The coworks in Belgium are different from those in the rest of the world. The biggest lesson I learned was how minimum duration contracts impact a space. It’s common for coworks to offer daily, weekly, and monthly passes. I normally avoid the ones that require multi-month contracts, but this time curiosity got the better of me.
For starters, coworking offices in Belgium don’t care much for ergonomics. Instead of adjustable office chairs and standing desks, they focus on sparkling water machines and matching furniture. Prices are on the higher end costing around $375 (€300 excl VAT) for 24/7 access in an open space. Internet was never bad, but anything over 100Mbps was rare. Social life was the differentiator among them.
This is where the multi-month contracts come into play. Ergonomic seating, quality desks, and desktop monitors are priorities of a traveler that doesn’t trust “dedicated workspaces”. Sparkling water, beautifully designed areas, and social connections are priorities of those that already have such things within walking distance. Multi-month contracts are the way to separate the two.
We all know the downside of being a nomad is a lack of long-term connection. It’s no surprise when locking yourself into a contract it’s for the opposite. These long-duration spaces are something special because they help people develop something special. From the few places, I peaked into I saw friendships, people actively talking with others, and owners that were proud of their space.
The connections felt genuine and unique. They weren’t the upbeat hostel relationship, the laze about on the weekend kind, or even the stereotypical office friendships. Instead, the connections were mellow, like when a friend tags along to help with errands. Coworks are places people want to be and the ones were staying long term is mandatory - even more so.