It’s a concept I came across a couple of years ago through a community I’m part of, Digital Nomad Girls (DNG). Founder Jenny Lachs realised that her members, many of whom are freelancers working remotely from different parts of the world, were struggling to be productive without the sense of community and accountability that employed people get from working in an office.
She decided to create it. Members log into the DNG Zoom room at an allotted time, everyone introduces themselves and shares what they’ll be working on that day. The host then starts a timer for 25 minutes and everyone goes on mute to work intensely, before having a 5-minute chatting break. Repeat four times.
London-based Laura Amenta is the founder of Palms Up Club, which offers web design services and online courses for wellness professionals and yoga teachers. She says when she first heard about the concept of virtual co-working, her mind was “literally blown.”
“A freelance friend of mine had joined a community for virtual co-working and she was super enthusiastic about it and told me to sign up,” she recalls. “I was immediately excited about it as I’ve been working on my own for quite a while. And while I love being self-employed, sometimes it can get very lonely and it’s also hard to focus and be productive. Plus, I was lacking a good routine and structure in my working days.”
Virtual co-working is now an essential part of her weekly routine. “There is a session every Monday morning at 9 a.m., which I love because it helps to get a really good start into the week,” she says. She usually does at least two other sessions a week too. “I think most freelancers know how hard it can be to build a good routine and stick to it. Before the virtual co-working I was feeling quite lost with that, but now I have a more structured working week.”