Coworking Spaces for Beginners

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A Beginners Guide to Coworking Spaces:

What To Know Before You Go

With the digital nomad lifestyle on the rise, so too is the demand for appropriate workspaces that provide an option to coffee shops, home offices and business centres. 

Since the spaces first began appearing in the 2000s, coworking has become a global phenomenon, offering alternative workspaces for self-employed freelancers, web entrepreneurs, and other remote workers.

These dynamic environments offer a unique blend of professional atmosphere, community spirit, and flexibility, attracting a diverse range of professionals. However, if you’ve never stepped foot in a coworking space before, the prospect of your first visit can feel a *tad* overwhelming.

This beginner’s guide to coworking spaces will equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate your first coworking experience with professionalism and ease.

What are Coworking Spaces?

You can check out our previous posts for a more detailed look into what coworking spaces are, and who uses them!

But, put simply, coworking spaces are shared offices and work spaces for independent professionals, entrepreneurs, and remote workers. 

Unlike traditional office setups, coworking spaces offer a flexible and dedicated work environment, fostering a sense of belonging, especially for those workers who don’t have access to a traditional work setup.

They are built upon five key values: collaboration, openness, sustainability, accessibility, and community. 

How Do Coworking Spaces Work?

Coworking spaces come in a variety of styles and offerings. Here’s a breakdown of what you can typically expect:

Membership options:

Each different option will typically be priced differently and offer different perks along with access to workspace. Pricing structures for coworking spaces vary.  Some offer daily passes, while others have monthly memberships with tiered options based on amenities and dedicated desk space.  Do your research to find a space that fits your budget and work style.

  • Hot desks: These are unassigned workspaces, allowing you to find an available desk each day. This is typically the most flexible and basic option offered by most coworking spaces and this type of membership can be bought at a daily rate or in monthly or weekly packages depending on your needs. 
  • Dedicated desks: You get your own designated desk in a shared space. This option works for those remote workers who tend to stay in one location for longer periods. 
  • Private offices: Ideal for teams or those needing a quieter environment. This is perfect if you need to make lots of calls without being disruptive or if you just prefer your own space to focus. The private offices are typically the most expensive option you’ll find in most coworking spaces.


High-speed Wi-Fi, printing facilities, conference rooms, and sometimes even nap pods are common offerings.

Shop around to see what the different facilities are like and what they have to offer included in their pricing. Some will provide nothing more than a desk and wifi, while others even have gyms and cafes for their members to use.

Think about how much time you will be spending at your coworking space and how many distractions you can cope with.

Community Events:

Many spaces host workshops, networking events, and social gatherings, fostering collaboration and idea-sharing – one of the core ideas behind coworking spaces. If you are a solo traveller then these options might be great for you as you can easily build connections with likeminded people.

man working in a coworking space

The Different Types of Coworking Spaces Available

  • Traditional Coworking: The most common type, offering open floor plans and hot desks.
  • Industry-Specific Spaces: Cater to specific industries like tech startups or creatives.
  • Enterprise Coworking: Large spaces designed for established companies with flexible office needs.
  • Social Coworking: Focus on community building and social interaction, often with cafes or lounges.
  • Free coworking spaces: the library is a great alternative coworking space as they are typically free to visit and use, are quiet and good for focusing and have tonnes of resources perfect for research. I also would suggest looking at nearby cafes as many offer free wifi and have plugs so you can settle in for an hour or two of work for only the price of a coffee!

What to Expect When Using a Coworking Space?

  1. Professional Vibe:
    Coworking spaces offer a professional atmosphere and a clear separation between work and home life. Unlike working from a cluttered room, a hotel bed, or a busy hostel,  coworking spaces can significantly enhance your focus and productivity by providing you with a dedicated space that is solely for work. 
  2. Networking Opportunities:
    Surrounded by like-minded individuals, coworking spaces provide a breeding ground for collaboration and idea exchange, especially if you are an outgoing individual. You might find yourself networking with potential clients, partners, or even mentors. Even if you just want somewhere to sit and work, sometimes it’s just nice to be surrounded by other people.
  3. Flexibility and Affordability: Coworking spaces offer the flexibility to scale your workspace needs up or down as your business grows. This is a significant advantage over traditional office leases with long-term commitments, especially if you are a digital nomad who never stays in one place for too long. Additionally, coworking spaces eliminate the overhead costs associated with maintaining a private office.

How to Find a Coworking Space?

The quickest way to find a coworking space is simply through Google (or whatever your preferred search engine is). Just search for ‘coworking spaces near me’ or [location + coworking space] and you’ll get a list of the local options. 

