Found in Paradise: Coworking on Islands
A unique coworking community:
“Ubud has an abundance of positive energy, tangibly felt by those who visit,” said Alderson "so it's amazing to offer a cowork space with this as a default". Hubud only opened about a month ago, and has already seen a wonderful reaction from both visitors and locals alike.
“We [Boxjelly] opened almost two years ago now, and things are kind of popping now,” said Fujihira. But he also explained that it was very hard for them to get started in the beginning, because virtually no one seemed to know what coworking was. Now that Boxjelly has been open for some time, “not only are people staring to really appreciate it, but we see those also planning their own coworking spaces as well.”
Both the founders of Hubud and Boxjelly placed emphasis on the unique community one finds on an island, and the benefits their coworking spaces have had as a result of becoming a part of this world. “Our local partner just built the café, who is also the chief of Padangtegal village.” Because of these types of connections, Wall continued to explain that they now have a great “bedrock” because of their common ground with local partners in Bali, with whom they had a Balinese ceremony to bless the space.
“I think, as far as being on an island, there is a few things: on the island everybody plays nice with each other, it’s not the kind of place where you burn any bridges, because there are not a lot of people to interact with and you’re not going anywhere, since you’re in the middle of the pacific ocean,” Fujihira told Deskmag.
As a result, Boxjelly, which was originally a college project and has become a very real way to expand networks but also plays an important role in the local community. “It’s become one of those centers, so I think because of the sense of community, everyone in the island wanted to be a part of it.”
Alderson and Wall were also very enthusiastic when talking to us about Hubud providing a space for encounters between gifted individuals from radically diverse backgrounds. "Ubud is brimming with a full spectrum of talents and ways of seeing," Alderson explained “not least the extraordinary hands-on artisanal skills" common to their Balinese hosts. They took us on a virtual tour of the space, which was filled with locally designed artwork and furniture, which complimented the already incredibly beautiful space made out bamboo.
They also told us about an Indonesian NGO that has placed a team in Hubud, which operates an online marketplace getting sponsors to help distribute life-changing technologies throughout the developing world. “These are the type of people that we think will attract others who are taking the challenges of the developing world and running with them,” explained Wall.
Hubud prides itself on being part of “a diverse community that breaks down barriers,” which includes Balinese members, who are very much rooted to the island, professionals who are looking to leave Jakarta and then long-term expatriates, and those who now have the option of becoming more connected to the island through the coworking space.
What plans do they have for the future?
We asked the founders of Hubud how long they were planning on staying in Bali, seeing that they are expats. “For the expats among our members, the more successful we are in helping them create a professional network, the longer people can stay and come to contribute locally, and that could be a great change in the economy,” added Wall.
“The more successful we are, and the more we can help people [create a professional network] the longer people can stay and that could be a great change in the economy,” added Wall.
For Fujihira, he explained that since he started coworking he has greatly expanded his network, had the chance to travel, and also meet incredibly interesting people. He believes that it can take Hawaii from being just a tourist destination, and turn it into a wonderful place to work.
“I feel that our quality of life is the best quality of life in the world compared to a lot of places, and there’s no reason, with the way that things are now, why you shouldn’t be working here". He told us that he believes there could be a really strong tech economy, with professionals who have the freedom to work well and still have the chance to enjoy the amazing lifestyle that Hawaii has to offer.
“It’s a beautiful place and coworking is one piece of the puzzle that let’s people have what they want… that a life balance, you know, you build your own life and when you cowork you can also take responsibility for your own life.”
*In an earlier version of this article it was written that the capital city of Bali was Ubud. We want to clarify that it is in fact Denpasar, and we apologize for the mistake.