The 6 Most Unique Co-Working Spaces in the WorldBy Kristen Pope February 23rd, 2016
Tired of working alone in the local coffee shop? Why not work from the beaches of Bali surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs? Or how about bringing your laptop out on a ship deck, soaking in the sun, and working on your latest assignment while sailing?
This isn’t a cubicle-dweller’s fantasy—it’s a reality for freelancers who are taking advantage of the growing number of eccentric co-working opportunities. Here are six of the best.
This floating co-working space targets techies, creatives, and digital nomads. It holds up to 20 passengers sail at a time, and even offers sailing lessons on board. Be prepared for some cozy quarters, though, since you’ll be lodging in shared berths with up to three other passengers.
The inaugural voyage departs from Phuket, Thailand, sometime this spring. From there, it will head to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The €980-a-week introductory fee (about $1,100 in U.S. dollars; the price will also go up over time, according to the website) includes accommodations, food, and Internet access, as well as some day trips. Every participant will also have free access to kayaks, snorkels, scuba diving compressors, and beach toys.
Spending day after day on a small boat with 20 strangers sounds like it could get old quickly, but it could be an incredible traveling experience for the right kind of person. In 2017, the boat will move to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and the Mediterranean, if that’s more your speed.
2. Remote Year
Planning a year-long trip around the world can be a logistical nightmare, and many aspiring nomads are hesitant to go at it alone. That’s where Remote Year comes in.
Remote Year brings together 75 professionals who travel the world together for a year. You spend about a month in each of 12 different locations around the globe, working on your digitally dependent jobs along the way. Besides taking care of all the travel logistics and accommodations, the program also provides a common workspace with Internet and different types of activities, trips, and tours along the way.
It will run you $27,000 in total, including a $5,000 down payment and $2,000 monthly fees for the first 11 months (similar to an average one-bedroom rental in Oakland, Calif.). The 2016 class, which includes stops in Morocco, Colombia, and Serbia, among other destinations, departs June 1.
So what’s it like to travel the world with Remote Year? Stephanie Walden, one current participant, wrote about her experience on Mashable, noting that many people struggled with the changing locations and time zones, especially for those working with U.S. clients. However, she did find her rhythm over time.
Heather Lee, a spokesperson for the program, touts the benefits: “The research is overwhelming that remote workers are more engaged, happier, and more productive, and in turn, employers have higher employee retention. On a personal level, each participant gains unique cultural insights and experiences, builds on their own skills and passions, and gains lifelong global networks.”
Hacker Paradise fills the niche for remote workers who want a shorter international experience, with trips as short as two weeks at a time. The program was mainly built for developers, designers, and entrepreneurs, but it’s also open to other creative types.
“The main thing we look for is someone who has a track record of working on side projects, or has a specific passion project they’d like to work on during their time with us,” said co-founder Casey Rosengren. “ If someone is creative and interested in the kind of community we’re creating, we encourage them to err on the side of applying.”
The 2016 travel slate includes trips to Bali, Vietnam, and Portugal. The minimum time to join is two weeks, but the longer you commit, the less you pay. In Southeast Asia, you’ll pay $600 a week for the program and housing if you’re only staying for two or three weeks, but that price plunges to only $300 a week if you’re staying for the full 12-week season.
The program is typically tax deductible. If money’s a little tight, Hacker Paradise offers a contributor program that lets you save half off the program fee—but not housing—if you’re volunteering three or four hours a week. You can also save some money by sharing a room in some locations.
Half climbing collective, half co-working space, this facility based in Somerville, Mass., holds its workspace in an unconventional location: on top of a 22-foot climbing wall. The desks offer views of other climbers grunting their way up obstacles and conquering the wall. You can have a meeting on the wall or break up the day with a bouldering session.
Membership costs $1,150 a year or $115 a month. A day pass is $25. The 40,000-square-foot facility features 28,000 square feet of climbing space, as well as yoga and fitness classes, a café, sauna, and community events.
The Surf Office is exactly what it sounds like: a co-working and living space where you can also surf whenever you want. It currently has locations in Lisbon and the Canary Islands—the Lisbon office is a 25-minute train ride to the beach, but the Canary Islands location is right on the water.
Surfing isn’t actually required. Only about 30 percent of participants actually go surfing in Lisbon, and about 65 percent surf in the Canary Islands.
Rates start at €65 euros a day (about $73 U.S. dollars) for a single room, or even less if you’d like to share with someone else. Food isn’t included, but the facility has a fully equipped kitchen, the neighborhood has plenty of restaurants, and participants frequently hold community dinners.
6. Duke Studios
This collaborative workspace in Leeds, England, is geared toward artistic freelancers. It offers co-working, desk rentals, and studio space options ranging from £85 to £360 per month ($120 to $500), though some arrangements cost extra.
What do you get for your membership? Access to the Motherfrickinlaser for one. For an additional fee, you can have items cut or engraved with the laser, which has a 900 millimeter by 600 millimeter bed size and can be used on most materials other than metal. Or take advantage of Vinylrichie, a 1.2-meter-wide vinyl cutting machine that can slice everything from tiny stickers to large installation projects. If the names don’t get you, at least the perks should.