There are also a ton of great resources online where you can find recommendations including a dedicated website for finding coworking spaces called Coworker. Coworker is a directory that allows you to find and book coworking spaces across the world. Currently most of their listings are in Europe or America but the site is growing continuously with over 25,000 coworking spaces already listed. 

I also really like to use Reddit and the dedicated forums for travellers and remote workers to find coworking spaces as you can get recommendations straight form other nomads who have personal experience. You can also ask around at your accommodation wherever you are and try to connect with locals or other nomads and get their advice for the best places. 

We’ve got a guide on the best coworking spaces in Koh Phangan, Thailand that you can check out. Also, I always include some of my favourite coworking spaces in each country in our series on digital nomad visa guides which includes Spain, Italy, Greece and Türkiye

How to Find a Coworking Space That Is a Good Fit for You?

  • Location, Location, Location: Consider your commute and proximity to clients or collaborators. Bigger cities tend to have more options than smaller towns. 
  • Ambience Matters: Do you thrive in a bustling environment or prefer a quieter space? Your environment can significantly impact your ability to focus and produce good work – if you are looking for a longer commitment make sure you shop around, visit before you commit and check out places you like in person. If you are just hotdesking for a few days, choose a place that you like the vibe of or mix and match and spend one day in one location and the next in another. 
  • Amenities Check: Make a list of the amenities you need, like meeting rooms or printing facilities, wifi speeds, or even just a kettle.
  • Community Culture: Is the space geared towards your industry or interests? Does it have a social vibe or is it more individual?
  • Budgeting for Coworking: Compare pricing structures and membership options across different spaces as these can vary wildly.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Coworking Space

  • Establish a Routine: Treat your coworking space like a traditional office. Set work hours, take breaks, and maintain a professional demeanour. This will help you to focus, maintaining productivity while avoiding burnout.
  • Network and Collaborate: Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with other members. Participate in community events and introduce yourself to people in your industry.
  • Respect the Space: Clean up after yourself and be mindful of noise levels. Avoid using speakerphone for calls and be courteous to your fellow coworkers.
digital nomads networking and coworking in thailand with wifi. coworking spaces thailand

Basic Office Etiquette for Coworking Spaces

Most spaces have established guidelines to foster a positive work environment so check these out for your specific coworking space. In the meantime here are some general rules about working in shared spaces:

  • Mind the Noise: Keep phone calls short and quiet wherever possible, or book a private room if necessary. You don’t have to sit in silence but try to avoid loud conversations that might disrupt others.
  • Kitchen Etiquette: Clean up after yourself in the shared kitchen (if there is one) and don’t leave dirty dishes or half empty cups behind.
  • Be Scent-sitive: Avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes that might bother others, and maybe don’t bring anything too pungent in to snack on (no one wants to work in a fishy office space).
  • Respect Common Areas: Don’t monopolise conference rooms or common areas for extended periods. Make sure you tidy up after yourself, throwing away any rubbish and leaving the desk tidy for the next user.
  • Be a Good Neighbour: Be friendly, courteous, and approachable if you can, but also understand when someone is focused and needs quiet time – headphones on is the universal sign for please don’t talk to me!!

Insider Tips from Seasoned Coworker

As a digital nomad I’ve been to *quite a few* coworking spaces now and while I am still learning and adapting to work styles that best suit me, here are some insights that I’ve picked up so far:

  • Pack Light, Work Smart: Many coworking spaces offer printing, scanning, and other basic office supplies. However, it’s always a good idea to bring your laptop, charger, and headphones.
  • Network Like a Pro: Strike up conversations with people around you. You never know who you might meet or what opportunities might arise through these connections.
  • Embrace the Flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of coworking is the ability to adapt your work environment to your needs. Feeling uninspired at your desk? Take a break in the lounge area or book a meeting room for a brainstorming session. Many of these spaces operate on extended or 24-hour schedules which means that you can make them work for you! Don’t feel that you have to commit to the standard 9-5, find timings that suit you, and work when you are most productive.
Digital nomad working from a hammock in thailand

Embrace the Coworking Experience

Used as a term to describe a working arrangement in which people from different teams and companies come together to work in a single shared place, coworking spaces offer a unique blend of professional atmosphere, community spirit, and flexibility. Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or just starting out, a coworking space can be the key to unlocking a more productive, fulfilling, and connected work experience.

Coworking spaces come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer open-plan seating with a vibrant atmosphere, while others provide dedicated desks or private offices for those who need a quieter space to focus. Many coworking spaces host workshops, networking events, and social gatherings, offering valuable learning and connection opportunities. There really is something to suit everyone no matter your job, work style and preferences. 

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