If you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’ve probably followed a few influencers who brand themselves as “digital nomads”. Digital nomads are professionals who can work solely through their laptops. All they need to do their work is a good internet connection. Digital nomads can be graphic designers, writers, computer engineers- you name it. Improvements in connection technology, such as Skype, Slack and Zoom make a nomadic lifestyle easier than ever; even important meetings can be held via WiFi. This means digital nomads can spend a lot of time traveling (and posting envy-inducing Instagrams).
This lifestyle has grown in tandem with the growth of coworking; they suit each other perfectly. Whether you are a digital nomad who truly lives up to the name, living out of a suitcase and racking up stamps on your passport, or you are just a remote who prefers to take small trips every few months, coworking can be a useful tool for you.
Digital nomads can benefit from shared office spaces in a few different ways. It all depends on your particular location and travel style. The 2017 Global Coworking Survey from DeskMag predicted that by the end of 2017 there would be 14,000 coworking spaces worldwide. Whether you’re in Shanghai, Paris, Capetown, or good old Charlotte, you should be able to find a shared office space to fit your needs.
There are even travel companies such as Remote Year that build coworking into their package. Digital nomads who sign up for the program spend each month for a year in a different city. The company finds a shared office space in each city for their members to utilize, included in the overall cost.
You may be wondering why, if you’re committed to traveling while working, you would choose to be in a office at all. It’s understandable to picture yourself happily typing away at a sidewalk cafe or taking calls with a view of the Taj Mahal.
If you’ve traveled extensively, or been a remote for a while, you’ll know there are some common issues in that scenario. Free WiFi in those lovely little sidewalk cafes can be spotty or unsecured. The last thing you need while globetrotting is for someone to hack you, or for a Skype with your boss to constantly freeze. Reliability is everything if you’re making a living as a digital nomad.
One of the greatest things about traveling is making friends across the world. It’s pretty easy to make new buddies to explore with in hostels or on walking tours. The lifeblood of a freelance lifestyle, though, is meeting new clients. Working out of a coworking space in a new city immediately connects you to other professionals who can introduce you to their already-established networks.
There are a few different ways to utilize coworking as a digital nomad. How you personally use a shared office space will depend on your lifestyle- in particular, your travel schedule. Many globe-hobbing freelancers spend a few weeks or more in a city before moving on. If this is the case for you, find a coworking space that offers month-to-month memberships. Usually hot desk memberships allow for this flexibility; dedicated desks or private offices sometimes require a lease. Hot desk memberships are a great option for travelers anyway, since by moving spots everyday you’ll make new friends and connections in a snap!
If you intend to spend less time in each place you travel, spend some time before your trip identifying shared office spaces that offer day passes. If you find you have a particularly busy work day, it might be more efficient to grab a day pass and get it all done in one block (sans the distraction of cafe-hopping or rowdy hostels). Many coworking spaces also offer technology that you can’t fit in your backpack, like printers and podcast equipment. Another plus of using coworking spaces while traveling is that they may be located in neighborhoods frequented mainly by locals, not tourists. You can get your work done efficiently and explore a place off the beaten path!
Don’t forget to consider coworking during your short bursts at home, too. Having a shared office as a homebase means you’ll stay updated on the entrepreneurial scene and continue to grow your local network, even if you live a whirlwind life as a digital nomad.
At The Launch Factory we provide a unique, technology-optimized coworking space that’s ready for business professionals and teams of all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions about our space or would like to schedule a private tour, please contact us here.