Being able to work anywhere you want is one of the biggest perks of the freelancer/digital nomad lifestyle. If you want to stay home and lay in bed, laptop perched on your knee, you can. If you want to sit in Starbucks and watch the world go by, whilst attempting to be productive, go for it! If you want to head to the beach and take inspiration from the sound of the waves, you’re free to do so.
The problem with all of those scenarios is that they have a huge potential for distraction thrown in for good measure. Staying in bed means you’re not sitting correctly, you’re going to get backache, and you’re probably going to end up watching daytime TV instead. Sitting in Starbucks means you’re going to spend what you’re earning on your overall coffee bill. Sitting at the beach has a whole host of issues – it sounds idyllic, but sand, insects, suncream, and glare. Nightmare.
As you can see, the digital nomad lifestyle might sound ultra-glam, but it has its downsides too!
To counteract that issue, many freelancers and digital nomads choose to find a co-working space instead. But, what exactly is a co-working space, and isn’t it just an office, when you’ve got out of your way to try and avoid those in the past?
What is a Co-working Space?
A co-working space is a facility, usually run by a hostel or an independent company, which allows freelancers and digital nomads to rent a space within it, and use it for a day, week, however long you’ve rented it for.
Within that, you get the use of a comfortable chair and professional desks, you get high-speed Internet, printing facilities, endless coffee on tap, and you also get to meet other people in your line of work. Many freelancers and digital nomads have made firm networking connections from working in co-working spaces, which could lead to future work.
Of course, meeting other likeminded professionals also means that you can ask questions and learn from each other.
There are usually only a limited amount of spots within a co-working space at a particular time, so if you opt for one of the most popular options, you’re probably going to need book well ahead of time. That being said, there are many which allow you to drop in and see if there is space also.
Places such as Bali, Chiang Mai, Buenos Aires, and the Canary Islands are brimming with co-working spaces, and of course, these are some of the biggest hotspots for digital nomads overall. Despite that, more and more of these facilities are cropping up across the globe.
Are there any downsides?
Well, some digital nomads don’t like the idea of working from a co-working space, because it seems too much like an office. Of course, you make the choice to become a digital nomad to get away from the four walls of the office environment! Co-working spaces can also be quite noisy, and whilst many have meeting rooms and quiet spaces you can use, the focus is mostly on collaboration and networking. That means knuckling down might be an issue if you need to really concentrate.
The Ultimate in Working Freedom?
So, are co-working spaces a good thing or not? They certainly have their place and in terms of meeting other people and making business connections, these are certainly some of the best places to head. If you find you work better alone or in a quiet space, perhaps co-working spaces aren’t going to be for you. On the other side of the argument, if you need a little structure to your day in order to motivate you to get your work done, co-working spaces give you the freedom to choose where and when you work, whilst still being ultra-productive.
Perhaps you should give co-working spaces a go and see for yourself.