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Guest Writer
July 28, 2016

A plea for more connection in the workplace

Happy Thursday! Today we're introducing our very first guest blog, written by Tom Laterveer & Hagar Michel from Animo. Animo is a Berlin-based organizational happiness and teamwork firm that facilitates, trains and consults companies in building an organization people love to work for.

Most of us spend more time at the office than anywhere else. There is no activity we spend more time on than working (besides maybe sleeping) — meaning that during their careers, most people see more of their colleagues than of their partners, friends and children combined.

And yet, when we speak to clients on how to make the most out of their offsite, they invariably tell us that one of their most important goals for the team is to get to know each other better.


Spending time does not equal good relationships

How can it be that people who spend so much time together still feel the need to go out to a remote location to get to know each other? The answer is simple: not the quantity of time spent together counts, but the quality of it. And that quality is usually much lower than it needs to be.


"not the quantity of time spent together counts, but the quality of it."


The harsh truth is that offices worldwide are ridden with people who are clueless to what is going on in the hearts and minds of their direct co-workers. What really matters to your co-worker? What are her hopes, her dreams, and her fears? What does she need, right now, to feel okay and have a good day? Most people haven’t got a clue, even if they’ve spent hundreds of hours talking to each other. Besides this dynamic being sad and unnecessary, we argue that it is amongst the biggest hurdles for organizational performance in today’s workplace.


"The harsh truth is that offices worldwide are ridden with people who are clueless to what is going on in the hearts and minds of their direct co-workers."


Teams whose members spend a considerable amount of time playing ‘hide and seek’ quickly become disconnected, disengaged and ultimately dysfunctional. They form a culture where ‘keeping up appearances’ becomes more important than getting good work done — driving fear of failure, perfectionism and ego-centric behaviour. Tensions build up, internal competition goes up, and cooperation and company goals move to the background.

Though some may argue that in some teams disconnection and internal competition may actually fuel performance (think of a sales team where its members work independently in different locations with hard sales-targets), the reality is that this dynamic is killing for 99% of the teams. In a time where innovation and networking matters more than ever before, knowing how to stay connected in a human way has become one of the most valuable workplace skills.

‍Photo by Dominik Tryba


"Feeling connected to your fellow humans even makes you physically and psychologically healthier."

The benefits of connection

Studies show that connected teams outperform their competitors in all important areas: productivity, motivation, commitment, organizational citizenship, engagement, innovation and effectiveness. If you’ve ever worked in an engaged, well-connected team, you know this. If you’ve worked in a toxic, disconnected team, you know it too.

Feeling connected to your fellow humans even makes you physically and psychologically healthier. Studies show that your cognitive functions work better, it’s easier to learn new things, and your creativity and judgement in complex issues improves significantly.

Kindergarten skills

It is no wonder the ‘no asshole rule’ has been making so much waves in organizations lately. Recruitment is briefed to ‘hire for attitude, and train for skill’, and queries new candidates for their ‘kindergarten skills’— the ability to share, care for others and work with others in a peaceful, energizing way.


Wondering how to create a surrounding where these kindergarten skills can flourish? Got inspired to create more connection in your workplace? Here's Hagar & Tom’s next insightful article ‘Five ways to create more connection in the workplace’.

Make your first step in coworking today! Here you can find out more about how to do that in betahaus.

Some office spaces have a one-size-fits-all approach, but that's not really our style. The reason no two betahaus locations look the same is because they’re locally designed. And we give our Team Space members this same opportunity to customize their space.

Choose a room with a view of the city or one on the ground floor with easy access to the garden. Change the lighting fixture or bring your own bookshelf. We want teams to be able to white label, decorate, and really make the space their own if they want to.

And if you’re really looking to customize, Team HQs allow teams to collaborate with our architects and coworking team to create a space that is completely bespoke. Whether it’s additional meeting rooms, unconventional seating, or a yoga room, we apply our 10 years of experience in building functional workspace to your creative vision to create something that’s just right.

Probably the biggest benefit of coworking is community and events. Now we know it may not be the first thing you’re looking for as you seek out your next office space, but bear with us.

Imagine using your lunch breaks to chat with someone in your industry. Meeting freelance developers at after-work beers. Networking with investors at BETAPITCH. Pitching at our weekly betabreakfast and getting support and feedback on your new ideas.

betahaus has spent the last 10 years cultivating a community of people who we genuinely like working with. And when you join, your team will become a part of it, too.

