Today, let’s talk about coworking and why I love, love love virtual coworking (and what the hell it even is).
First off though, I want to say that I’m a huge fan of coworking. But I hardly ever use coworking spaces. Sounds a bit weird, right?
The truth is, I totally get why coworking spaces work for some people. And in the past, they’ve worked very well for me too.
But now my work is very heavy on live calls, and it’s hard to find a coworking space with private Skype rooms. Plus, I am really extroverted and often I end up chatting more than actually working. #counterproductive
But I also struggle with the same challenges that most Digital Nomads encounter: loneliness and lack of motivation or feeling really unproductive.
I simply miss having colleagues, people to bounce ideas around, vent when I’m having a crappy day at work or share my wins when I’m having a good one.
Thankfully, I found an awesome way to get all the benefits of coworking, without having to change out of my pyjamas or pay hundreds of dollars for a desk every month.
Enter: Virtual Coworking.
Virtual or online coworking is a new trend amongst remote workers and freelancers and I think it’s here to stay. In the DNG Inner Circle we virtually cowork together all the time and I get so many questions about it that I thought I’d share why it’s awesome.
Here are 5 reasons why we love virtual coworking – and you will, too!
First, what the heck is virtual coworking anyway?
Virtual coworking means meeting online with one or more other real people (no robots involved… yet) to get some work done, hold each other accountable, and ideally make some new friends and build a professional network.
In the Inner Circle, we meet via Zoom for 2 hours at a time, set our goals and then work in Pomodoros. It’s fun, it’s productive and it’s totally location independent.
And here’s why this is so awesome:
1. Accountability from anywhere
If you’re anything like me, you might have days where you feel super motivated and get lots done before it’s even lunch time.
But on other days, I end up binge watching the Gilmore Girls until 2 pm or meet friends for a 3-hour brunch. On a Tuesday.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this flexibility and it’s great to be able to do this once in a while. But when it gets a habit, it’s not productive anymore and I start to feel guilty.
The lack of structure and accountability we have a digital nomads is super exciting in the beginning, but after the novelty has worn off, it can actually be a huge burden.
If I’ve learned anything in the 5 years that I have been traveling, it’s that accountability matters.
Virtual coworking is a great way to add accountability to your life, no matter where you are, how long you’re staying or whether there’s a big nomad scene.
Knowing that there are other girls working at the same time, getting their work done, is extremely motivating. And by incorporating virtual coworking sessions into your days, you start creating a bit of a routine, which can help so much with feeling overwhelmed or unproductive.
2. Make new friends
This is definitely my favourite part of virtual coworking, it’s a fantastic way to make new friends.
When I say loneliness is one of the biggest challenges not only digital nomads face, but most people who are self-employed or business owners, I’m not exaggerating.
Working by yourself every day sucks a bit, but it’s not always avoidable.
Over the past year or so I have made so many new friends during our coworking sessions, I can’t even count them.
Girls from all around the world join in and they all understand each other’s struggles, help each other out, ask for feedback, hire each other and yes, make friends.
And the great part is, these friends travel with you virtually wherever you go.
3. Get feedback
When I used to work in a lab and hit a road block, the first thing I’d do was to share it with my lab mates. Sometimes they had faced the same problem already and could point me in the right direction, other times we tried to figure out a solution together.
It was fun to be able to bounce ideas around, get and give feedback and generally work together, even if we all had totally different projects we were working on. We still had each others’ backs.
When I started working online, I very quickly realised that I was pretty much alone with my questions. That’s why I started DNG in the first place. And virtual coworking spaces take this concept much further than a normal online community could.
During our coworking sessions, we see each other face to face but we can also share screens and links. We’ve audited each other’s websites, helped design workbooks, tweaked web copy and tonnes more.
It’s so great to have a space and bunch of women to ask these things in real time.
4. No more bye-bye’s
If you’ve been around the digital nomad block for a little while already, then you’ve probably tried out a few coworking spaces.
But they are really quite peculiar if you think about it. We want nothing more than escape the cubicle and once we have, we then pay good money to go work at an office.
Of course, I totally get the pros of coworking, I’ve had many a coworking session which was fun and productive.
But the big problem is, as soon as you say goodbye to your current location and move on to new shores, you’re gonna have to start totally from scratch.
It can be quite disheartening and even take a while to feel settled again. You have to reintroduce not only yourself every time you move, but also your business.
I found it easy to lose momentum.
