Qworkingo was founded by Igor Georgioski and Nikola Brdaroski, software engineers, and for the last 2 years entrepreneurs and owners of Qworkingo – Coworking space Bitola and Qodix – a company for software development and consulting services.
The first co-working and business center in Bitola that provides a creative and peaceful place to work with 24/7 access and with 70 unique visitors from 6 different countries in the first year, which is proof that Bitola needed such a space.
How did you come up with the idea to open a co-working space?
The initial calculations, questions to accountants, and sketches for opening a coworking space date back to about 3 years ago. In that period, serious foreign IT companies began to enter Bitola, when the concept of working from home was still new for a large part of our companies.
At the height of the pandemic when almost all of us learned the term “work from home”, there came a point where we realized that it doesn’t work quite so perfectly because of all the “thieves” of our attention (parents, roommates, partners or the delicious food in the kitchen). We tried working in a restaurant several times and immediately realized that it was much worse than at home. We made sure on the spot that the coworking space should not be like a restaurant where gigs are organized or people come just to spend time.
We knew that working from home was interesting, but working with like-minded people is more fun and productive. We had a short meeting and decided what we had been planning for years in 10 minutes – if we have this problem, then surely others who work from home have it too. However, it was not that simple – we opened a company with our personal savings at a time when all companies were closing. After more than a year, we realized that we made the right step.
By opening a startup company, we set ourselves a mission to help other startups, freelancers, groups, or individuals like us to have a quiet place to work, be productive and focus on their goals.
What does your co-working space offer?
Above all, we offer a peaceful and quiet place to work, where sitting on ergonomic office chairs and desks you will enjoy drinking your favorite coffee or tea in a productive atmosphere. When you have a meeting, we have set up a silent booth that can accommodate up to 4 people, and online meetings will be a pleasant experience thanks to the optical internet. In the upper part of the space, there is a kitchen, a refrigerator, and a place for rest and lunch with chairs and bean bags.
As part of our idea to grow into a hub, we also provided a 3D printer as well as the most important thing when you want to enter the IT or entrepreneurial waters – our experience and advice. When a person becomes part of our community, everything inside Qworkingo is available for everyone to use, fully included in the price.
We have only one requirement – that you download and register on our mobile app https://app.oas.qodix.dev/ as it is your key to enter the coworking space. With the registration itself, you get a free test period of 4 hours – just to get to know each other, and then you can contact us to buy more hours.
Our users can be members from all professions, freelancers, startups, and companies with a hybrid work model, digital nomads, students, and anyone who needs a quiet place to work. The space is planned so that the users do not disturb each other, but still, at the end of the day, there is networking.
What are the benefits of using this kind of space?
If you are a freelancer or a small company, the biggest benefit if you use the services of Qworkingo is that you don’t waste time looking for and renting an office, paying bills, buying equipment, repairs, etc. Automatically by us taking on those responsibilities, you have the opportunity to be more creative and productive, to have a better balance with your private life and your work in which you will be more motivated to work because you will be surrounded by like-minded and hard-working people just like you
Another benefit is networking through which you have the opportunity to find new employees, find a job or meet potential clients. We have already seen the last benefit in Qodix, where our biggest partnership came from a user of our coworking space.
Is there interest in N. Macedonia for using co-working spaces?
I hope that one day we will see some statistics on this issue at the level of the entire country, and until then I can only express our position on Bitola – the answer is yes. It turned out that opening a coworking space of this type is a real hit. The very fact that in a co-working space you pay 6000 denars per month with which you do not have any additional expenses (not even for coffee), and the current rent prices are at least 5000 denars for a small office, not including the overhead costs that are increasing daily.
We noticed the greatest interest among tourists who visited us from 6 different countries, starting from neighboring Serbia and all the way to England, while from a local point of view we have an agreement with two companies that chose Qworkingo to be the place from where their employees will work in Bitola.
In which direction do you want your co-working space to develop?
From the very beginning of the opening, we have only one goal – to become a hub where hackathons, conferences, start-up programs, and investment projects will be held. At the current rate, we see a need to increase our capacity in the next 2 years.
Do you have a strategy for the next 5-10 years?
We assume that the traditional model of the office as we knew it until 3 years ago will be erased in the next 10 years and we see that even now a large number of companies use a hybrid model. However, the is used to function in a community, even if it was just for an exchange of opinions.
Our goal in the next 5 years is to expand the existing capacities from 15 to 50 places, and with that, sign contracts with at least 3 more companies, and organize a conference and a hackathon, which we hope will grow into a tradition.
What is your opinion about remote jobs?
Perhaps the best work model is the hybrid one for the simple reason that it gives you the flexibility of the location from which you will work, which in turn leads to increased productivity, but at the same time eliminates some of the negatives of constant remote work, which is the feeling that we don’t know when work is enough, we don’t share a private life from work, loneliness, staying motivated and obstacles about work that we have at home.
What are the most interesting profiles of freelancers/companies that use your coworking space?
Mostly, our users are from the software industry. In terms of who came to Qworkingo, we have had freelancers, photographers, directors, content writers, people who work in customer care, CEOs, and CTOs of various companies who came to visit Bitola and needed a quiet place to work.
How do you keep freelancers interested and what events do you host at your place? Share with us some interesting examples/events that have taken place or will take place in your co-working space.
In the first year of our existence, we organized 14 events, from which I can single out our most popular event, which we hold two years in a row as a part of the “Global Entrepreneurship Week”, as well as technical events (Google Hash Code Hub), technology lectures and for the first time we organized a Secret Santa for the Qworking Community for all those whose colleagues are far from them.
What pricing model do you use and what is your policy?
Do you collaborate with another space like yours, in the country and abroad?
In our country, we are facing quite a big problem – the minority of businesses are seen as competing with each other instead of helping each other. We are witnesses to constant stealing of ideas, events, and customers, i.e. in some way everyone is trying to grab more of the cake which in Bitola is at positive zero in terms of profit – and this is not a fact that should surprise us, knowing that more than 65% of coworking spaces worldwide are unprofitable.
Taking into account the facts from above and considering that there is no other co-working space of this type in Bitola, the opportunities for collaboration are more with IT companies and organizations such as Impact foundation and Startup Macedonia.
However, when any of the tourists from Bitola go to Ohrid or Tetovo, we highly recommend the coworking spaces there.