Posted on 21st of January, 2021
How Coworking enables Digital Nomads to work from anywhere
The number of people working remotely is said to have grown by 44% in the last five years, with 7 million people working remotely in the USA before the arrival of COVID-19.
As we speak, about 42% of the U.S. labour force is now working from home full-time, mostly forced by the COVID-19 regulations. The global trend is similar, with most countries having adopted teleworking. But work from home doesn’t necessarily mean work from a room in the eyes of some people.
The whole remote working trend (telecommuting) is not something new. “Digital Nomads” have been amongst us for a while. They are location-independent people who use information and communications technology to perform their job. You might have seen them in coffee shops or the tech hubs in Bali with their MacBook and portable hard drives.
To investigate this subject further, we offer up our platform to Andrew Williams, Founder of Remote Tribelife, an online magazine for Digital Nomads and remote working. Read on for his views on how coworking enables Digital Nomads to do their jobs from anywhere.
A lot of Digital Nomads, who are freelancers, are regular customers of coworking spaces around the world. They make up the majority of people working in these spaces and are usually under the age of 40 years old, typically from the Millennial generation. They mainly work in the IT industry, followed by PR, marketing, and remote sales teams. Overall, freelancing is probably the largest occupation you will find in the coworking space according to Ergonomic Trends.
Looking closer, working from a shared office space makes sense for sole entrepreneurs and freelancers. The individuals working from coworking spaces have been found to feel less isolated and lonely. Moreover, they also have been reported to expand their professional network since joining a coworking space.
The rise of flexible office space and remote working
The flexible workplace evolution continued to pick up speed until 2019 and slow down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. The coworking space market has seen a boom in the last 6 years; Between 2014-2018 there has been an increase of +205% in the number of workspaces globally.
The industry’s rise was driven by a combination of factors like the flexible structure of employment, the rise of the tech and gig economy, shifts in corporate culture on how they work and use space which all led to a direction of further growth. Increasingly, millennials and graduates view companies’ offering ‘well-designed/cool’ flexible space options as very desirable companies to work for.
In the race for talent, flexible workspace options could be a deciding factor. Also, the evolving Millennial workforce likes change, and many expect to move jobs within a 2-3 year timeframe or have more than one job in an increasingly collaborative world.
“The demand for flexibility, cool design and space on demand has enabled companies to develop this entire ecosystem for freelancers and digital nomads.”
How can Coworking and Digital Nomads blend together?
The answer is quite easy: it’s where flexibility and community belonging meets the eternal travelling generation.
Digital Nomads are usually millennials, aged between 25 and 35, who love travelling but are also no stranger to loneliness. They are very digitally savvy, entrepreneurial-minded and oriented towards exploration and experiences.
Most of the Digital Nomads are freelancing or own a small business online so they still need good working conditions (and stable internet) to be productive.
Travelling represents a big benefit of this lifestyle, but it can also be a curse. Changing countries, working in weird time zones and being away from the family are just a few of the disadvantages of this dreamy way of living.
Because of these challenges, Digital Nomads crave for a sense of belonging to a community and for some short term stability when it comes to the work environment and accommodation.
“In general, the working conditions are paramount due to the nature of how they earn their bread: reliable internet and productive environments.”
And this is exactly where digital nomads and coworking meet each other and form a symbiosis. Some of these remote entrepreneurs prefer to rent a shared desk in a coworking space that can offer good working conditions, but mostly one that has a network of support and a vibrant community.
And the fight for hosting them is bigger than ever. According to Forbes, more than half of the entire workforce in the US could be made of freelancers by 2027. A good chunk of them will be millennials eager to be mobile and travel around.
For example, the coworking marketplace Coworker now offers a Global Pass, which allows people to access thousands of coworking spaces in more than 100 countries. No wonder the coworking space industry and the number of Digital Nomads are growing so much lately.
Moreover, there has been an explosion of Coliving companies in the past 2 years or so which try to offer the best of both worlds: living premises as well as coworking offices under the same roof. Coliving networks have grown quite a bit in the last 2 years by offering this successful model to Digital Nomads.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a major disruptor in the workforce by pushing people out of the big corporate offices located in city centres to either work from home, or just from anywhere. In megacities like New York and London, flexible workspaces outside the city are seeing all-time highs in demand. It is estimated that the majority of businesses that have most of their employees commuting into the city are exploring flexible workspace options in the suburbs. This could be another nail in the coffin of cubical working, but also a bright new chapter for the coworking industry’s future as it could see more clients in the rural areas and hence expansion.
Ultimately, for Digital Nomads, the world truly is your oyster. Despite the ups and downs, today the distance between countries appears smaller and differences between time-zones appear shorter, allowing for a flexible and global workforce.
Thank you, Andrew, for taking the time to give us your insights into the life of a Digital Nomad and walking us through the significance of modern Coworking. If you are curious for more of Andrew’s insights, visit Remote Tribelife.
Looking for more? Click here to find out if your skills are up to date for the future of work and click here to learn more about how 2020 has changed remote working forever, and finally stop by here for our top 5 picks for new trends in Coworking.
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