Recently, I wrote a blog article about the trends and developments in flex-working. From the well- known commercial flexwork locations, and working at people’s homes, to work in a fully equipped work-van.
This Flex-work will now get a new dimension with the latest trend: Co-Working and Co-living. To learn more about this new concept and to experience it myself, I traveled to Sun-And-Co, based in the town of Javea at the Costa del Sol in Spain.
Sun-And-Co is one of the few initiatives in the world, that offers both the concept of Co-Living and Co-Working in one place. But before I tell you about my experiences, a short introduction of the key players in this new way of living and working;
The Digital Nomads: people who choose to live and work in remote locations which suits them best, at that given moment. Some of these Digital Nomads even have no permanent home or address anymore. They’re always on the move, have no possessions, and make conscious decisions how to live and where to work. This as long as there is a digital connection with the rest of the world thus being able to work and generate some income.
Workationers: people who just want to get away in another setting for a week or so, but also want to work. A combination of working in a relaxed holiday environment for a change of scenery and fresh input.
After a somewhat lengthy journey, I arrived at the villa of Sun-And-Co. After shaking hands with the host, I was introduced to the other “guests”. As it appears a motley collection of different types of people. Various nationalities are present such as Estonia, Russia, India, America, France, Germany, Netherlands, England, Spain.
After installing my stuff in the well-equipped bedroom, I was searching for a nice spot to settle myself, to open my laptop and start some work. Although a good choice of working rooms were available, it soon became apparent that most people have chosen the central living-work-eat spot. Which is a more cozy surrounding to work at. The atmosphere in general was friendly and soon you’re chatting with the other people present.
The next morning there was an intro-game, to introduce yourself. This as a personal introduction, which is quite nice to know whom you spend a week with, but also as a short introduction about your work activities. A agenda was prepared for the joint activities, but not mandatory. This agenda was including both social and work related activities. In this case, the location at the sunny Spanish coast was ideal for sun, sea and beach activities such as kayaking, swimming, beach walk, volleyball, paddle-surfing etc. In addition in-house activities as joint cooking, yoga, a movie night, etc. were organized.
Regarding the work-people, I noticed two occupational groups were mainly represented: the software programmers, and the marketing/business people. It seemed like there was not much in between regarding occupations. This can be explained as these professions are particularly suitable for digital and remote operations.
In this Co-Working place you have the choice to work on your own assignments, but also have the opportunity to share your knowledge with the group. Again a work agenda was created, where you might like to join in if interested, but not mandatory.
One of the work agenda activities was a SkillShare session. Here you can share your knowledge or skills which might help the other guests. So you give a presentation (not a sales pitch) so others can learn something from it. After these SkillShare pitches nice conversations were started and lively discussions occurred. For example about topics such as marketing trends, new ways of cooperation, and big data visualization solutions.
In addition, you can take part in a Mastermind session. This when you have a problem or question to ask the group for help. As such. For example, someone asked help regarding her next steps in her career path. I introduced a new project to the group and asked how they see this, and what I could do to improve this project.
During the introduction game everyone was also asked about their motivations of why going to this Sun-and-Co location. Different answers were given like; a get away from the too familiar environment, believing in a traveling life, to meet new people, get to explore interesting countries and experiencing a refreshing view. In addition the warmer climate in comparison with their mostly colder country of origin, was also an important motivation to choose this Sun-And-Co location in Spain.
What I noticed in the group dynamics was that everyone was continuing their natural way of living. Meaning people were maintaining their own eating habits, sleep rhythms and other activities, and not immediately adapting to the local rhythm of the co-living community. Everyone soon finds a balance in their individual and social acting and behavior.
This co-living & working, is a relatively new “lifestyle” which at this moment attracts people who want to push their limits. But it can also be attractive way, for getting a refreshing view of yourself, and your work.
Living and working in such a community is perhaps a little more challenging because you’re pushed out of your comfort-zone with these variety of people, and living so closely with one another. But the outcome and results are slightly sharper than in a regular and well-known environment.
The concept of both co-working & co-living is a nice initiative. Sometimes It touches the borders of your social capacities, but at the same time brings some new and different dynamics to your life. I experienced the concept as refreshing, and am looking forward for my next business-life journey and stay.