Creative professionals were, for ages, tied to their desks. After all, their work was tied to equipment that was big, bulky, and heavy – even portable typewriters were hard to carry, and respecting deadlines was also a problem. Things have changed a lot since laptops have become smaller, lighter, and more powerful. The internet spreading like wildfire also helped a lot. Today, creative professionals can do their job from pretty much anywhere they want – a beach, a forest, a small cafe on a street corner in Paris – and travel the world in the process.
These people, known as “digital nomads“, travel the world while working remotely. But like all other professionals, they sometimes need to have a desk, a printer, a high-speed connection to the internet, a place where they can do some work surrounded by like-minded people, hold meetings, network or simply do some work. This is where coworking comes in.
What is coworking?
Coworking, as we know it, was “invented” by a San Francisco machine learning engineer called Brad Neuberg back in 2005. Working from home, he started to feel the isolation that plagues the lives of so many work-at-home professionals, freelancers, and telecommuters. To counter this problem, he thought of a new kind of collaborative workspace where these people could sit down, get some work done, and maybe chat a little.
In time, the phenomenon grew out of San Francisco and became a global phenomenon. Today, you will stumble upon coworking spaces everywhere from crowded state capitals to the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. Yes, there is a coworking space in Seychelles – actually, it’s a coworking boat where digital nomads can gather, network, and get some work done.
What can you expect from a coworking space?
First and foremost, you need to know that coworking spaces aren’t free – but they are usually not very expensive either. Most of them offer at least the basics you need in an office environment: a desk, a chair, WiFi, a water cooler, perhaps even a kitchenette (or a full-blown kitchen). Printer access is also a standard at these places, and many of them have dedicated conference rooms where freelancers can hold meetings with their clients.
Sometimes, these coworking spaces are combined with rooms to rent – here, digital nomads will find not just a desk to work at but a place to sleep, too, and space to spend their free time. Together. It is a lot like living with roommates, except that it’s short-term – almost like a combination between a hotel and a residential rental. An “adult dorm”, if you like.
Working on the beach, in a pub or on a park bench may seem like a romantic, nomadic way to get things done. When, in turn, it comes to convenience, coworking spaces are a great alternative.