The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of us to start working remotely. That meant we got to spend more time at home, and less time stuck in traffic jams and crowded offices. Learn more about the coworking culture in Scandinavian countries.
Many employees found that remote working wasn’t all it was promised to be. Instead, working from home presented an entirely new set of challenges, as kids, dogs, and everyday distractions got in the way of our desire to work.
So, now that we approach the end of the pandemic, plenty of folks are ditching their kitchen-table-office setup, and are opting to work in coworking spaces.
While this idea is novel for most people, it should come as little surprise that Scandinavian countries already have a strong coworking culture — they always seem to be a step ahead! Here’s a quick intro into that vibrant culture, with some tips to help you fit in.
Most folks who have fled their home office in search of a coworking space do so because they want to work in a clean, distraction-free environment where collaboration is possible. Booking these coworking spaces works somewhat like a hotel — in fact, the largest network of Scandinavian coworking spaces is run by the hotel chain Scandic.
You can expect to pay something around €19 per day, and for that fee, you will gain access to working spaces that suit your style. So, that means you can look to find spaces filled with other people who also buzz off busyness, or you can reserve a quiet, secluded nook or room so you can get your head down and work. Depending on the coworking space you choose, you might also gain access to other services like a printer and refreshments.
Coworking spaces are great for getting out of the house and rediscovering your productive spark, but the peak of Scandinavian coworking culture is something known as “Hoffices.” Hoffices are “a self-organizing network for co-creating temporary workplaces.” Or, more simply put, they’re office spaces in someone else’s home.
At first, the idea of using a home office in someone else’s house sounds like an invasion of privacy — but how many times have you had “hoffice” envy in the past 18 months? Better yet, the idea of Hoffices is social and voluntary, meaning many folks who offer a Hoffice on Facebook aren’t looking to make a profit.
Improving Your Hoffice
You don’t necessarily need to have a Hoffice of your own to join a Hoffice network, but it is the norm. That idea might sound a little anxiety-inducing, particularly if your work-from-home setup is a blend of Albert Einstein’s desk and your children’s crayons. However, there are a few simple changes you can make to create the ideal gathering space:
Keep Private Things Private: first things first, exit your home and walk-in again with a set of “professional” eyes on. This will help you decide what can stay on display, and what should be stored away when coworkers visit. So, for example, the family pictures might stay out, but the towels you hang on the office door need to go.
Color and Lighting: no one wants to work in a busy, distracting environment. So, if you’re thinking about renovating your office, start by choosing soft colored paints or wallpaper, and opt for lighting that won’t bring on headaches.
Furniture: the key to hosting a hoffice space is in setting up your workspace so that other people feel “invited” in. The best way to ensure you cater to other workers is to offer a few workstations — one near your own workstation, one in a secluded spot, and perhaps one more in an “interesting” part of your home.
Outdoors: speaking of “interesting,” there’s nothing wrong with opening up your garden to the folks who come and work with you. Particularly if the weather is good, or if you take pride in gardening. This will be a great conversation starter, and being outside always brings on positive energy to guests.
Coworking culture is fantastic, and it’s little wonder that more people are adopting this flexible, productive working option. However, for the uninitiated, there are a few basic pieces of etiquette to be aware of:
Introductions: making a good first impression is difficult at the best of times. However, when meeting new people in a coworking space you needn’t overthink it. Try to read the room, and see if the person you’re working next to wants to say “hello” first. Then, try to keep chatting to a minimum — after all, you’re both there to work and feel productive.
Zoom Meetings: if you know that you’ll be headed into remote meetings, you simply must reserve a quiet, private space. This will improve the quality of your call, as you won’t be drowned out by background noise, and will allow other people in the space to stay focused.
Food and Drink: stinky foods are a big “no” in any workspace, as it is nearly impossible to work when the stench of someone’s lunch is floating around.
Book: if possible, book your space ahead of time. There’s nothing wrong with showing up on the day, but people like to plan, and booking ahead will give everyone an accurate idea of how busy the coworking space will be that day.
The Coworking Culture in Scandinavian Countries – Conclusion
Coworking allows you to stay focused and recapture your love for work. It also allows you to take full advantage of the flexibility we now have due to remote work. This means you can travel to some of the best destinations for remote workers in Scandinavia while you embrace a flexible blend of travel and productivity.
The Coworking Culture in Scandinavian Countries, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Ainsley Lawrence. Ainsley is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She is frequently lost in a good book.
Other articles by Ainsley Lawrence:
How & Why to Startup a Business in Sweden
Examining the Gender Pay Gap in Scandinavian Countries
Swedish Weddings: Traditions and Trends
All images © Unsplash
Feature image (on top): Photo by Shridhar Gupta / Unsplash