Why Co-working Spaces Are The Perfect Remote Workplace
In each of the locations we visit, our tribe members are invited to some of the best co-working spaces in the world. Tiff Ng explains why that’s important.
I never intended to become a digital nomad after completing the Nomad MBA. I honestly believed that this would be a sabbatical from my stable, predictable job in advertising agencies. I was never one of those people who was productive at home. I shuddered at the thought of the freelancer hustle. I couldn’t see myself being able to flourish in such a lifestyle.
But that is just the thing: the life of a digital nomad can look very different to different people. The predictable image of working on the beach or being paid to travel from mountaintop to mountaintop is but a very small part of what can be achieved when working remotely.
“At its core, working remotely allows you to choose the environment in which you work best, without the restrictions of the 9-to-5 hours or the four walls of an office. And spending time in co-working spaces helped me realise that”
A space for anyone at anytime
Traditional offices are already understanding that spaces need to be updated towards the ways of work. Cubicles made way for open-plan offices, and then to hot-desking. Working from anywhere seems like a natural step in this progression.
But more than that, co-working spaces encompass the flexibility of what that might look like. Want to sit at a shared desk? They’ve got that. Want to sit on a couch? They’ve got that too. Outside, in a small room, in a hammock or even by the pool? Yes, yes, yes and yes!
Co-working spaces - like WeWork - have prided themselves on creating innovative designs specifically for this reason. As Creative Director, Devin Vermeulen says, “Throughout your day, depending on what you need, you have a place to go. It is not static. You can move through the space and the different energy zones to get what you need.”
The right sort of facilities
Co-working spaces are all about bringing the comfort of a living room to a space that can foster productivity and creativity. Queue coaches and standing desks and beanbags and even the odd hammock. Being comfortable in your workplace has proven links to increased productivity in the workplace.
But as digital nomads, what particularly sets a co-working space apart from any other setup at home or in a cafe is sometimes just the basics. It’s not just about settling down on a beach with your laptop. In fact, that’s one of the most unhelpful spots. The sun glares too much for me to see my laptop; my devices can easily overheat, there’s rarely any accessible power outlets and I’d rather just relax on a beach than bring my work to such a space.
You can count on co-working spaces to have reliable services: Skype booths so you’re not sitting on top of a laundry machine because it’s the only place in your hostel that has good internet and the music isn’t blasting; cafe-quality coffee without the guilt of spending the whole day in a cafe; and oftentimes the best wifi in the area.
An inbuilt community
One of the most inspiring things I found in co-working spaces was the community there. Upon arriving at our destination on The Nomad MBA, I was immediately enamoured by the people I saw there. For me, they embodied the pinnacle of what working remotely is - comfortable, individual, productive and diverse. I was able to realise the potential of this lifestyle, and moreover, the potential I had to pursue it.
While it is amazing to have a tribe of people navigating this new space with The Nomad MBA, it’s another thing to see the people on the other side of that. From freelancers or remote workers to entrepreneurs and creators, this was the cool group you wanted to be a part of.
Your invite to the crew
And that was the clincher of co-working spaces. These members seemed like they were all living their best life; but you had a VIP ticket to join them and learn how to be a part of them.
“From workshops to masterminds to skillshares and social events, this was a community of diverse and passionate people who were designing a life of their choosing. It was hard to not be inspired by them, and moreover, want to join every workshop possible to learn just how to be one of them”
It started from the very beginning, at the New Members’ Breakfast I attended at my first co-working space in Bali. Sure, we went around the with the usual icebreaker game of who you were, what you did and where you’re from. But even in three simple questions, I couldn’t believe the diversity of people sat around the table, the careers they were building that had seemed so out of the question for me previously.
Drop-shipping? A one-man consultancy business? It seemed like a whole new world. But with the warmth of a sunny smile and the clinking of our fresh coconuts, this was only to be the beginning of my digital nomad journey.
Finding the best of both worlds
While I may have drunk the Kool-aid on working remotely and specifically, from co-working spaces, it’s not to say that I don’t miss some things from a traditional office job. I miss the Friday night drinks or the water cooler chats. I still like the idea of separating my workspace from a work-from-home situation.
“Co-working spaces bridge the gap between what we’ve come to know and love about an office with a space that pushed me further to be creative and productive in the way that working remotely allows me; on my own terms”
It’s what makes these spaces both a reliable space for the seasoned digital nomad and a comfortable transition for those just starting out. It’s where I was able to discover of the extent of what a digital nomad life could be, and inspired me to pursue my own. And it’s where you might just find your own best way to work.
Want to know more about Tiff’s digital nomad journey? Click here to read more.