How to choose the best coworking spaces as a digital nomad
Coworking spaces have been around for years, with WeWork really bringing them into the mainstream. They are a great way for freelancers and remote workers to meet each other and have a space to work that is not their home environment. As a digital nomad, you might be staying in hostels or in Airbnbs that are a bit noisy, so you need a place to get things done. Cafés are great, but you need to be consistently purchasing things to avoid getting kicked out. Working from home or a café might not be the most comfortable, so coworking spaces fill this niche.
It’s important to note that each coworking space is different. You might have two locations right across the street from each other with a completely different vibe. You can find coworking spaces in just about any city around the world, but you will find more options in cities with heavy digital nomad populations. In this article, we will go over everything you need to consider when deciding on a coworking location, like internet, comfort, the space itself, costs and deals, community events, and accessibility.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is an alternative to a traditional office that offers workspace for remote workers or freelancers. Coworking spaces have everything from communal desks to large private offices, so the best space for you depends on your needs. If you are a solo digital nomad that wants to meet people, the communal areas will be best. If you have a full team that you need office space for, you can find a coworking space that can provide private offices for your entire team.
Inside the space, you can find much more than just desks. Most have complimentary coffee, some have full cafés. Many offer business services like printing or rentable conference rooms so the space can be a one stop shop for all your needs. We have even seen some spaces that offer bike rentals. Each coworking space has different things to offer, and some are more essential than others. If you need help choosing the best coworking space as a digital nomad, we put together this list of what you need to look for.
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Obviously, one of the most important aspects of a coworking space is reliable internet. The internet speed depends on the type of work you are planning on doing at the office. If you are a video editor or graphic designer, you will likely need internet speeds of anywhere from 45 to 115+ mbps. For simple browsing, you can get away with 25 mbps.
If you want to test your internet connectivity, you can go to speedtest.net to get a clear idea of the internet at home or at a prospective coworking space.
Comfortable working space
Comfort is subjective, so compile a list in your head about what exactly you are looking for in a space prior to touring. You might want to look out for:
- Ergonomic chairs
- Large workspace/desks/tables at the appropriate height
- Temperature (if you’re in a hot country do they have A/C? Is it all open? If you live in a cold country, is it adequately heated?)
- Noise level
- Feng shui (is the space aesthetically pleasing and conducive to productivity?)
You can find what you are looking for in any city, so it is perfectly fine to be picky. Tour a couple of different coworking spaces to see which one is the most comfortable and would maximize your productivity. Many coworking spaces will offer free trial days so you can get a feel for the space.
Private offices/call rooms/open offices
Most coworking spaces offer a couple of different options. You can get a general desk in a communal space, a dedicated desk, or a private office. Each one falls under a different price, but choose the one that helps you do your job most effectively. If you anticipate a lot of Zoom calls or phone calls, you will probably want a private office. If you like having the background noise of a general space, then go for a general desk or a dedicated desk.
Cost is a major factor in deciding which space works for you. The price of a coworking space is based on a couple of different factors, like location, type of membership, and length of membership. A coworking space in Dubai will cost much more than the same exact space in Mexico. A private office will cost more than a general desk. A monthly membership will cost more upfront, but works out less per day than if you just bought day passes.
If you are staying in a location for some time and you like the vibe of a coworking space, it would make sense to get a monthly membership. For instance, a coworking space in Buenos Aires, Argentina costs $1500 pesos for the day or $10,000 pesos for the month with unlimited access. If you go five days a week for four weeks, that comes out to $500 pesos a day – a third of the cost of the day pass.
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A huge part of joining a coworking space is joining a community. You will be surrounded by other remoters who work in a variety of different fields. Many times, coworking spaces will have networking events, happy hours, seminars, or classes to learn new skills. If you are looking for this in a coworking space, ask questions about the community when you are touring to see how you would fit in.
How accessible is your coworking space? Think about the location and where the office is physically located in the area where you live. Map out how you would get there – would you walk or take the metro or bus? Is it in a safe neighborhood if you are walking back after dark? Are there restaurants or cafes close by to grab lunch during the workday? You want to make it as easy as possible for you to get to the coworking space to ensure you don’t waste time on long commutes which could discourage you from going.
Is there a group out there that loves freebies or deals more than digital nomads? We didn’t think so. Many coworking spaces offer free coffee, snacks, and printing with memberships. They also might have partnerships with local businesses to get discounts when you show your membership card.
A lot of coworking spaces will also offer a free day pass for first time visitors to test drive the space. This is an especially great option if you want to try out a couple of different spaces in an area. Spend your first week trying out a different space each day for free and then decide which one you like the best.
Choosing the best coworking space for digital nomads
Coworking spaces are an excellent option for remote workers and digital nomads. They have risen in popularity in recent years, so you will likely have your pick between lots of different spaces in any given city. Even in small cities, you will be able to find one that you love, such as Selina, which you’ll find all over the world! In 2019, there were over 19,000 coworking spaces worldwide. It is expected to have as many as 26,000 spaces by 2025.
If you have been considering trying out a space because you are not productive at home or hate having to purchase coffee all day long at a café, find a space near your accommodation and see if they have a free day pass. You might find that you love it and want to sign on for a monthly membership.
Not only are coworking spaces fantastic places to work, but they also present great opportunities to meet other remoters while you are on the road. Consider all the different factors that we have listed in this article so you make sure you find the space that is best for you.
If you fall in love with a city and coworking space, make sure to check out our visa wizard so you can learn how to get a visa to legally stay in your city for longer.