The term ‘digital nomad’ has risen in popularity over recent years, spiking during the pandemic. Another term that is synonymous with this movement is ‘coworking offices’. Whether you’re familiar with these spaces, and possibly even worked in them, or you’re a newbie to the setup, a coworking space is a key consideration when working remotely.
A coworking office works in the same way as a normal workplace, only you share the space with workers from around the world, and from different companies. This introduces a unique dynamic that is more flexible and, in many instances, more productive.
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Why Use Coworking Offices?
Working remotely demands discipline and focus. This can be difficult to maintain when you’re working from your bed or coffee shop hopping. A coworking space allows for a dedicated area that you can tune in, focus, and get on the grind.
Coworking spaces are designed to inspire a productive attitude and have several benefits. These include the following;
- Building a community which is a major perk when working in an isolated fashion
- The flexibility of having a productive workspace available
- A fully-kitted office that doesn’t require a horde of items to set up
- The convenience of not having to maintain the space – simply arrive with your gear
What to Look for in a Coworking Space
Not all coworking spaces are created equal. This can be advantageous when you’re looking for something specific, but it can also leave you disappointed if you don’t do your research properly. There are a few details to look out for when choosing your coworking space.
This is a big one, especially if you need to communicate with team members around the world. Dipping in and out of a Zoom meeting is very unprofessional and can even cost you a contract. A stable internet connection that supports your needs is important.
The noise levels of a coworking space aren’t only determined by your fellow global co-workers, but also by the location of the office. We’ve had a few negative encounters where there has been construction happening next door, a busy road, and a lot of foot traffic. This can disrupt focus and become increasingly annoying over time.
Coffee and Perks
Different coworking spaces offer their own unique perks. A major selling factor is a good cup of java to keep you going when your energy wanes. Most coworking spaces offer free coffee to some degree, and others go a step ahead to sell snacks on site, host regular networking events, and even offer membership discounts for nearby gyms and coffee shops.
When working in a coworking space, it’s important to consider the people working around you. Nobody wants to know the logistical details building up to a launch, or listen in on your exit interview with a previous employer. The inclusion of a meeting booth (or room) is quite important. If not for your use, then for the noisy coworker that spends the majority of their day on calls.
Culture of the Coworkers
They say that you are the company that you keep, and this includes your neighbors at your coworking space. The culture of coworking spaces will differ from one another and this adds to the atmosphere.
We’ve walked into coworking spaces where everyone is barefoot, incense is burning and plants fill the room. We’ve also been in coworking spaces that have a PacMan machine for breaks and regular networking events. Decide on the culture that works for you, and ask the necessary questions to find out the sort of folk that the place attracts.
Proximity to Accommodation
We are big fans of coworking, coliving arrangements as you don’t have to spend time commuting from Point A to Point B. Ideally, your coworking space should be a short traveling distance from your home away from home. If not, then you should at least plan an easy route of commute and look out for public transport or rent a vehicle.
The Flexibility of Work Hours
Coworking spaces host individuals from around the world, with hours of productivity spanning across various time zones. This means that access to coworking spaces is normally quite flexible, but each location will have a different arrangement. Make sure that the coworking space is open during the hours that you need it to be.
Coworking spaces normally offer different membership plans to suit a variety of people’s needs. You can purchase a day pass, a set number of hours, and unlimited monthly membership. This adds to the convenience when you’re visiting a destination for both a short period of time as well as a longer period of time.
Etiquette of Coworking Spaces
Once you’ve decided on a coworking space and sign up as a member, it’s your responsibility to follow their rules and regulations. These will differ from one space to the next, but there are a few general rules to consider.
Some rules that are standard across the board include;
- Clean up after yourself and don’t leave a mess behind
- Keep your phone and devices on silent
- Bring your own supplies that you need for the session
- Be friendly to your fellow coworkers
- Consider the scents that you introduce into the coworking space – this includes cologne, food with strong odors, and smoke
- Don’t be afraid to network and make connections
- Replace any items that you use to completion, such as a paper tray or coffee pot
- Only use the space that is accessible with your membership
A little bit of etiquette can go a long way in a friendly and productive working environment.
Tools and Applications
The hunt for a coworking space doesn’t need to be overwhelming. There are a few applications that can make your search a lot easier. These tools can help you find a coworking space based on location, and point you in the right direction to meet your other needs.
- Coworker.com – a directory of private offices, desks, meetings, and conference rooms, and virtual offices in 172 countries
- Get Croissant – membership gives you a pass to thousands of options around the world
- Nomad Travel Tools – the swiss army knife for all digital nomad needs, including coworking
Alternatives to Coworking Spaces
Coworking is a cost, but it’s also an investment. You can choose the coffee shop hopping route, but you’ll end up paying a similar amount for drinks and meals. Even so, there are a couple of alternatives to coworking spaces.
Most coffee shops offer free WiFi in one way or another. As long as you buy a cup of coffee or freshly pressed juice, you can warm a seat and suck on the WiFi. When browsing coffee shops to work from, it’s smart to go in with a budget in mind, check with the WiFi availability, and take a seat close to a plug point.
If you want to save money, then you can set up a remote office from your accommodation. When doing so, it’s important to book a place that has enough place to work. It’s also a good idea to take frequent breaks as it can be unproductive to wake up, work, and fall asleep in the same place without a break.
We’ve found a sense of family in the coworking spaces that we’ve used. Special mention must be made of Cape Town Office in the Mother City and Camp 308 in Canggu, Bali. Both of these spots have introduced us to lifelong friends and gifted us with countless productive hours.
To further help you with productivity, you can read up on some of our digital nomad gear guides.
- 12 laptop accessories and essentials for digital nomads
- Top 6 VPNs for digital nomads and remote workers
- 10 digital nomad backpacks for your laptop and essentials
- Best portable monitors for digital nomads