If you’re a fan of ‘the gram’ (instagram) you’ll no doubt have seen the snaps of an out of focus laptop, perched on a desk next to the perfect cup of coffee, and an in focus backdrop of a famous landmark, a palm lined beach or a lush green jungle. Attached to these kinds of photos are all the buzz-word hashtags such as coworking, digital nomad and remote worker. But what actually are these concepts? And are they beneficial? Well, let’s review these questions.
Digital nomads and remote workers, a review
Albeit a similar agenda, a digital nomad and a remote worker differ slightly. A remote worker usually has a fixed abode and works anywhere other than the employer's main office. This may be at home, at a coworking space, in a social space like a cafe, or even on holiday. A digital nomad usually has no fixed abode and travels while working.
These concepts are not new and have in fact been on a steep upward trajectory since the early 2000’s. However, the global pandemic had an enormous impact; due to closed travel, digital nomads became remote workers, and the rest of the working world became remote workers if it was viable. Nevertheless, as the world begins to stand on its feet again, digital nomads are able to fly the nest once more, and remote workers, well, are they heading back to the office or are they steering clear?
The remote worker statistics
According to Forbes Magazine, just 3% of employees and entrepreneurs said they want to work full time at a physical office when workplaces are able to safely reopen after Covid-19. The remaining 97% prefer some degree of flexibility between working remotely and working in an office. 74% of surveyed professionals expect remote work to become standard.
Advantages vs challenges of remote working
For those who feel slightly nervous about remote working, here are some of the top advantages:
- Less commuting time
- Increased autonomy
- Greater flexibility
- More freedom
- Higher productivity
- Better work-life balance
- Increased motivation
As a consequence, remote work also comes with challenges:
- Unplugging after work
The above challenges could have you feeling nostalgic of the downtime on your commute home, the fun coworker lunch dates or the humorous office banter, and so the solution to these challenges could well be a coworking space.
What is coworking?
A coworker is defined as a diverse group of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals working together in a shared, communal setting. They can also be described as people who are self-employed or working for different employers, who share an office or other working environment, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge. In a nutshell, the whole idea of coworking is to bring creative and bright people into a space to build something very special.
What makes a coworking space special?
Generally, those who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful; it’s not ‘just another day at the office’. Unlike a traditional office, people don’t feel like they must put on a work persona to fit in, because there are no internal politics or direct competition. Working amongst people doing a variety of jobs can also make your own work identity more robust. People are frequently given the opportunity to describe what they do which usually makes what they do seem more distinctive and interesting. The main values that the coworking movement aspires to are, community, collaboration, learning and sustainability. That said, each coworking space has its own vibe and the managers go to great lengths to foster that special experience.
There are even more staggering benefits that coworking brings to the table, let’s list some additionals:
- Feeling and being part of a community
- Connections with others
- Meeting like-minded people
- High-speed wifi that won’t fail you
- Ergonomic seating
- The opportunity to travel
- Structure to your day
Analysts predict the number of coworking spaces worldwide will reach almost 20,000 by the end of 2021, and around 40,000 by the end of 2024 (Global Coworking Growth Study 2020). By 2024 an estimated five million people will be based in coworking spaces. That’s a 158% increase on the current number. From 2021 onwards, a yearly growth rate of 21.3% is predicted. It’s estimated that almost 5 million people will be working from coworking spaces by 2024 (Coworking resources).
Are coworking spaces the future?
We believe so. With remote working on the rise for the foreseeable future, there’s a sure need for safe, accessible, and friendly workspaces. As the pandemic slowly moves behind us, people are looking for an escape from the home working, but not necessarily looking to go back to the traditional office environment. Moreover, while no one knows what the next year has in store for us, the traditional office may not even be an option. Therefore, flexibility, mobility and community will be essential for all coworking spaces going forward.
These are the biggest goals of Liwoto, to have the freedom and flexibility to work from a collective of spaces that pride themselves on bringing people together. When you visit a Liwoto coworking space, the chances of meeting old friends while making new friends are inevitable.