Since launching Answers On A Postcard a little over a month ago, I've been getting into a new routine for my ideal day, trying to establish the perfect work & life balance, including where to work from. Not a huge fan of working from home (too easily distracted!), until recently I've usually decamped to one of my local coffee shops, ordered a cortado and started typing. Lovely in theory and some days a great recipe for productivity, but equally some days not and it can feel a little lonely out there in solopreneur land.
Turns out Corralejo has the answer though ... welcome to my new office at Hub Fuerteventura and my first experience of coworking in the Canary Islands!
Coworking you ask?
Coworking spaces are a growing trend in the working world. With more of us than ever going freelance, self-employed or working remotely, traditional office environments are in decline. And popping up globally in their place, as the perfect combination of a coffee shop, office space, community hub and meeting room, are cowork or hackspaces - a brilliant solution for those looking for a social, yet productive working environment.
Team that with the rise of digital-nomadism and more of us seeking a location independent lifestyle that allows us to travel and it's not hard to see why coworking is on the rise.
Hub Fuerteventura is one of a handful of coworking spaces to spring up recently in the Canary Islands and conveniently for me, it's located just a 5 minute walk from my apartment in Corralejo, near to the harbour and old town.
Having dropped in one day to say hello and find out a bit more about what goes on there, I was welcomed in by Sebastian, the super friendly founder of The Hub (as its affectionately known) and shown round the light, airy space.
Hub Fuerteventura is on two floors and offers different work environments depending on what you're looking for on any particular day. With clean, white walls decorated with bold splashes of colourful posters and the welcome additions of lots of lush green plants, the space feels modern, yet friendly and all the greenery adds a lovely sense of wellbeing.
The main space, where I normally work is an open plan office with hot desking for up to 15 people ... so you can just rock up with your laptop and get cracking. There are printing facilities and a communal kitchen with the essentials of a water filter and copious amounts of freshly brewed coffee on the house.
Most days, whatever time you turn up (it's open 24 hours) there are a handful of friendly faces and in between periods of work, there is time for some interesting chats about the projects people are working on or what their plans are to enjoy Fuerteventura. It's a creative environment, where collaboration and idea sharing happen naturally, but equally some times it's just a great place to share a coffee or a Friday afternoon beer and chat s**t. Much more fun than being sat in a coffee shop on my own.
If you need to knuckle down though, there is a 'quiet room' adjacent to the main space, with a board room table, meaning individuals or small teams can work uninterrupted to meet their deadline.
Downstairs is a Skype space, which with the fast Wi-Fi (sooooo much better than my apartment), is the perfect place to make calls or hold e-meetings. Plus there is a multi-purpose space if you want to stretch out on your yoga mat or even have a little siesta on the couch. Hmmm nap time :)
Who's it for?
Quite simply anyone and everyone! At the moment, there are other locals like me, looking for a more productive workspace than the couch in their PJs, plus travelling nomads here for a few weeks or months to enjoy the Canary Islands' lifestyle and learn to surf, whilst working on their latest project.
Career-wise there are freelancers in marketing, app development, web design and much more. One lady is a therapist who offers her clients remote Skype sessions, thus allowing her to work and travel. Another coworker is a novelist working on two new books. There are some people new to this entrepreneurial lifestyle and others who are well-versed in clocking up a few hours before heading for an afternoon surf.
Some of us live locally, some in Air BnBs and many in the coliving apartments that Sebastian offers just a couple of minutes walk from The Hub ... a real home away from home, where you can live like a local, in your own private room in a modern apartment, just round the corner from the sea!
Coworking and the Canary Islands = the perfect combination
The Canary Islands are increasingly becoming a hot-spot for cowork spaces like The Hub and it's not hard to see why ... with year-round sunshine, the low cost of living, incredible landscapes for outdoor activities and some of the best surf in Europe ... why be sat working at your kitchen table in your home country, when you could be living and working in paradise!
The islands offer so many activities between them and many people enjoy island-hopping to make the most of all the different experiences to travel. Many of the coworkers are return 'hubbers', having enjoyed their first experience of Fuerteventura so much, that they've booked a few more months of island life into their year plan.
And I agree! Working at Hub Fuerteventura is the perfect addition to the concept of my ideal day. One day this week, I was up at 8am, I hiked a volcano for a couple of hours, had a quick dip in the sea, made healthy lunch for a friend and then headed to the cowork space mid afternoon for a Skype meeting and to work into the early evening.
Meeting people in the office also naturally leads to beers after work and activities like group hikes/roadtrips ... plus Seb is on hand to help organise surf, SUP and lots more for the co-workers. It almost feels like you're in a new team, even though you might work for yourself.
My new office ...?
Absolutely! It feels like Hub Fuerteventura might be the missing piece of the puzzle in my work / life balance.
Of course some days of self-employment are all about the luxury of working on sofa and watching Netflix, but productivity-wise it feels like adding a cowork space into the structure of my day, is super helpful in staying on task and getting things ticked of the to-do list.
Plus, it's great to meet new interesting people at The Hub and be part of a community of like-minded creative entrepreneurs all looking to work smarter, not harder.
And on that note ... maybe it's time for the beach... :)