9 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN THAT COWORKING SPACE
No matter if you're heading to a coworking space between the swaying palms of Southeast Asia or the smoke-spurting volcanos of Central America, the monkey-spotted jungles of Indo or the frenetic towns of India, there are a few things that every remote worker will need. We're not just talking about the obvious things: speedy internet, somewhere to sit and work, a comfy bed. We're also talking about the things you might not consider; the things that transform those nomadic trips with the laptop abroad from a plain old working holiday into an experience you're going to love and treasure.
Thankfully, we're pretty well-versed in the world of digital nomadism here at LBW. We've been hopping around from sun-soaked Nica to the sands of Vietnam, the frothing waves of the Adriatic to the beautiful Bali backcountry working on the web for years. We’ve even got our own coworking space on the go, nestled just above the shimmering horseshoe of golden Pacific sand in little San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. (Yep, it's lush). So, it's fair to say we know a thing or two about what to look for in that work abroad home away from home…
A fast internet connection
It goes without saying that a fast internet connection is one of the top priorities for digital nomads looking for a place to bed down. After all, when the whole office is on the cloud and you're checking into work by email each morning, a speedy web is like your daily commute. What's more, even though we're in the 21st century, the proliferation of internet speeds around the globe still might not be what you'd expect. From India to Thailand, South America to eastern Europe, you'll still need to check ahead to make sure the place you're going to be staying has good enough links with the modern digital world. A simple email asking details should suffice, while other places will list the specification of their web connection from the get go.
A comfy spot to work in
Perhaps you're content with a swinging hammock and a day of typing away reclining under the sun? Or, are you one of those nomads who needs to make use of a desk and office chair; the classic way? Knowing what sort of environment you like working in is crucial when it comes to seeking out that next coworking space around the globe. Be sure to check out pictures of where it is you're going to be living. Are there enough little nooks and crannies to get some peace and quiet? Are there plenty of desks for all the workers in house? Are there good cafes and restaurants nearby for settling down in?
Good sleeping arrangements
It's all very well lumping it with crooked hostel dorms or bug-infested homestays while you're backpacking around the planet, but when it comes to living the life of a digital nomad, comfort pays. Not only will you need to be getting a good night's sleep to ensure you're up in time to meet the next day's deadlines, but you're also potentially going to be staying somewhere for longer periods of time than you would as just a traveler. That could mean one or two months in the same locale. And that means a comfortable bed and acceptable sleeping arrangements are going to be really important. Thankfully, most coworking spaces will offer a range of dorm rooms and privates, so you can choose the pad that's perfect for you.
For nomadic workers who are often stuck staring at computer screens for the whole duration of the day, it's often easy to forget just how important the company is when working abroad. After all, once you're done typing away on the laptop, you're going to socialize and relax with someone, right? It's important to make sure you surround yourself with likeminded folk; people who similarly understand the routine of focusing during the day and unwinding in the evening. One sure fire way of making sure you get the right company is to opt for a coworking space with a strict philosophy; one that nurtures good vibes and great company.
A great location
Getting a great location for your coworking space is surely another of the top priorities here. Whether that means making sure you're within walking distance to the rolling waves the Nicaraguan shore for that morning surf or the jungle treks of the Balinese forests, always be sure to check ahead and see exactly where your short-term working home will be. For digital nomads who enjoy tapping away at the keyboard in coffee shops and bars, it's also worth listing all the establishments with internet in the vicinity, just to make sure there are enough potential working spaces on the menu.
Some people will fancy a bout of yoga on the beach, others will be looking for the surf. Some will enjoy the hiking opportunities afforded by living and working somewhere a little exotic, while others will be eager to taste their way through the foreign kitchen. A good coworking space will make it easy for its inhabitants to enjoy all the facets of a new location, by nurturing good connections with tour operators and places in the community.
A good communal area
One of the great bonuses of choosing a coworking space over a traditional hotel or hostel style accommodation is the homey vibes it provides. Instead of always feeling like a visitor in a place, the nature of a coworking spot allows you to feel like you actually live somewhere. Part of that is enjoying the company of other people who are living with you, just as you would when you finish a day's work back at home. Cue communal spaces. These can come in any form, from sun-kissed decks overlooking the Pacific Ocean to sparkling pools (check out our nomad.life if they take your fancy), cozy lounges to large kitchens where you can crack a beer after the toil.
Talking of kitchens, a well-equipped place to cook up your own grub is another of the top things to look out for in those potential coworking spaces. Yes, you might be heading off to South America or Southeast Asia, where a whirlwind of ceviche salad and spicy pad Thai awaits on the menu, but if you're going to be hanging around for some months, you might just want to have a homecooked meal or two. What's more, being able to rustle something up is a great way of sharing the experience with your fellow nomads. Check ahead to see if there's a big kitchen and dining room; then just look forward to all those evening meals under foreign skies.
Part of being a responsible digital nomad is making sure you minimize your impact on local communities and the environment as much as possible when you travel and work. We believe that all good coworking spaces remain conscious of the ethical side of globetrotting, and maybe even give a little something back to the communities in which they make their home. We fund homebuilding projects in Nicaragua, for example, while also aiming to nurture diversity and integration between locals and the people who stay with us.
Are you a veteran digital nomad? Can you think of any more important things to look out for when searching for that next coworking space? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below…