We had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Melissa Mesku, Founding Editor of New Worker Magazine. As an advocate...
About 25% of all employees worldwide complete at least some of their work remotely. Some consider themselves to be digital nomads. These perpetual travelers leverage technology to get work done independent of their location while meeting new people and experiencing ever-changing surroundings. Traveling workers require a specific environment in order to get their work done, but often are either away from their home base or might not even have an office, period. Because of this, remote workers are one of the single largest segments of the coworking drop-in population.
What keeps digital nomads from using coworking spaces? What do they love about the coworking spaces where they’ve done drop-in’s? Hoping to get some insight into this segment of the coworking population, we went straight to the source. We asked our users who travel for work to share what coworking spaces could do to appeal more directly to them. After working through our survey results, we’ve summarized five trends here which will help you make your coworking space more appealing to drop-in clients.
“Biggest complaint generally about coworking spaces (especially those in more exotic locations) is poor internet connection.” — Robert Fenton, Head Honcho (from UK, currently working in Dominican Republic)
“Make sure there is great internet. Our livelihood depends on great internet.” — Cacinda Maloney, Travel Writer & Social Media Influencer (from USA, currently working in Canada)
While good internet is an important feature for the average coworking member, it’s completely indispensable for the traveling worker. Internet allows them to stay connected with their clients, manage their bank accounts, and get the work done that helps them sustain their nomadic lifestyle. Poor internet speeds (or failing to properly advertise the strength of the connection) was the top deterrent we heard over and over again that keeps travelers from working out of a new spot. However knowing that there is good internet at a coworking space is one of the main features which will draw traveling workers out of working from their hotel room or a coffee shop.
Offering a lightning-fast internet connection (and promoting this point prominently on their website) is probably the single most important thing a coworking space can do to attract drop-ins. Unsure of your internet speed? Check out speedtest.net, a free and simple way to test your download and upload speeds with one click of a button.
“There is no such thing as too many meetups. Even those that aren’t related to an industry or field. Sports, gaming, life advice, beer; the meetups are a very important way for nomads to socialize.” — Paddy McShane, EMEA Customer Success Manager (from New Zealand, currently working in Ireland)
“Provide more opportunities to connect and engage. Some coworking spaces are better at it than others, but there is always room for improvement. Coworking exists because of people, and sharing community should not be trivialized or ignored. Coworking managers should really be taking leadership on that, whether the digital nomad is dropping in for a day or taking residency. The coworking community is so important.” — Eric Gould, Mobile Web Developer (from the USA, currently working in the USA)
Constantly traveling exposes digital nomads to some phenomenal experiences, but as humans we all crave connection. Digital nomads love using coworking spaces as a chance to connect with the people who call a neighborhood home. They’re often only in town for a short while, so meeting others who they can grab a drink with after a work session can go a long way in making them feel grounded.
“It is all going to come down to the benefits of using one as opposed to working from a hotel room, or a local coffee shop. Would I have access to equipment I don’t currently have? Is the environment comfortable to work in? Is there a kitchen I can use? Are the people who work there friendly? Is the price affordable?” — Dave Briggs, Freelance Writer and Social Media Manager (from Ukraine, currently working in Greece)
Digital nomads are used to working remotely (and solo). They wouldn’t adopt the lifestyle if they didn’t feel comfortable spending time alone. This means that for some, the biggest draw for a coworking space is the amenities that they wouldn’t be able to get by working from “home.” As many digital nomads live out of hotels, airbnbs, and other types of accommodation, access to a full kitchen and other amenities can make a coworking space feel more like a home away from home than the spot where they lay their head at night.
Many digital nomads live in accommodations alongside individuals who are traveling for leisure. When advertising your coworking space, emphasize the productivity to be found when surrounding yourself with other work-minded individuals. This can serve as a great way to attract traveling workers into your coworking venue.
“Coworking spaces would be better if they weren’t so membership based. Some of us just are in town for a day and want to drop-in and work.” — Janice Chaka, Global HR Consultant (from UK, currently working in Mexico)
“I’d love to see more coworking spaces offer half-day plans. I don’t usually work more than 3-4 hours in a row and often times have my work completely split by time zones.” — Amar Ghose, CEO & CoFounder (from USA, currently working in Germany)
Remote workers often keep odd hours. They might have international clients split across disparate time zones. They might need a place to hole up for a few hours to plug into the internet but aren’t interested in staying the whole day. Perhaps, like our guest contributor Ansley Sawyer, they’re interested in using a coworking space in non-peak hours to upload video files.
Half-day plans and other flexible options can be a great way to appeal to the traveling workers. Because of this, we allow venues who list on our marketplace to advertise half-day and/or hourly in addition to full day drop-ins. If you’re uninterested in attracting someone if they’re only going to pay for one four-hour stint, consider offering half-day packages for workers who would be interested in dropping in for four-hour work stints with some regularity.
“Give us a physical sense of belonging and sometimes – a much needed reality check.” — Jonas Nyström, Jack of all Trades (from Sweden, currently working in Sweden)
Community is often toted as the most important part of what makes coworking spaces tick, but many spaces over-emphasize fostering connections between their long-term tenants. This can leave drop-in members feeling alienated or too intimidated to make connections. Take steps to make everyone feel welcome and a part of the community, even if they’re just there for the day. It can go a long way towards encouraging a steady stream of new visitors.
How can you do this? A great place to start is having a dedicated community manager or someone similar to engage new visitors in conversation and connect them with others in the space who have similar interests or a similar skill set. Event series, as well as welcoming vibes around the coffee station or office kitchen, are other great ways to engage visiting nomads, too.
Do you frequently drop into coworking spaces? As a host, have you found a great way to provide a welcoming environment to traveling workers? Share your additional tips in the comments!