Things you don’t realise you should care about until you start working & hoboing #1
That’s right, you read that title right. What, I hear you ask, have forks got to do with becoming a location independent digital nomad? Well stick with me, I promise that it has some relevance. And for those of you wondering where the sort of Star Wars reference will fit in, it won’t, I don’t need an excuse or reason for a Star Wars reference.
In a previous post, I talked about the sorts of things I cared about before setting off to become a digital nomad. I didn’t for a second think I had it all covered and would not find things I’d not thought about once on the road. What has been surprising though, are the sorts of things I’ve found out I will now think about when moving on.
It’s the little things and nice finishing touches that make a difference to a lot of things in life. You don’t really notice this, until they are not there. Before working out of a co-working space for more than a week, I don’t think I appreciated just how much the little things mattered. I mean you just need spot-on wifi, a desk, some quiet space to work, right?
This is fine if you are just popping in for a day or two, or even a week to a co-working space. However, once you’ve spent more time in a place, you start noticing other things such as:
…of the communal non-working areas such as kitchens and toilets. When there’s a general level of “not grimy, but not quite clean enough” that indicates these areas are not regularly cleaned to a good standard, it doesn’t sit well with me. I know there is a cleaner because the bins are emptied every day and the desks look pretty clean, but those other areas just aren’t up to standard.
Then there’s the cutlery. Who would have thought cutlery should be a consideration? Well, I’m telling you that it should have been. Why? Well, all I can say is…when I opened the cutlery drawer…
The spoons! The horror! I can’t even explain….they look like they’ve been sat in tea for an eternity! The mugs – don’t get me started, just as bad as the spoons.
Also, WHAT IS WITH THE COMPLETE LACK OF FORKS? I found one in the cutlery drawer (which also needs a good scrub) and then after that one time, couldn’t find the rogue fork again! I brought lunch in a couple of times forgetting about the lack of forks. I mean, I did consider eating my noodles with a spoon, but I didn’t fancy wearing them or getting them all over my face, so I just went and bought lunch instead.
The lack of decent coffee, plus the lack of decent receptacles with which to make tea, meant I spent a lot more than intended on buying coffee. Working people need caffeine, lack of it makes them grumpy, nobody likes grumpy co-workers.
Thank goodness for the lovely folks at the V & H Cafe, which was on my walk into the office. They caffeinated me and made me safe for the general public, and always did it with a friendly smile and hello.
All of the above are, I know, pretty trivial. I do recognise this, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s the little things.
The following 2 items, however, I will take more care to investigate & check properly when reviewing co-working spaces in the future.
If there are pictures, which there should be, I will pay careful attention to the chairs. I’ll be looking for places that don’t have a mismatch of different types of chairs. I’ll be looking for places that look like they have considered that people will be sitting and working all day and need to be comfortable. I only care because a day of bad posture really affects my neck and shoulders. I’ve also been suffering with a bruised rib and been seeing a chiropractor my last couple of weeks in Brighton, so this is important to me right now.
Entry into co-working space & focus
Is it purely a co-working area or are there actual office spaces there as well? Does the place you will be working have a reception area? If so, when is it manned, how often, how long is it unmanned, what happens when it is unmanned? What is the entry procedure for getting into the building and into the office? Is there an independent mechanism for getting in e.g. Fob, code, entry app, or do you have to rely on someone letting you in?
Why is this important? Independent entry is preferred of course so you are not bound by the opening hours. However, that is not always possible, which is why it really is necessary that if the opening hours are 9am, the staff really should be there a little earlier to ensure that you can gain entry at that time. There were a couple of incidences where the staff arrived late.
Independent entry is also preferred so that you are not disturbed by the constant buzzer for entry, particularly when the reception staff is prone to leaving the area unmanned for significant lengths of time. This was really disruptive to the co-workers who had to take it in turns to answer the door.
On the days where I wasn’t crashing with my friends at ProdPad in their office, I found this really annoying and disruptive to my ability to focus.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not awful, and if I was only here for a few days to a week, then I probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. However, it is those little things and nice finesses that make a great experience.
Know your destination seasons
In August, I made an impulsive decision to go to Mallorca in October instead of the originally planned Bristol. I booked my co-working and co-living space then, but got distracted and didn’t think about flights until later.
If I’d done more research, I’d have realised that the availability of flights during my selected dates of arrival, and particularly my departure, significantly plummet and thus the prices go waaaaay up! This one wins the #rookieNomad award for this month, I’m sure there’ll be more nomadic faux pas to join it as I go along.
3. Packing & Gear
I could and did predict this one, but you definitely always pack too much. I think I mentioned in an earlier post, too many socks for a start. I did also, have a mitigation plan for this by leaving a bag at my friends’ place in Birmingham so that when I return briefly before heading to Mallorca, I can dump what’s not needed and pick up anything that I wish I did have.
So that’s all for this installment of my #nomadLife. Next time, I’ll be talking about how I fared with Brighton.