What I love about virtual coworking is that you never have to say your bye-byes anymore. Because you can work together from anywhere in the world, you can stay up to date on each others projects and challenges and help each other out.
5. Get sh*t done
And last but not least, you get lots done. Even though our sessions are just a few hours long, we get tonnes done because we set goals together, check in regularly and also get much better at judging how long certain tasks actually take.
The girls use the virtual coworking sessions for all sorts of tasks, from boring admin tasks that need to get ticked off, to creative work. Others have written whole online courses over multiple sessions, or used the time to pitch new clients.
It’s totally up to you what you work on and the focused time can be beneficial to all sorts of tasks.
For example, I love writing my newsletters during virtual coworking, but I also often do customer support, emails or batch social media content.
After a few sessions, you’ll get the hang of what tasks you like to tackle.
So, is it time to try out some virtual coworking yourself?
There you have it, virtual coworking is awesome and definitely a trend that’s here to stay.
So where can you try out virtual coworking? You can either make a virtual coworking date with a friend, of even better, join our virtual coworking community, the DNG Inner Circle!
We have coworking sessions almost every day now, hosted either by myself or a member. Plus we do other fun ways to foster real community for us nomad girls, like live Q&As, Virtual Mixer Parties, our Book Club Meetups, Monthly Goal Setting and lots more fun stuff.
Check out the Inner Circle here and join us today! We’ll be coworking together in no time!
Leave a comment below if you have any questions about virtual coworking or the Inner Circle!
In this series we will discover new destinations for digital nomad girls every month. We’ll feature our favourite nomad destinations as well as upcoming new hotspots.
This week our guest blogger Mira Arnold, from the CoworkInn Dahab, talks about Dahab, Egypt as a new nomad location and answers an important question for digital nomad girls: is Egypt safe for female solo travellers?
Dahab – an unusual digital nomad destination
Egypt has always been a place for nomads: bedouins, hippies and now digital nomads. It’s true, so far Egypt is not exactly known to be a digital nomad hotspot but it has a lot going for it. Only about a five hour flight away from Europe, the country offers fantastic weather conditions, cheap living costs and nomad-friendly visa policies. Most nationalities are given a 30-day visa on arrival, which can be extended to three months easily. It’s also easy to buy SIM cards that give you affordable data packages with which you can work.
Free and reliable wifi on the other hand is limited – which might be one of the biggest obstacles for becoming a digital nomad country. However, big cities like Cairo, Sharm-El-Sheikh and Dahab offer a choice of places to work. Cairo also has a big start up scene that focuses around the Greek campus and The District the first coworking space in Egypt.
Women traveling alone – how safe is Egypt?
Being a Muslim country that made some headlines with terrorist activity in the past, Egypt struggles with the conception of many travellers, especially women, that the country is unsafe. While this might be true for some parts of North Sinai and some neighbourhoods in Cairo, big city problems, like almost any other mega city on this planet, most of the country is very safe to travel.
Outside of Dahab or other tourist areas you will want to keep your knees and shoulders covered walking the streets. The biggest challenge for you will be language problems as it can be hard to find people who speak English outside the tourist areas. It might come as a surprise that visa offices, for example in Mogamma, the biggest one in Cairo, are no exception for this. So if you want to extend your visa, bring an Arabic speaking friend or ask a local to help you translate. It also helps to have a little vocabulary on hand that allows you to ask for and understand directions. Good neighbourhoods for Western travellers in Cairo are Maadi and Zamalek, while Dahab and other Red Sea towns like Hurghada and Marsa Alam are also easy to visit. Mark important landmarks, your hotel and places you want to explore on Google Maps and you will be able to wander around just fine.
What is there to do in Dahab & Egypt?
Egypt has long been one of the most popular travel destinations in the Middle East, and for good reason. Dahab has one of the best diving and snorkelling scenes in the world, centred around the Red Sea. Beginners and pro divers will find amazing dive spots with hundreds of tropical fish an colourful coral reefs, something that is getting harder and harder to find nowadays.
The desert is also an incredible place to explore, whether on camel-back, by foot or by jeep safari. Try to spend at least one night under the stars; the experience is breathtaking.
Egypt’s amazing cultural heritage (pyramids anyone?), kind-hearted people, beautiful weather and excellent food make it a great spot to spend some time.
