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Found in Paradise: Coworking on Islands

Hubud, Bali

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Those making a more permanent home on an island typically face harsher environments, limited resources and usually have to work a lot harder to establish a market economy. More often than not, islands see many people come for holidays and then return to their working life in the big city. How do they overcome isolation and the certain difficulties to create a rich professional environment, and not simply get lost in paradise, but thrive in paradise?

Due to our ever-changing world, major difficulties faced by people living on islands, especially concerning travel and communication, are beginning to dissolve...so what does that mean for the development of professional communities on islands? Deskmag did some research on islands worldwide, and wanted to know if people saw coworking as a way to help grow a stronger, more connected professional community. We start by looking at BoxJelly in Honolulu, Hawaii and Hubud in Ubud, Bali.

We imagine: palm trees, beaches, monkeys swinging through the trees… during the long winter days, most of us would rather be drinking a beer in our swimsuits, than stuck going to work bundled up in every article of clothing we own. Yes, a vacation in Bali or Hawaii would be the perfect getaway destination. But what about those who don’t get away? You might ask yourself: “do people even have to work in paradise?” The answer is simple: of course.

The founders of Hubud, Peter Wall, John Alderson, and Steve Munroe, and Rechung Fujihira from BoxJelly are perfect examples of how professionals on islands are finding success by tapping into the coworking movement in paradise.  

What difficulties professional communities on islands face:

Ubud, with a population of about 30,000 people, is considered the go to place, when looking to explore the deeply rooted creative culture of Bali. It’s a major tourist attraction, but also fast-changing, and is now seeing a growing professional community.

One major issue that professionals face in Ubud is the erratic internet connection. “A big foundation of our offer is fast internet,” said Wall. It was a wise investment that now gives the option to those, whether they consider Bali home, or they are doing a little nomadic coworking, workers the chance to work without interruption due to a slow Wi-Fi connection.

In Honolulu, another major vacation destination, we find Boxjelly, which was the first coworking space to open up in Hawaii. “There are a lot of things going on now, so we really needed a rallying point where people could connect. I can honestly say that we’ve been a pretty big part of the resurgence of tech communites in Hawaii, specifically mobile start up deals and we do a lot of things with non profits and design,” Fujihira told Deskmag. Like Hubud, Honolulu’s main coworking space has also played a major role for professionals looking for a home base. “When it comes down to the start up community in Hawaii, we’ve been a kind of beacon,” said Fujihira.

Alderson explained that Bali has all of the things that people can see in a postcard, and much more. "It's a modern paradise with all the contrasts. This hub for the community can help people to feel grounded and connected in a fast-changing place."

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