27 February of 2014
by Carina Bohlender & Manon Eekelder
Me, foreigner Carina, carrying a non-Apple laptop to the hippest working environment I can think of – the coworking space MESH in Oslo. That’s how it started. My overall experience? Here you go:
Indeed, monday mornings could be worse
To be honest, my own mindset made me feel a bit queasy about the whole project in the beginning. Would I eventually manage to socialize with my new colleagues? Surrounded by black-painted concrete walls I took the stairs up to my coworking adventure: MESH, founded 2 years ago as the first collaborative working space in Oslo by Kriszti Toth, Anders Mjaset and Audun Ueland. It’s popularity has grown quickly, now 75 companies, start-ups and freelancers have a MESH membership. My first stop was the monday morning breakfast ritual. In other words: coffee, breakfast and an opportunity to socialize! I especially enjoyed the last part, because I got involved in conversations effortlessly in no time. What a relief!
About meeting inspiring people
One of the welcoming persons I met was Elin, an intern at a start-up called GAIA. She fulfilled my idea of a typical coworker: very social, very motivated and very enthusiastic. “It is an insane place to be” she said, and I had no doubt that these words were nothing else but her truth about MESH. When I was chatting with her, I realized that coworking is all about the community and helping each other out. For GAIA’s new logo, she just went over to a graphic designers desk, who invested time in doing her the favour. She also invited me to join MESH for the next party. Yeah, I am in!
Off to duty!
My feelings so far: I got meshed within the community – about 70 percent start-ups and 30 percent creative individuals – before I even plugged in my laptop. My next step: off to duty and conquer one of the 50 desks! The coworking area turned out to be a calm place to work. No hectical buzzing around at all. No disturbance of my genius thoughts. Bringing them to paper is always the hard part though, isn’t it? Uhm, colleagues… anybody up for advise and feedback? I decided better not to harass my coworking colleagues with journalistic issues. I had the guts to ask for a pen though. As I thought about how things went this morning, I was wondering if MESH was as spotlessly amazing as I had experienced it so far. So I started to dig a bit deeper. “There is always so much going on, that you might get distracted easily. That’s the only downside”, a young founder of a start-up revealed.
As Oslo is one of the worlds most expensive cities, I was stunned about the low price policy of MESH. To be more specific: For the equivalent of 25 pints in a norwegian pub you get a monthly membership, which gives you 24/7 access to a flexible desk and the shared activities of a coworking space. Cut down on the beers and get a MESH membership instead, then? It’s not quite as easy as that – even the coolest and most friendly working environment needs restrictions. You have – kind of – to apply for a membership. MESH wants to keep its members diverse so that everybody can contribute something to the community. Another requirement: Show some freaking passion! If your are not totally into what you are doing, a coworking space isn’t the right thing for you, i think.
A question of personality
After I experienced MESH, I came to the conclusion that these energetic and inspiring places have great potential. The outcome depends on what you want to achieve in professional life. If you like structure and security, find a job in a more traditional company. If you want to do your own thing and are up to contributing your skills to the community, a coworking space will offer you a great environment to prosper with your ideas.
You have missed out on my Coworking Experience video? Check it out here: GETTING MESHED: Reality Check.