Coworking space at the Al Schoul cultural centre in Schieren; Credit: Thillens & Thillens architecture

On Thursday 3 August 2023, Luxembourg's Ministry of Public Service unveiled details of the first coworking space for civil servants here.

Luxembourg's Minister for the Civil Service, Marc Hansen, and the mayor of the municipality of Schieren, Eric Thill, presented details of this coworking space pilot project at a press conference. This space will be available from December 2023 in the renovated “Al Schoul” cultural centre in Schieren and will initially be available to officials from the Ministry of Public Service, the Ministry of Digitalisation and their attached entities.

Coworking is a modern method of organising work in which a defined workspace is shared between workers who are not necessarily from the same department or organisation. These spaces bring the workplace closer to the worker's home to provide them with many advantages, in order to improve their quality of life.

While this concept is already more widespread in the private sector, until now there has been no comparable structure for employees of the state.

The advantages of coworking are multiple and play an important role in worker motivation. Beyond saving time by avoiding travel, coworking spaces facilitate direct exchanges, networking, cooperation and creativity between workers. The coworking concept is also to be considered as an alternative to teleworking because, for a wide variety of reasons, some workers prefer to go to a shared office near their home instead of working alone at home. Establishing coworking spaces is also an element of sustainable development and actively contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The more active development of the concept of coworking was proclaimed during Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's State of the Nation speech on 12 October 2021. Preliminary surveys, in order to study the receptivity of this new form of work, were announced, following the conclusions of an inter-ministerial working group on the "Limitation of mobility needs" for the year 2020. The survey carried out in 2022 by the Ministry of the Civil Service confirmed that 76% of administration managers see an advantage for public officials in the occasional practice of decentralised work.

The pilot project launched by the Ministry of the Public Service and the municipality of Schieren consists of the development of an area of approximately 200 m2 into a modern coworking space in which 22 workstations can be made available. The location of the “Al Schoul” cultural centre lends itself particularly well to this activity as it is a short walk from Schieren train station and the RGTR bus stop. Accessibility by car is also convenient, as the centre of Schieren is close to two Nordstrooss N7 interchanges. The centre of the municipality of Schieren is ideally connected to the network of cycle paths, both coming from the north of the “Nordstad” region and coming from the south of the Mersch or Boevange-Attert region.

An analysis of the journeys of the agents of the ministries and administrations concerned by the pilot project showed that among the total of 833 agents, 170 agents would have an advantage of going to Schieren rather than to Luxembourg-city. Considering only the distance from the workplace, they would save on average more than 30 minutes per day, regardless of traffic.

The pilot project may be extended to other ministries and administrations and will initially be carried out over a period of 2 years.