Once upon a time, there was the hum-drum office space, where people would gather from far and near, take to their desks and work. Then came the internet. Soon after, forward-thinking companies like Apple and Google formed huge corporate community workspaces. Then came social media. Soon after that, the “startup” appeared on the scene, mirroring the corporate workforce, but fusing into a smaller network of guerrilla entrepreneurs.
The rise of the nomad
Fast forward just a touch, and the location independent entrepreneur or “digital nomad” enters the picture – app developers, graphic designers, writers, and coders, or any profession that can be completed predominantly online. Working in their pajamas from home, tapping away in cafes – from vast metropolises to tropical beaches. It could be said that co-working stepped in to fill the widening gray area between the solitary home worker and the traditional office worker. Finally, there was a solution in which entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote employees could enjoy the community spirit of an office, but the freedom of self-employment.
More than just desk space
Coworking has now become a flourishing business model. But, besides twenty-somethings pounding at laptops in pastel-colored paradise, the idle chatter of Bitcoin, VPN, and border runs around the water fountain…what does else coworking have to offer?
The answer to this varies from space to space, but it could be argued that the offices which have succeeded exponentially and brought real value to the market are those that have come to offer more than just hot desks, workshops – and even free cake. They’ve come to offer community and a sense of belonging to their members, and subsequently, helped their members and the surrounding local community thrive.
The new American dream
In the US, the market booms. There has been an influx of such offices cropping up to meet the growing demand. These range from high-spec, high-tech, shiny open-plan spaces with state-of-the-art design (and a price tag to match) to more artsy, community-driven independent spaces that include unique features like hands-on workshop areas, all-female offices, offices in little wooden cottages and even one now housed in Independence Hall, where the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution came to be. Thus, thoughts that coworking is all about 20-somethings sipping kombucha pool-side have long subsided. Of course, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of coworking based on your own needs.
From chain brands to art spaces, warehouses to skyscrapers – there is an abundance of choice of where to lay your laptop, and what was once little known is now a serious industry with investors to boot.
But how should writers choose?
One option is Paragraph in New York City’s trendy Greenwich Village. A dedicated office for writers it offers 24/7 comfy desks – perfectly adapted specifically for writers – free drinks, printing, lightning-fast WiFi, and niche community events, all tailored to a literary crowd.
Alternatively, creatives can pen their latest manuscript at LA’s The Hatchery Press, another awesome authors’ place set in an open-plan bungalow space with cute patios perfect for taking advantage of that perfect west coast weather. With an on-site library, and even a “Deadline Room” for people who need unadulterated silence, The Hatchery Press is the perfect place to get some serious word count in.
The worldwide office and beyond
For those who want to save some of that hard-earned freelance money but go beyond the States, set up with lower-costs at spaces like Hubud, Bali’s premier coworking spot. Nestled in the leafy, yoga-centric village of Ubud, it offers members a smorgasbord of delights. Their idyllic open-air bamboo office gives a calming air of tranquility (and the delight of an odd monkey visitor).
If you prefer the beach, there’s KoHub on the quaint Thai island of Koh Lanta. Just a short flight from Chiang Mai, the unofficial digital nomad capital of the world, KoHub offers an easygoing space, complete with communal lunches, much-needed air-con rooms and now even a coliving concept, so you can live on-site.
The rise of coworking has opened the door for new collaborative concepts such as coliving spaces, where members can combine the fun of a community living space, with ample amenities to get work done. One unique concept of this kind is The Content Castle, located on the peaceful island paradise of Koh Samui, Thailand.
There, writers can come and fill up on instant zen, whilst working on challenging writing projects and collaborate with like-minded wordsmiths. Residents can look forward to waking up to the sound of tropical birds outside their window, spending their days writing from the comfort of a bamboo hammock and finishing the day sipping sunset cocktails with new friends, if the are so inclined.
One thing is for sure: coworking is here to stay.
And, as time goes on, perhaps coworking and coliving concepts will become a household idea. Until then, why not grab your laptop, your enthusiasm, a good book, and give coworking a go? It might just be the perfect thing for you.
This post was written by Jodie Taylor – a girl on the cusp of womanhood, a writer, an entrepreneur, and one who spends a considerable amount of time in pajamas. British-born, but currently based wherever she lays her hat, Jodie travels the world indefinitely. She writes about the romance of travel, life as a digital nomad, and a selection of quirky stories from her ten years of travel experience in this, our beautiful, weird world.