With the rise of freelancing, the gig economy, flexible working and startup enterprises over recent years, we have also seen a rise in the quantity and quality of coworking spaces.
Gone are the days where free coffee, a giant bean bag, and a ping pong table would be enough to tempt the independent worker away from a stuffy home office.
These days, coworking space operators have either needed to go beautiful, with impeccably designed environments, or go unique, offering a work space with that little extra flair.
From sailing ships to the ski slopes, these are some of the unique and unconventional spaces where digital nomads are settling in for their work day. You might even ask – are they working hard or hardly working?
Village Underground – Lisbon, Portugal
Like a giant Jenga set rising out of a vacant lot, the Village Underground is a creative incubator space, coworking community and creative events destination all rolled into one. Perched underneath the pylons of one of Lisbon’s most notable landmarks, the 25 de Abril suspension bridge, the coworking space completes the industrial aesthetic with offices built out of 14 recycled maritime shipping containers and even a few double-decker buses. The space can accommodate up to 60 people and has fast become a landmark in its own right.
Outcamp – San Francisco, United States
Where Village Underground succeeded with their shipping container development, the creators of this outdoor working space originally hit a roadblock. Campsyte, an Airbnb-style company ‘delivering nature on-demand, for social gatherings and outdoor activities’ – intended to turn a vacant downtown San Francisco lot into a coworking space also using shipping containers.
Alas, the authorities denied the development deeming the containers as permanent structures so the company instead created Outcamp, an urban campsite featuring campers and tents for individuals or groups to use as a workspace. The outdoor site also features a fully stocked camp kitchen and a number of retro caravans.
BeacHub – Koh Phangan, Thailand
Beachfront workstation, crystal blue ocean views, super fast Wi-Fi. What more could you ask for from a coworking space? And that’s just what Beachub, located on the tropical island of Koh Phangan in Thailand, has to offer. Members here can enjoy beach access, outdoor showers, dining at the Karma Beach Kafe, or simply laze about in the beachside hammocks. It may be a little hard to define work from play in this office, but the cooling sea breeze might help get the productive juices flowing after a quick dip.
Dojo – Bali, Indonesia
Located only one minute from Echo Beach, Canggu on the increasingly popular digital nomad island hub of Bali is the coworking space, Dojo. The team behind this space really know their target market. There’s a surfboard rack out the front, an onsite cafe, and a central pool area to cool off when those work Skype meetings get too intense. The creators are doing so well they’re intending to open a second location in nearby Seminyak.
Tahoe Mountain Lab – South Lake Tahoe, United States
If sand and surf aren’t really your thing, but you still want to strike that perfect work-life balance, then maybe Tahoe Mountain Lab is your answer. Situated on the snowy slopes of South Lake Tahoe, the space has enough lockers to stash your work gear away before heading out for a run down the mountain. And with the vibe of a cool ski resort, this might just be the place to work back late every now and then.
Brooklyn Boulder – Somerville, United States
Built on the premise that pushing your strength to its limit will also push your creativity and productivity to new levels, Brooklyn Boulders have created a workspace inside their climbing-wall warehouse. The Active Collaborative Workspace, as they call it, is uniquely positioned to disrupt the sedentary work sessions with play, movement, and exercise, believing this results in a happy and more healthy work environment. Sounds a bit more strenuous than getting up from your desk every couple of hours.
Coboat – Worldwide
This space seems to be jumping ahead to how most of us plan to retire, but if you still need to work for a few more years yet, then this could be your answer. Coboat is a 25-metre retrofitted catamaran and floating coworking space that can act as home and office for up to 20 seafaring individuals as its owner, Karsten Knorr, circumnavigates the globe. The sailing ship can provide solar and wind-generated power and will keep its crew connected with satellite internet when out in the open sea.