Coworking spaces are flourishing everywhere in Brussels and Wallonia, RTBF reports.
While initially the idea of coworking spaces was to allow the self-employed and entrepreneurs to work in less isolation, with soaring energy prices, some people using these spaces area also doing so to save on their bills.
This is the case, for example, of Barbara Malengreaux. A press officer by profession, she has been working for six months in the open plan offices of Cowork'Ittre. Every day, she meets other, often self-employed, workers and the interaction helps her to maintain the social contact she needs and means the end of the isolation she experienced through teleworking.
But in the context of soaring energy prices, she also believes that working in a coworking space will allow her to save on gas and electricity bills.
Shorter commutes mean savings at the pump
It also means that she avoids long car journeys from her home Soignies to Brussels, which means substantial savings on her fuel bills.
"I live in a single-family home,” she explains. “During the health crisis, I had to run the heating for whole days, especially when it was cold. My consumption has literally exploded. The impact has been huge on my gas bills but, since I've been working here at Cowork'Ittre, I see the difference."
Barbara Malengreaux points out a second advantage: "The other advantage of this coworking space is that I can organise my meetings by videoconference with excellent quality, which allows me to limit my travel by car to Brussels. Compared to the cost of fuel, using this space is very advantageous."
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Axelle van Eyll founded the Cowork'Ittre space just a year ago and it has proved to be successful in a shorter time frame than she first thought. She agrees that energy prices are part of the equation for freelancers who choose coworking.
"Heating or lighting a house for one person for a whole day," she summarizes, "is extremely expensive, whereas when you come to work in a coworking space, you clearly pool the cost of energy."
But of course, saving on energy bills are not the main reason more and more people are moving into coworking spaces. What they are generally looking for in this formula is a shared work environment, social connection, personal exchanges, and the chance to integrate into a small local community. But if coworking allows them to save on energy bills at home, they will certainly not complain.