Coworking: Dahab for Digital Nomad Girls
The CoworkInn Dahab is Dahab’s first coworking space. It offers its guests a beautiful sitting area right at the sea as well as some more private desks and a meeting room. There is plenty of space to get in touch with other co-workers and discuss your newest project. During dinner with bedouins under the starry sky of the desert coworkers quickly become friends. Water sport lovers have been visiting Dahab for a long time and it’s a great place to discover new hobbies like kite surfing or scuba diving.
It’s all about community
But just offering a nice place to work and a couple of trips isn’t enough; following the nomad tradition the focus lies on hospitality and building a community. This makes Dahab a perfect destination for solo traveling digital nomads.
Mira Arnold still holds a long list of ideas for her co-working space, from workations to special offers for families and team building events for companies. You can get in touch with her through her website or Facebook.
Have you been to Dahab? What is your favourite nomad destination? Please let us know in the comments below!
For many digital nomads, the biggest perk of being location independent is to be able to chase perpetual summer. Why should you stick around cold, grey and sleety Berlin/London/New York when you could be living it up on tropical co-working spaces by the beach?
Sure, winter clothes are fun to wear for the first month, but wouldn’t it be nice to swap your woolly socks and Ugg boots for shorts and flip-flops?
However, as much as we love the DN stereotype of the laptop on the beach, it’s not exactly practical or comfortable to work from a deck chair.
That’s why we’ve compiled the top 5 Co-working Spaces by the Beach
Bali has long been the number one for many digital nomads, so it’s no surprise to find a whole bunch of cool co-working spaces dotted around the Island. Dojo Bali is a relatively new space in Canggu, literally a one-minute walk from Echo Beach, you couldn’t be much closer.
Dojo is open 24/7, offers high speed (85Mbps) wifi, lockers, Skype booths, surf racks and even a pool and shower.
Their daily drop-in rate is $10, monthly plans range from $36 to $146.
Koh Hub, located on the Thai island Koh Lanta, is one of the most popular co-working spaces in Thailand. They put a lot of emphasis on community with communal lunches, events, activities, workshops and more. The space is open 24/7, has high speed Wifi (100Mbps download/30Mbps upload), Skype rooms, air-con rooms and a garden area.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the island culture you can even book a room in their KoHub apartment, only a short walk or scooter ride form KoHub away.
The daily rate is $11, for a week it’s $51 and the whole month $152.
It can’t get much more tropical than this. Bocas Del Toro, an archipelago of islands on the Caribbean coast of Panama, is pure paradise, and now you can also get some work done there. In your free time you can explore Starfish Beach, go diving, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding or just float in the warm waters.
The space can accommodate 20 people a day, has indoor and outdoor rooms (built over the Caribbean sea), they offer activities and accommodation, too.
Please contact them for a quote.
The Canary Islands are definitely one of the digital nomad hot spots in Europe at the moment. Warm weather year round, affordable rent and a fun community are drawing more and more people to the Canaries. Las Palmas is the most popular spot and the community here is growing rapidly.
The Wifi is fast with 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload, they offer free coffee and water all day, have a relaxation area with TV and couches and even showers to freshen up after a trip to the beach.
CoworkingC is open 24/7 for full members and from 9-18h every day for daily users.
They offer a free try out day to check out the space, after that it’s $15 per day, $50 per week and $150 per month.
If Hawaii is your next dream destination then you should definitely check out The Box Jelly co-working space in Honolulu. The first co-working office in Hawaii, the space is beautifully decorated and offers all the perks needed to get s**t done. Private conference rooms, fast Wifi, event space for rent, lockers, free water, kitchen and even a treadmill desk (!?!), work on your bikini figure while checking those emails!
The space often holds events and activities for its members, so you definitely won’t get bored.
The daily price is $25 and it’s $199 for a full month.
Cape Town is becoming somewhat of a start up hub in South Africa. The city is beautiful, there are lots of outdoor activities and beaches to explore in your free time. Check out TwentyFifty, a co-working and community space in the heart of Cape Town with event, working and communal areas to network and meet people. One of their best perks is that they offer you a personal business and postal address, very useful if you’re planning on staying for a while.
Wifi is 20Mbps up-and download.
Daily rate is $9.50, monthly $113 with 24/7 access.
Here you have it, 6 exotic co-working spaces by the beach! Now, what are you waiting for? Pack your sarong, sunscreen and laptop and book the next flight to the beach!
What are your favourite co-working spaces? Don’t keep em secret, share in the comments 🙂