Beyond the space
Today after a decade of coworking, the business model has taken on different forms and is taking things further than just providing a space for working. We find coworking spaces with vertical and horizontal focus, makerspaces and fablabs, universities introducing coworking for incubating student projects, hotels and hostels for freelancers and startups, rural coworking spaces, colivings, coworking camps and coworkations across the globe.
Is coworkation a growing trend?
The number of people working remotely is rapidly increasing. Technology is creating new professions which enable people to work from anywhere – all they need is a good internet connection. As the number of nomad workers, startups and digital freelancers increases, the number of coworking vacations offered on the market is also growing. In addition, companies are looking for new ways to stimulate and inspire their teams, and are sending them to coworking spaces to work from a new exciting environment.
This generation of workers look for flexibility, inspiration, creativity, to be more productive, connect with foreign markets and colleagues, normally from slightly more exotic places.
What is more inspiring than working from paradise? Coworking vacations are normally located in amazing places where people can work, network, and participate in workshops to develop specific skills, or take part in activities like yoga, surfing or hiking… and have fun.
Stuart Jones, the founder of Coworkation, invited us to join him for 3 days of the Coworkation experience in a very special rural house located at Montseny mountain (Catalonia). There were 20 of us: journalists, web developers, coworking space managers, entrepreneurs, personal coaches and a number of employees at several companies.
According to Stuart, Coworkation organises coworking vacations that facilitate workshops and activities that encourage the growth of businesses and projects. The team wants to arm people with the skills, resources and connections to allow them to take their location independent life to the next level, wherever they are at. The company operates in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Who can apply to coworkation? Anybody who is looking for personal and professional growth.
What is Location Independence?
Coworking is a way of life and working that unites collaboration, the sharing of knowledge and resources, flexibility, connectivity, mobility and socialisation, and joins together individuals in unique communities. The location independent movement has emerged based on these coworking values.
The location independent movement (LIM) is made up of people who aim to design the life they desire, a life of freedom, a life which they can experience on their own terms. The movement can be defined as the individuals, businesses and resources surrounding a lifestyle based on the ability to live and work from anywhere in the world. It is more easily defined by its values: Freedom, identity or the feeling of belonging to a tribe. Deciding to take risks over settling for the sense of security offered by full-time employment (experiences over possessions). Designing their own lives, desiring to grow both personally and professionally. Those in the movement like to change their location to provide new sources of inspiration and to feed their curiosity of the world, other people and cultures. They want to become masters of their own schedule, wellbeing, work/life balance, productivity, pleasure, and have the freedom to leave somewhere they don’t like and move on to somewhere else.
People feel passionate about this lifestyle, but it doesn’t come without issues. Some location independent workers struggle with:
- Difficulties with working visas in some countries
- Legality and taxes
- Security (having multiple bank accounts)
- Relationships, which are often hard to maintain if they are long distance or short term
- Being misunderstood in a foreign culture
- Creating a routine and stability
- Running out of money
- Self-discipline (managing your time and leisure)
- A feeling of only a superficial understanding of culture, because their stay is short
- Commitment issues (mental, emotional and psychological challenges).
But for any problem there is always a solution: The Nomad Social Responsibility manifesto encourages people to follow the following values and implement them in their lives:
- Social responsibility
- Celebrating diversity
- Environmental responsibility
- Local community integration
- Balance impact and profit, purpose, lifestyle
- Respecting traditional cultures
- Investing in local resources
- Community engagement
Coworking aims to address the issues mentioned above as well as offer solutions, for example organising events to integrate people and connect communities of freelancers on a local and global level.
We always say: The more coworking communities we have, the better of the world will be!
This article has been written by Vanssa Sans, HWL partner, and also published on her Linkedin.
Sources: The location independent movement presentation by Kirsty Thompson from Coworkation.