Gone are the days of the typical office set up – with work and homes intermingling due to the pandemic, people are looking at interesting and unique locations where they can travel to and work remotely. Enter co-working and co-living spaces which allow people to live and work from a different environment other than their homes or offices.
The pandemic has brought major changes to the way we live, travel and work. Many companies such as Microsoft, Google, Twitter and DropBox have announced long term permanent work from home options for employees. Further, with the rise of digital nomads, remote workers and location-independent entrepreneurs, various organisations are looking to tap the market to provide interesting spaces for people to live and work in, remotely.
Such spaces allow people with similar ideas and values to come together, share their lives and work and contribute to a larger cause - if built responsibly, co-working and co-living spaces could even be environmentally sustainable with essential resources such as electricity, water and gas being shared amongst the members.
While many such places have suffered due to the pandemic and have had to sell their space, others have thrived - with many organisations looking to reduce their office space and move non-core functions into remote areas, the demand for co-working and co-living spaces could see a further increase.
We take a look at some unique co-working and co-living spaces across the world.
The Crypto Cruise Ship: Imagine working and living onboard a cruise ship with other like-minded souls. Panama-based Ocean Builders is in the process of procuring an unused ship, the MS Satoshi, from Carnival cruises to convert it into a remote work centre and entrepreneurial incubator for digital nomads, YouTube influencers, startups and crypto enthusiasts. Apart from living and working quarters, the cruise will offer guests yoga and fitness classes, a swimming pool and a 5,000 square foot theatre for meetings and conventions, live performances and movies.
The move comes at a time when the cruise industry has been hit badly due to the virus. On its website, Ocean Builders state that they adhere to the newest cruise industry health and safety standards to create the ‘healthiest and safest place to stay in’. People have the option of ‘wearing a mask, social distancing or taking preventive doses of hydroxychloroquine.’
The company will start auctioning the first batch of 100 rooms from November 5 and plans to start onboarding from January 2021.
Arctic Co-working Lodge: This is as remote as it can get! The Arctic Co-working Lodge, launched in 2018, is a co-living and co-working space located in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, known for its dramatic peaks and arctic fjords.
Co-founded by Rolf Oftedal and Stian Morel, Arctic Coworking Lodging offers both deluxe rooms and dormitories and working spaces which have beautiful views of the mountains. It also offers fast WiFi, comfortable living quarters and an amazing view of polar bears and the aurora borealis.
Reaching the lodge could be a challenge though – you need to fly from Oslo to Leknes and then rent a car to the lodge, which is 20 minutes away from the airport.
Village Underground: Design-wise, workspaces couldn’t get any cooler than this. Village Underground, a creative co-working space in Lisbon, Portugal, is made up of two junked buses and 14 shipping containers. Despite the rather rustic look, the premise contains airconditioned work and meeting spaces and WiFi 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Village Underground is a hit amongst artists, entrepreneurs and digital nomads. It even has a restaurant and a recording studio.
Coboat: This may not come as cheap as many of the other co-working spaces, but it sure is glamorous. Digital nomads have the option of sailing, staying and working on board a catamaran with the Coboat. Equipped with WiFi and other facilities that help make work easy, Coboat also offers diving classes, yoga and other socialising options to those who wish to work and live there.
On the Coboat, you will be in close proximity with your fellow co-workers for the few days or week that you sign up for. In the process, the founders Karsten Knorr and Gerald Schombs also hope to educate guests about ocean pollution and ways to generate solutions to counter it.
Brooklyn Boulders: First-time visitors could easily mistake this space for a gym or an adventure centre – it is a combination of these, plus a team building, co-working space. Brooklyn Boulders, which operates across five locations in the United States, features fitness and cardio machines, huge climbing walls, a yoga room, sauna facility, event spaces, free WiFi and workspaces.
Here, climbers in harnesses and gym enthusiasts mingle with laptop equipped remote workers and entrepreneurs. For those who are up for it, a typical day would consist of work, a break for climbing or sweating it out at the gym on-premise, some refreshments, more work and more adrenalin pumping. And for those who want some peace and quiet, there is even a soundproof room.
The Collective Canary Wharf: The largest co-living and co-working space in the world, The Collective Canary Wharf, located in London, houses around 705 people and aims to take care of the issue of lack of affordable housing by offering a shared space for people to live and work in. The building has studios equipped with workspaces, a pool, lounges, spa, gyms restaurant and everything else one would need to make life and work, comfortable.
According to the founder of the company, Reza Merchant, the space has so many services at hand that residents would not have to venture out for anything. Residents live in shared apartments with communal lounges, shared bathrooms and kitchens. The Collective, which allows people to stay for a night or move in for a longer period of time, also has properties in New York and Berlin.