When Jordi and I started fantasizing about starting our own business, we immediately agreed that we would use as many services as needed to make our lives easier. We took the idea as far as having an office as a service.
Coworking Space – Office as a service
In the first couple of weeks of Nelmio’s existence we worked from the lounge of the physics department at the ETHZ, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. Neither of us ever attended this school, but the ETHZ offers free WiFi to whomever has a VPN. We got ourselves a SwissVPN account and basically had a free office. We really liked it there. But within a week’s time, basic office material started to be missing: a Printer to send out invoices, a coffee machine or fridge, and the fact that we could not leave our stuff on site.
We started to look for an office. Knowing that we will hire 2 or 3 people over the next year made us look for an office space big enough for 5 people. We also wanted to find a place close enough to the city center that didn’t look too shabby. And as you might know, Zürich has a serious housing problem. Rents in the center are about as high as in Paris or New York.
This is when we heard of Zurich’s Citizen Space, a coworking space right in the city center. Think of it as an office as service: you just pay for the space you use. In the first 2 weeks I started by myself with a big desk & sofa. I mostly work on my sofa due to back problems. Jordi joined 2 weeks later using a somewhat smaller space, as he does not need the sofa. In August we will have our first employee starting and that’s not a problem. If we need more space, we just allocate more and pay for it. It’s basically a scalable office.
Like with any service, we end up paying a bit more than the pure rent of the space we use. It is also more than likely that one day we will move to our own office. But in the meantime we can use all of the infrastructure the Citizen Space has to offer. We have a cutting plotter, which I used to make stickers for my bike and computer. We have the best color laser printer on the market, an internet connection, a coffee machine, and a rooftop terrace for parties. Last tuesday we were able to host the monthly JSZürich meetup here and all of the attendees loved the place. It really looks cool. Plus: it is always clean. Can you imagine how much time we save by not having to clean up the office kitchen and not having to go out to buy coffee and toner and toilet paper? The recycling bin magically empties itself every week. And we can concentrate on what we do best: writing scalable web applications for our clients.
Coworking Space – Networking
Scalable infrastructure is not all we get! Since we moved in here, we got to know a bunch of interesting people. We even trade services with them. For example: We traded some IT support time for a design of our letter paper with Jürg Rohner, the man behind the Citizen Space. There are two photographers, an architect, several designers, an iOS developer, social media people, and many more. Wonderful people that we might one day work with in one way or another.
Coworking Space Basel Looking for People
Coworking Spaces start to pop up everywhere in Switzerland. In addition to the Citizen Space in Zürich, there is La Muse in Geneva, and Eclau in Lausanne. And now Cyon is trying to start a Coworking Space in Basel. So, if you are in Basel and looking for an office space for one or two people, leave a comment on their blog.