It’s official. The working space is not what it used to be. Many of the gainfully employed are swapping out their traditional nine-to-five set-ups for the freedom of solo work. But the problem they face is how and where that happens, how to be effective, inspired and efficient as a singular entity. That’s where co-working comes in, allowing freelancers to work side by side in an office-like environment (only better) that’s not paying them a salary.
Enter Nomads & Co. According to their tagline it’s ‘a co-working haven’ – in Parktown North, Joburg that’s quite honestly a game changer. We’ve seen co-working spaces pop up in this city before, but none with the conviction and design clout of Nomads & Co. It’s the brainchild of Lizette Watts – a freelance writer and ex HL intern with a vision and her business partner Donna Peter, a development consultant and brand new mum to baby Alex. Both of them are Parkhurst locals, familiar with the challenges of being self employed. ‘You either have a coffee shop, or your kitchen or dining room table. So we felt a third option was needed, a space where you can be productive whilst engaging with a like-minded community,’ Donna explains.
Backed by the idea that proximity stimulates productivity, they’ve created a space where all the needs of the freelancer have been met with high speed, fiber enabled wifi, printing and scanning solutions, and a range of zones for individual work styles. ‘People work in different ways,’ says Lizette, and so they’ve created options. There’s a quieter counter top area for those who need solace, a more social café style area with loose tables that facilitate connectivity and a sunny boardroom with a writable paint wall for conferences and workshops, plus a completely private space for one on one meetings and consultation. Trust us, it’s a space that makes you want to work.
But why stop there? They’ve a gamut of tempting extras. They offer a shared library of books on business, lifestyle and design, plus you can order (for purchase) any book currently in print…on the planet, as well as buy beautiful stationery, art prints and covetable mags like Cereal and Kinfolk directly from their in house stationery and book shop. You can also make use of their Green Cycles bicycle commute system. There’s free tea and coffee from a stylish drip coffee station and a neat kitchen where you can either bring in your own lunch or order in from The Bowery.
They also try to facilitate collaboration between members if they see a link in their work, either informally or through their monthly creative workshops. ‘The last Friday of every month we host an In House Social for our members, with pizza and wine for regulars to meet and connect. We want to create a community,’ says Lizette. They’ll soon be offering (to the public) networking supperclubs and meet the artist evenings, kicking off on 10 September with artist Maria Magdalena van Wyk.
‘We were aiming for something between hot-desking and a stylish café,’ Donna explains. ‘Stylish’ is one way of putting it, if you look at it too long you’ll feel like you’re cheating. The design genius behind it all is none other than Jozi interior designer and stylist Mia Widlake. ‘Our brief to her focused on effective co-working, our need for a minimalist space for clear thinking and an interior to aid in productivity,’ explains Lizette. The result is a light and bright interior, a place of calm with pale wooden floors and a jewel toned colour palette that Lizette has dubbed Copenhagen cool. There’s a glut of leafy green plants too and beautiful design details like wooden coat hooks, covetable light fittings and furniture designed with care and thought.
‘We are our clients. We needed this space and no one was creating it in this part of Joburg,’ says Lizette. Ultimately what they’ve done is challenge traditional notions of the way you work and the space you use by creating a solution to it all, and one that celebrates aesthetic value.
Click here for a bit about their membership options. Find Nomads & Co at 8 7th Ave, Parktown North, Joburg or call them on 071-090-6244.
Styling Heather Boting