now that’s not something you’ll find at your average coworking space.
More alternative workspaces
You may not even need to go to a coworking space at all. Many hotel lobbies are just as equipped for getting work done and could be more convenient if you’re not going to be in Berlin long-term. Read our article, Why hotel lobbies have become the new workplace, and then check out our list of the best business hotels in Berlin to pick one for yourself.
Of course, there’s always the original coworking spaces: cafes. If you think the only perk that really matters is percolating coffee, Berlin has plenty of fantastic coffee shops in every neighborhood. Just a few examples of laptop-friendly locations are Oslo Kaffeebar right by the Nordbanhof S-Bahn train station, Sankt Oberholz (which has also a reputable coworking space) with two locations near Rosenthaler Platz, Kremanski in Kreuzberg, and 1900 Cafe Bistro near Kurfürstendamm.
If you’ve made it this far and you still can’t decide where to go, perhaps you’ll want to sign up as a beta user for Treffen, a startup that allows you to book a time, and then sends you to different lounges, restaurants, cafes, bars, and coworking spaces around Berlin. It just might be the answer for the hardworking wanderers out there.
You could even get work done while you’re in transit. Book a Blacklane ride in Berlin and you won’t just get to your coworking space in comfort and style, but you can also get some work done on the way. Holding a meeting? No problem, just book a Business Van/SUV.