Coworking is the perfect answer to the problem of isolation that many in the location independent community experience at one point or another. It is also great for productivity, work-life balance and business networking. In this article, I explain why, how and where you should cowork.
Being able to work from anywhere is certainly very nice. It is also very challenging. One reason for that is isolation. Isolation in the sense that while you may have tons of friends, few are likely to understand or want to talk about your work. Another one is productivity. Coffee shops are simply not a great place to work from. Their internet often sucks, they tend to be loud and the constant coming and going can be a major distraction. Libraries are better but relying on them for day to day work is simply not realistic. Working from home is also not realistic, at least not for me. When home, I tend to be lazy and unproductive. Other challenges include business networking, work-life balance, transportation and health (the calories in those lattes do add up). Coworking is the answer to many of these challenges and then some. There are coworking spaces nearly everywhere nowadays and many of them are SOLID! In fact, some have even become destinations in their own right.
How to cowork
This may surprise some to learn that there are actually multiple ways to cowork. You can, of course, walk into most coworking spaces and buy a membership but this is not usually the most efficient way to do it, especially if you travel regularly. A great alternative is to join a coworking network. Personally, I am a big fan of Regus. Their business lounges are excellent places to work and with my lounge membership, I have access to over 3000 of them. The lounges are usually located in office towers and in many cases, offer views to die for. Regus is also the best deal out there with the lounge membership starting at only 100 USD per month (cheaper if you sign up for one or two years, even cheaper as part of a virtual address bundle). With over 500 coworking spaces in their network, Copass is another great option. They offer a pay as you go plan as well as 3 days, 10 days and unlimited use plans. They are more expensive than Regus but their coverage outside of major cities is better. I have recently signed up for a WeWork membership and so far I am loving their spaces and services. It is possible to get the membership for free with some credit cards / bank accounts, it is also possible to pay monthly. There are other coworking networks but they are not worth it, at least relative to Regus, Copass and WeWork. Another way to cowork is by joining coworking groups on Facebook and meeting with other location independent entrepreneurs and workers in rented space. This is not ideal but is an alternative in locations that have no coworking spaces or business lounges.
Where to cowork
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, it really depends on your own preferences and budget. Personally, when choosing a new destination I use the Regus / WeWork app to find the best business lounges and coworking spaces. My main criteria are the views and how many quality restaurants are nearby. I then book a hotel or Airbnb near my chosen lounge, to make getting to and from work convenient.