Locus Workspace to open second location
Locus Workspace, a coworking space in Prague, has just opened a new location at Slezská 45
Locus Workspace, a coworking space in Prague, has just opened a new location at Slezská 45 in the city’s Vinohrady neighborhood. It is the first coworking space in the Czech Republic to open a second location.
Coworking spaces are membership-based shared offices for freelancers and other independent workers. They provide an alternative to working from home, a café, or a serviced office, for those seeking a more enriching, productive, or socially connected work environment. Although the concept is fewer than 10 years old, it has taken root worldwide with the rapidly expanding freelancer population, with more than a thousand such spaces in North America and Europe alone.
Like executive suites and other serviced offices, coworking spaces offer ready-to-go professional office infrastructure, such as high-speed internet and printing. But unlike serviced offices, at coworking spaces the value of working alongside others has top priority.
Will Bennis, the owner of Locus Workspace, said: “Many of us—myself included—love the idea of working for ourselves and on our own terms. But it also has challenges. Working alone can be socially isolating, and it takes great discipline to stay focused and productive. If you’re at home with a partner or family, you’re stuck with the challenge of keeping personal and work life separate. This is partly why so many freelancers work from cafés, which pose their own problems. The Internet can be unreliable. Places to sit or outlets are limited. There’s a sense of uncertainty about whether you’ve overstayed your welcome or should order something else. And it’s not a professional work environment (no printer, no storage, no comfortable office chair). But the biggest sacrifice solo-workers make is social: the colleagues and shared knowledge that comes for free in a traditional office largely
Locus’s success stems from its emphasis on providing an environment to resolve such issues and bring out one’s best work. Bennis explains: “Networking, events and community are wonderful and come with a well-run coworking space, but for Locus they’re the means to doing better work, not an end in themselves. Our events are chosen to enhance our members’ work satisfaction. Networking and collaboration go on every day, but it tends to be more authentic and helpful than what you’d get from a traditional networking event: we collaborate and share contacts because we work alongside one another and are colleagues or friends.”
A second reason for Locus’s success may be its international community. While, not surprisingly, most of Locus’s members are Czech (30%), the other 70% of members come from nearly 20 different countries. The language of the space is English. Czech members benefit from access to a diverse international community, while the expatriate members benefit from almost instant access to the knowledge and experience it takes to live, work and do business in the Czech Republic.
Bennis, a research psychologist and entrepreneur based in Prague, set up his first coworking space on Krakovská Street in 2010. Last year, the growing success of this venture prompted him to look for more space, which he found in Vinohrady. He knew it was the right place for expanding.
“It's a lovely and unique new space that was designed by architects, who used it as their studio,” Bennis explained. “Unlike our existing premises, which are cosier with smaller, semi-separated work spaces, the Vinohrady space is open-plan. Members can choose the style that best fits them or can choose the location that’s most convenient to where they live or need to meet clients.” Each location is a short walk from tram stops and a centrally located metro station (Muzeum or Můstek, and Jiřího z Poděbrad, respectively).
For Bennis, opening the two coworking spaces helps fulfil his hope to have both a successful business and to do something that benefits others. “As a psychologist, I love the idea of coworking because it offers the best of two conflicting human needs. On the one hand, it’s promotes the freedom that comes with working successfully on your own. On the other hand it helps build the social relationships we all need to be happy in life and successful in work.”
Established in 2010, Locus Workspace (http://www.locusworkspace.cz/) is a coworking space with a current membership of around 70. Each space has between 30 and 35 workspaces and a meeting room as well as professional office equipment. Locus Workspace also works closely with other coworking spaces in Prague (see www.coworkingvpraze.cz) to help build relationships between independent workers throughout the city.
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