Yoko Inoue

People with a Passion: Yoko Inoue

I was once a journalist for a Japanese newspaper. In 2015, I was a foreign correspondent in Washington D.C. Very exciting days, but then, I found out that I was pregnant.

My Danish husband insisted to move to work-life-balance heaven—Denmark. While it was quite a leap for me, I could not beat the idea as a soon-to-be new mom.

Yoko Inoue

After 2.5-years maternity leave, I eventually had to decide whether I would return to Japan. Well… I was spoiled already! We decided to remain here, but that meant that I would have to start my life all over again. In a new place, in my 40s.

How would I do that?

November last year, in the beginning of the dark, long winter, I started my little journey to find a place to stay during the daytime. I realized that staying home all day long, not talking to anyone, just being struck by the harsh reality, was driving me crazy.

After realizing that a co-working space might be an option, I started to explore several places in Copenhagen. There were, in fact, many places to choose from.

On the very first day I came to Republikken, it was obvious that this place was run with friendship-like trust. Staff called members by their names, and people left computers at their desks without hesitation. Coziness prevailed.

The decisive factor was that I came up with the idea of writing articles on my not-so-perfect Danish life for a Japanese magazine. The moment I opened my MacBook, I started to focus, and ideas started to flow! I believe that it is crucial, especially for those who engage in creative work, to believe that you and your work place has a “good fit”, so that good ideas can come to you.

Later, I learned that Republikken opened in 2005, which makes them the oldest co-working space in Copenhagen. It started from 800 square meters with 20 members, and now has 3000 square meters spread across 3 floors, with 170 members. There are people who stop by on a daily basis, or use only the meeting rooms, so all in all, there are actually 500–600 people here each month.

Coworking at Republikken

As the number of freelancers and small businesses has increased significantly world-wide, co-working spaces are becoming more and more popular. In Copenhagen, there are new co-working spaces almost every month, but Emil Steglich-Petersen, CEO of Republikken, has an optimistic outlook.

Our main value is the ability to connect people. You can copy furniture, internet, e.T.C., but personal relationship is something really hard to copy. If you can maintain the network without the space, it is a good co-working space.

Emil Steglich-Petersen

Soon after I started to go to Republikken every morning, my days began to have a rhythm, and became more structured. And just watching the same faces every day and saying hello while making coffee improved my mood significantly.

I started to write a column regularly for a magazine, and when I (finally, in 2019) joined Twitter to announce my articles, I received lots of good advice from members at Republikken. Using one’s expertise to help each other is common here, and it makes me feel like I am in the right place.

Now almost 5 months has past, and I know more about the people here. It is simply a nice feeling that you are surrounded by cool people every day, isn’t it? Just let me pretend that I am one of the cool ones…