A shared economy is the new thing in Barcelona

By Christina Hanson

Outside the Coffice. Photo: Elisabeth Ulla Uksnøy

A new trend has arrived in Barcelona – the shared economy. The average household income and the power of consumer purchasing has dropped, which means that more and more people living in Spain are forced to find additional ways to supplement their income. To get more value for money, two workspaces in the city of Barcelona offer the opportunity of a shared economy. 

With Coffice at Calle Manso in Barcelona, the owners Carole Touati and Axel Ruis offers the initiative of a mix between a coffee shop and an office. With inspiration from France, the Coffice offers a unique niche in a growing network of co-working spaces in the city. Here, the guests don’t have to pay for the coffees and the snacks they consume: instead they pay for the number of hours they spend at the Coffice. In this way, the guests are offered a chance to save money through the flexibility of renting a table on an hour to hour basis.

“You can come for one hour, two hours – You don’t feel attached to anything. Compared to renting an office for one or two months, where you have to pay every day and you feel oblige to go, the Coffice offers you the flexibility to come and go when you want – without any obligations”, Carole says.

Carole Touati and Axel Ruis started the Coffice together. Photo: private

At the Coffice, you get in touch with other people. Carole herself has been working from home for more periods, but in the end, she always ended up with a need to go out: “At home you don’t have any contact with other people and slowly you don’t get stimulated enough”.

The owners also use the Coffice as their workspace. Photo: Elisabeth Ulla Uksnøy

With costumers from all over the world, Carole and Axel believe that there is a need for places like this in Barcelona. Since it’s totally flexible how and when you want to use it, the Coffice has all kinds of costumers: “Today we have a yoga-educator, a baker, a poker-player and a programmer”, Carole explains laughing. “So, as you see, we have people from all kinds of sectors.

At the Coffice they also organize meetups, workshops and events. Usually they do a drawing event called “Wine and Draw”, but they also host start-up events, where people come and introduce their projects.

Shared kitchen

Chefs can rent a table in a kitchen at Coocció. Photo: Christina Hanson

Another place that offers the opportunity of a shared workplace is Coocció at Morales. Since individual entrepreneurs and freelancers sometimes struggle to create a profitable business base, the owners of Coocció offer the possibility of a shared workspace. With the aim to share the resources needed for start-up businesses and new entrepreneurs, Coocció offers a shared commercial kitchen space with the latest equipment for chefs, who needs a place to work or experiment with new recipes.

Like Coffice, Coocció is based on an hour-by-hour rent of a work table. In the shared kitchen, the chefs can prepare and store food for their restaurants, do special catering events or run their own delivery businesses. They can also record video-recipes, train their staff or experience with new menus or recipes.

It’s expensive to rent your own place Barcelona. Since most of the chefs taking advantage of the shared commercial kitchen work on demand, they can then minimise their costs. “Otherwise they would lose money”, the manager of the kitchen, Ariana Alejandra Otazo Rodriguez, says. “That is the idea of renting hours. If you don’t have work, you don’t work”.

The shared kitchen let you rent a workspace when you need it. Photo: Christina Hanson

According to Ariana, Barcelona has become an expensive city to live in. Even though she is married and has a job, she and her husband still have to share an apartment with two other people. “Most apartments cost around 1000€, and an average payment salary? is maybe around 900€”, Ariana explains. “So, you can kind of see the problem”.

At Coocció they try to help their customers as much as possible by offering in-house consultancy for start-up food businesses and by hosting different events, where their customers can throw tasting menus or promote their products.