Times are changing. Today’s workforce seems increasingly motivated to ditch the cubicle and 9-to-5 for something more mobile, more international. The rise of digital nomads (people working remotely from their laptops while traveling abroad) in recent years has created a whole new generation of freelancers and entrepreneurs who value experiences and personal freedom over titles and material possessions.
There are pros and cons to adopting the digital nomad lifestyle. On the plus side, you have the freedom to live and work anywhere…and at any time. With the only requirement to perform your job being a laptop and an internet connection, you are not limited to any physical space. This is why so many travel addicts and adventure enthusiasts have taken up this title. The entire world becomes your office – and if you’re a freelancer, you get to work and travel on your own schedule!
This lifestyle is, however, sometimes a double-edged sword. The freedom that comes with being a digital nomad also has a tendency to lead to unproductive habits. By setting your own schedule and being able to work from anywhere (that means even your bed), there is a chance that your work priorities could slip out of whack. There is still something to be said for getting up each day and needing to “be somewhere” and working around like-minded people. Luckily, a new trend is gaining major momentum in the global marketplace – and it serves as a cure-all for isolation and lack of motivation, while still allowing for all of the perks of working remotely: International Coworking and Co-Living Spaces.
What are Coworking/Living Spaces?
Think of international coworking/living spaces as a dormitory for adults. The amenities are better, the rooms are private, and the focus of the day involves productivity, cultural exploration, and networking – instead of procrastination and keg stands.
Co-living spaces are popping up all over Europe and Asia, and the trend is spreading across the globe. The locations are usually remote properties in rural areas (perfect for digital nomads traveling extensively between countries and wanting to escape city life for a bit), or apartment buildings in urban areas (perfect for those who want a centralized location for an easy balance of sightseeing, cultural interaction, and working – without a daily commute).
The layout usually consists of private or shared bedrooms centered around a communal kitchen, public leisure rooms, and quiet workspaces with all the resources needed for office life. Guests typically include young professionals and millennial expats who stay for periods ranging between a week to a few months or longer.
Why Choose Co-Living While Working Abroad?
Co-living and coworking spaces accomplish two crucial goals for the modern expat on the move. For one, the concept allows digital nomads to cure the inevitable loneliness and isolation that comes with remote work. Offices are not just places for bosses to keep a close eye on their employees, they are also essential for fostering relationships and human interaction, which boosts morale and leads to increased productivity.
Those who work remotely and travel abroad extensively often miss out on daily interactions with like-minded people who are looking to share ideas and experiences. With co-living, the middle man is cut out, and expats have a direct source for communication with people just like themselves.
The second thing that co-living does is create an atmosphere conducive to actual work. The daydreams of leaving behind the office to travel the world, working in cafes and beautiful parks, is what attracts most digital nomads to the lifestyle. However, when you’re abroad in a new place, there is so much stimulus and excitement that it’s easy to get distracted. Plans to work all day in a café turn into an early lunch, a stroll around the square, and a late afternoon nap.
With co-living and coworking spaces, you can keep all the freedoms of travel, independence, and working on your own schedule, while also tapping into a communal workspace atmosphere – surrounded by other dedicated people looking to get things done. This kind of motivation is infectious and can’t be overvalued.
In Part 2 of this article, we’ll look at some of the best co-working locations in the world, and see how the trend is affecting the international workforce.
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Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.