Coworking Tips for Digital Nomads
Coworking spaces are perfect workplaces for digital nomads. You can pop in for a day, stay a week or work out of one for several months. The shared spaces provide the essentials for running a business in the 21st century, including fast wifi, comfortable and professional workspace, and business amenities such as printers, scanners and rooms to meet clients.
Coworking spaces also provide unlimited opportunities for social engagement, professional networking, mutual support and business collaborations. For digital nomads, working out of a coworking space is a fantastic way to connect with the locals and further your business.
Find the Right Space
Every coworking space is different. To do your best work and connect with like-minded people, find one with a style and vibe that suits your own. You’ll also want the space to be conveniently located and comfortable.
As the coworking and shared workspace industry has grown, a variety of niche spaces have emerged. There are coworking spaces for wellness professionals, artists, writers, startups, musicians, women, chefs, social good projects and much more. Find the right one for you.
Look for Community
If you wanted to work by yourself, you could just head to a coffeeshop. What sets coworking spaces apart from any other place with wifi and a table is the community of people working there, including you. As Susan Dorsch, co-founder of Office Nomads in Seattle says, “Look for the community you’re eager to be a part of, not one you think you can get the most out of.”
Introduce Yourself to the Community Manager
Community managers, who are also called space managers, community cultivators, community curators, etc., are the heart of a good coworking space. They know the members, they generally have a good understanding of each one’s offerings, strengths and needs, and they’re experts at connecting people. Introduce yourself to them as soon as you arrive and let them know what you’re working on. You might be surprised at the connections they can help you make.
Introduce Yourself to the Members
Coworking spaces are full of smart people doing amazing, inspired work. Don’t be shy about introducing yourself to them. There are lots of opportunities to connect: when you sit down at a community table, when you refill your coffee or tea, at lunchtime in the kitchen, during a happy hour or presentation, at an afterhours event in the space. Making connections is what coworking is all about, so don’t let great opportunities pass you by.
On-site events, such as presentations, networking gatherings, happy hours and skillshares can facilitate connections between members, people using the space temporarily and the extended local community.
They’re also a great way to learn new skills, deepen your understanding of useful tools and resources and keep your finger on the pulse of the latest tech and best practices. Look at the event calendar of the local coworking space and attend events that interest you.
Make Sure there’s Buzz in the Space
When you walk into a coworking space is it flat or buzzing with energy. The best spaces are alive with energy and have people interacting in the shared spaces. These things can boost your own productivity and momentum. If you need a quiet space to work, many spaces have designated quiet zones, or you can always put headphones on.
Be Clear About Your Needs
Everyone has different needs around their workspace. Before you work out of a coworking space, get clear about what you need from a space and make sure the one you choose meets your needs. There are lots of different coworking and shared workspaces so keep looking until you find the right one for you.
Look for a Variety of Workspace Options
As a digital nomad, every day may be different. Some are full of calls and meetings, while others are reserved for heads-down, focused work. Make sure the coworking space you choose has a variety of workspace options, including quiet areas, places to make calls in private, standing desks, comfortable chairs, community tables and meeting rooms.
Check the Wifi
Make sure the wifi is fast and reliable. You can ask the community managers how the wifi speeds are, but better yet, ask the members themselves. They’ll give you the inside scoop about wifi speed and reliability.
Adhere to Community Norms
Each coworking space has its own set of community norms. Find out what they are before you start working. For instance, is it acceptable to make calls in the cafe space or should you go into a phone booth or designated space for calls? If you take the last bit of coffee, are you supposed to make the next pot or will the community manager make it? When you’re finished with a dish, should you put it in the dishwasher or wash it by hand? These may seem like small things, but knowing how the community handles them is key to being a welcome member of the space—even if you’re only there for a limited time.
Ask About Local Resources and Happenings
Coworking spaces tend to be community hubs for a variety of groups, including entrepreneurs, small business owners, creatives and tech folks. Therefore, the people in coworking spaces are generally in-the-know about cool events and local resources. Ask the community manager, as well as space members, whether there’s anything you should know about.
How’s the Coffee?
One of the perks of coworking is the free coffee (or tea, if you prefer). If you have to leave the space every time you want to get a coffee, it will quickly become a hassle. Make sure the space you choose offers coffee, tea and creamers you like so you can focus on your work rather than where you’ll get your next cup.
As a digital nomad, you can choose to work wherever you want. Coworking spaces can help you boost your productivity, grow your network, tap into the local scene and make some friends. Find the right coworking space for you and your travels can be changed for the better.
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, community and the future of work. Publications include Shareable, Yes! Magazine and Lifehacker. She’s the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking spaces, and she sends weekly tips and resources to coworking space operators and pros.