How to have a positive Co-working experience as a digital nomad


Digital nomad

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With a growing industry of digital nomads, self-employed freelancers and those switching from an office environment to working from home permanently, many are enjoying the new flexibility of being able to choose where and when they work and in what kind of environment.

As a creative freelancer myself, who can work from anywhere that has a fast internet connection, I wanted to share some insight to my experiences of trying out different working environments. I've worked from coffee shops, libraries, hotels and backpackers while travelling and co-working hubs in my local city, I also have a home office. For those who travel and work Nomadic Matt offers up some great digital nomad tips. I found each has its pros and drawbacks, which I will share in this post.

Which working environment is best for a digital nomad?

1. The Coffeeshop 

Nearly all coffee shops have free fast wifi and while this is good for checking email or just touching base with clients, coffee shops in general are not a great option for anything that is going to take longer than an hour. Firstly you will need to purchase food and drink and secondly, I've seen a rise in coffee shops limiting laptop use to 1hr to prevent people sitting for hours on end while spending very little, which is fair. It's also not the most social atmosphere if you are looking to bounce ideas off other creatives.

2. Local Libraries

Council-run libraries in the UK all have free-to-use fast internet (well at least 95% do) and most will have desks and plugs you can use. There is usually no time limit and it's a great free option although can be lacking in terms of social connections or creativity. Also you need to be aware of being on a shared server which can pose security issues for things like mobile banking and libraries may also block certain websites. 

3. Home Office 

Now I love my home office but sometimes I find I can start to lack motivation or inspiration day in and day out and connecting with other creatives can be really helpful at times so there are definitely some drawbacks to working solely from home. 

4. Co-working hubs

Personally, I think every digital nomad should give a co-working hub a go at some point, you don't need to use them all the time but it can be a boost socially and creatively being around others who work in similar industries. Also many are now offering more flexible approaches and you can often get a hot desk on a daily basis and don't have to lock into longer-term or monthly contracts. If you do your research and look around you will also be able to find a variety of options to suit your budget depending on facilities, space and how many days a week you want to use it. 

digital nomad

With every situation, including co-working, you need to create some kind of routine to get the most out of it. Here are some tips on having a positive experience while using a co-working hub

1. Have a daily to-do list

It can be easy to become distracted in a co-working space so ensure you find a quiet desk and consider using headphones to zone out any unwanted noise and and have a clear to-do list for the day with tasks you want to complete.

2. Take regular breaks

It's important to step away from your laptop or phone regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes to help you both physically and mentally recharge, doing this can help improve your well-being and productivity. Also, go for a short walk or grab a coffee and connect with others throughout the day when you feel like you're hitting a slump. 

3. Connect with others during your breaks

Co-working hubs are great spaces to meet other like-minded digital nomads and freelancers although you do need to put a little effort in to get the most out of it. In most co-working spaces they will have a social area where people can share ideas, grab a bite to eat and enjoy social interactions with others, something you won't get when working from home. 

4. Be a conscientious co-worker

Co-working spaces are just that, sharing and working in a space together, so make sure to tidy up after yourself, keep your space clean and be aware of others around you. Help to create a positive atmosphere while being kind to your other co-workers.  

5. Don't go into a co-working space if you are unwell. 

There are lots of viruses going around, from colds and flu to stomach bugs, so please be aware of your fellow digital nomads and do not go into a shared space if you are not feeling well. Some hubs may offer some form of rapid testing and in other places such as in Oregon, it is legal for employers to conduct drug screening as part of the hiring process so they may have stricter rules in co-working spaces depending on the area and country, needless to say if you feel you are coming down with something but don't count on it, always best to stay at home until you are feeling fully well again before heading into a shared working space. 

6. Take snacks and stay hydrated

A lot of co-working hubs will have some kind of small kitchen space and coffee machine at a minimum, so may even have a small cafe on site but always ensure to bring along plenty of snacks and water to keep you going throughout the day and to prevent a midday slump. 

If you are a digital nomad or freelancer or someone just switching to working at home full time then I hope you found this useful. The main thing is to be flexible, try new things and look for a routine or setup that works for you. 

1 comment:

  1. Really helpful tips as I'm moving into remote working and will be trying a co-working hub this week

    Jess x


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