Gosia Kramer (The Office): In praise of effervescence
Interview with Gosia Kramer, founder of "The Office", after spending 8 years in finance.
What is The Office all about?
The concept of The Office Luxembourg is very simple: we turned an old engineering hangar into an extraordinary co-working space. It’s beautiful: a raw, industrial space which will never be com-pletely finished. We were bored by the kind of places where you close yourself off in perfectly air-conditioned aquariums, looking at people behind shiny glass walls. The Office offers a real energy boost - the place and its people are inspiring. It’s all about receiving advice and encouragement and being ready to do the same for the others.
Do you think that the co-working concept can work in Luxembourg?
Co-working spaces attract people who want to change the existing status quo. In that respect, Luxembourg is a market which is just asking to be disrupted - starting with its traditional finance sector, where FinTech startups are already having their say. Next in line is the property
market, a sector which has mostly been unaffected by innovation and in which deals are still made through personal connections. I see startups with a more social impact influencing the economy, on both a national and global scale. Freelancers who are used to working from home have an undiscovered potential; I’m amazed at how well they’re doing already, at how they’re contributing to the development of startups and at what they’re achieving together. What all of these people have in common is that they want to work in a new way.
As a result, they need a space which enables interaction and collaboration between free-lancers, people who are just taking their first steps in working out their idea and more mature startups.
Is that something which The Office offers?
It provides an opportunity to build and contribute to the community. The Office is a startup itself. The first members of The Office came along when renovation works were still ongoing, insisting that they wanted to join us on this journey. They’ve been with us through thick and thin. They’ve seen me feeling devastated, in unexpected circumstances, before I stood up and fought back to find a solution. They’ve applauded our first successes and have witnessed all our little milestones.
The community spirit is clear in everyday interactions between members - for example, at our regular breakfast sessions where we discuss, support and advise each other, offering practical help.
We now take that even further by offering drinks and snacks (with lunch soon to be available, too) in our integrated café which is already being visited by neighbouring companies, thereby enlarging the community and ensuring more interaction and discussion with our members.
« Co-working spaces attract people who want to change
the existing status quo. »
What are your next steps?
We are identifying gaps in the market - a lack of IT specialists, for example. There is a growing need for young, new generation IT professionals: web developers, app builders, new technology developers.
We’ll try to solve this by co-operating with various co-working spaces around the globe. I would love regular videoconferences between The Office co-workers and people in similar spaces in the USA, Baltic and Eastern European countries, Israel, etc., to become the new norm. Luxembourg needs real people working on concrete projects.
I also plan to make The Office the place to find solutions, so that any company or business owner can walk in here, say that they need help to develop their project and immediately find talented and motivated people.