" People matter! Community was always what we were all about. ‘’

In June we launched #PeopleInbeta - our monthly blog post series in which our Content Manager - Vihra interviewed teams and freelancers from the betahaus community to present the variety of creatives we have in ‘haus, to understand their missions and get some useful advice for our audience. We talked on topics such as sustainability (with PlanA) , decentralized digital identity (with JOLOCOM), curated music experiences (with Bespoke Sounds), freelance photography (with Sara Herrlander), full-stack development (with Obst Digital), design (with LAUDO) and much more.

Interview with LAUDO at betahaus | Neukölln
Interview with Obst.Digital at betahaus | Neukölln

"The Summer is the best time to host Backyard sessions and BBQ’s’’

In the summer, we launched a couple of new events in Neukölln like Freelancers, Unite!, The Backyard Sessions and My friend’s BBQ. 

Freelancers, Unite! developed as our productive coworking session with freelancers from in and outside the ‘haus. Once a month, we picked an important freelance topic (such as taxes, time-management, etc) and invited experts to give us insights on the topic. We saw so many new faces and had the chance to come back closer to where we started from - the freelance, grassroots culture. 

Freelancers, Unite! at betahaus | Neukölln

Another event, which started in July (and turned out to be our favourite events) were The Backyard Sessions. Organised by our queen of Neukölln - Robbin – the Backyard Sessions are our creative evenings with live music jams, movie screenings and cocktails. 

The Backyard Sessions at basement.berlin
Movie Screening at basement.berlin

This last event was hilarious because for quite some time, nobody knew exactly who organised it or invited them. The friend was throwing a BBQ for the community in the garden and this led to all our members joining and staying after for a beer or two with us.

‘’My favourite moment this year was the second friends bbq which was actually cancelled because of the rain forecast. But despite the bad weather, people show up and it turned into a super nice intimate evening with Elizaveta and Paul giving a garden concert.’’ - Robbin (Community Manager, betahaus)

''In July, it was great how the casual after-work BBQ turned into an impromptu acoustic blues jam session with Elizavetta Barsegova and Paul, who have the voice of an angel. Actually, all of the My Friend's BBQ's and Backyard Sessions were AWESOME.’’
- Paige (Head of Marketing, betahaus) 

The Garden at betahaus | Neukölln
My Friend's BBQ at betahaus | Neukölln

"As a coworking space, you have to give stage to important topics.’’

This year we released a new event format in Kreuzberg called ‘’The betaSalon’’. It's an open panel discussion which aims to give stage to important topics and give free speech on them. The fist one we did on the EU elections, last month we talked about changemakers, but our favourite one for this season stays ‘’Mother + Founder’’ where we partnered with FemGems podcast and recorded a live podcast episode for them having Madeleine Gummer von Mohl (betahaus co-founder), Kristine Zeller (co-creater of ooshi period underwear) and Luisa Hoffman on the stage.

betaSalon at betahaus | Kreuzberg

"We should fight for a more human-centered tech development’’

Every September, our co-founders take part in the Techfestival. in Copenhagen, spending a few days disconnecting from the daily life and focusing on creating a better, more human-centered tech future. This year the think tank which included our co-founders Madeleine and Max came up with the TechPledge. The Tech Pledge was made to emphasize the need for a new direction in tech. Similar to the Hippocratic oath for doctors, the Tech Pledge is a promise to make tech a force for good and ensure responsible and sustainable tech leadership. It’s a commitment to driving a new direction in technology.

Techfestival. 2019 in Copenhagen

"Startups are transforming European football as we know it.’’

One of the most exciting projects for betahausX this year (which is also continuing in 2020) is their new startup challenge called The Werder Lab - a global startup competition that aims to reimagine the way clubs like Werder work with athletes, fans and partners.

"You should leave time for the things you love most’’ 

This year couldn’t end without us having our favourite events - the end-of-the-year holiday party and the BETAPITCH Global Finals. On the 6th of December we saw the 9 finalists of the regional BETAPITCH competitions pitching in front of our jury. Congrats to Troy from Hamburg for winning the big prize.

We finished the year at our Holiday Party celebrating anything and everything at betahaus | Neukölln together with our members, friends of friends and our favourite artists from Passiflora LIVE, Tapete and Kotoe.

Love at The betahaus Holiday Party 2019

Thank you for being with us in 2019. It's been a crazy big year for us and it wouldn't been possible without your support, trust and the hard work of our amazing team. Have an amazing holiday time and we'll see you again in 2020.

With love,


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