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Tested: Flair visited us
Stuck in a traffic jam on the first Monday and school day of September? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Co-working around the corner, on the other hand, now that’s an idea. Editor Laura played guinea pig and tested out the Greenhouse co-working space in Antwerp. “Even the coffee is good here!”
There’s nothing quite as nice as rolling out of bed and sitting in your pyjamas behind your laptop for a whole day (any freelancers who deny ever having done that are lying through their teeth). But when I was asked to test out the Greenhouse co-working space in Antwerp about a five-minute bicycle ride from my front door, I couldn’t help but take the bait.
I have been cycling past the famous green façade of the Uitbreidingstraat in Berchem every morning and evening for almost three years and always wanted to know what was behind it. Time to find out!
MEETING IN STYLE
I was warmly welcomed by receptionist Shanti, who immediately called over hospitality manager Nils to give me a guided tour. Nils showed me the co-working space where a few young business people were sitting spread out at a long table engrossed by their laptops.
There were cosy sitting corners too, ideal for an informal meeting. When you mean business, you can use the particularly stylish and modern meeting rooms, where everything is provided, from drinks to technological gadgets.
There were also trendy “phone hoods” which your colleagues of the day are supposed to go and talk in so as not to disturb the others while on the phone, although during my day at Greenhouse, I noticed that few people stick to this rule.
EXERCISE WITHOUT PERSPIRING? BRING. IT. ON.
Before I started my day at Greenhouse, Nils emailed me asking if I might want to make use of the ironing service. That goes without saying! Once I’d dropped my basket of shirts off on the first floor, I went to the gym where I was met by personal trainer Thomas.
Before my arrival, Nils booked a 20-minute sports session with Fit20, a fitness company with the tagline “Fit in 20 minutes a week”. I didn’t need to change, and I was able to just get on one of the machines while still wearing my jeans. Thomas promised me that I would soon be sitting at my laptop again without being all sweaty, partly because of the low room temperature.
Secretly, I was a bit sceptical though. But a Fit20 work-out is anything but for sissies. For twenty minutes, I trained muscles that I didn’t even know I had. Thomas corrected me where necessary and was my very personal cheerleader when I felt like giving up. After six sets of exercises, I was trembling like jelly, and yet I felt surprisingly energetic. But above all, I wasn’t sweating. Had this sports hater found a work-out she actually liked for the first time in 28 years?
A Fit20 membership is not included in the fee you pay at Greenhouse for co-working there. A six-month Fit20 membership costs € 129.95 per month and for 12 months, it is € 119.95 per month.
WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?
After my short work-out, I spent a few hours behind my laptop and, in the process, I also tested out the coffee machine. To be honest, in view of the allure of Greenhouse, I would have expected a coffee bar with a barista, but the coffee here was anything but “brown water” and in fact was really rather good. What’s more, you can take a biscuit to go with it: extra points!
At the Greenhouse Café, as the restaurant here is called, it was busy but pleasant at lunchtime. The décor was once again exceptionally tasteful, with many wooden accents and plants that would not look out of place on Pinterest. The service was extremely friendly and above all, quick. That’s kind of important if you don’t have much time for your lunch break.
I only found dishes that I liked on the menu. From carpaccio of Norwegian salmon with grilled courgette to quinoa salad with mackerel and citrus fruits, it was clear that careful thought had been given to the dishes served here.
The fact that Greenhouse Café only uses fresh products was immediately noticeable in the prices. The soup of the day will cost you € 7,50. The Thai salad with steak and noodles costs € 21. I finally chose the quinoa salad with mackerel (€ 18,50) and homemade iced tea with ginger (€ 5). Delicious and more than a generous serving.
CO-WORKING: ANYTHING BUT LONELY OR ANTISOCIAL
After lunch, I went back to my laptop. The long table in the co-working area was now fuller. People’s outfits ranged from smart suits to jeans and a T-shirt.
Sitting here for the afternoon, I discovered that co-working is anything but lonely or antisocial. It’s a bit like the communal principle at Pain Quotidien: if you want to have a chat with the person next to you, you can. Prefer not to? No hard feelings.
After spending the day here, I totally understood why the concept of “co-working” is such a success. You have everything you need in a co-working space. A desk, a meeting room, food, drinks, an ironing service and even a gym. All you have to do is plug in your laptop and your day can begin. You know where to find us next Monday.
You will find Greenhouse in Mechelen and Berchem, and from 1 October, in Diegem as well. For a day pass, you will pay € 15. One month will cost you € 175. Surf to Greenhouse.be for more information.
You can read the article on flair.be here.