Office Spaces for Digital Nomads
Dell’s excellent Digital Nomads blog has inspired a few of my friends. Clearly, working on the road is no longer the niche interest it once was.
Earlier this year, I wrote about my on the road workspace. A few weeks later, I discovered The Business Class, a network of flexible workspaces from Brazil to Berlin.
I signed up at the Berlin branch while out for the summer, and thought it’d be interesting to speak to the man responsible, Manu Kumar.
QN: Can you introduce TheBusinessClass.Net in one sentence?
MK: BCN connects real people in real places â€” allowing freelancers from all over the world to live the freedom of working with their PCs, barefoot in the 21st century.
QN: How is BCN different from other shared offices?
MK: I don’t try to set up just offices – I call BCN locations “ports” each location also has a “agent”…
On request the Port-Agent can provide info about business contacts, tips and tricks for the respective place, the surroundings, and its culture. BCN port managers also act as native speaking business guides.
BCN supplies a platform for freelancers which has only been available to employees of large international companies till now. You have an address from where you can discover the new city and also find new clients – and most importantly: you have local people working beside you. People you can ask and connect with … a kind of “professionalized” friendship network.
QN: What gave you the idea for the BCN?
MK: Over the years I’ve worked all over Europe, Japan and China. It was always easy finding a place – from sofa surfing to five star hotels, but finding an temporary office and connecting with like minded folk was nearly impossible.
Now I am building up that kind of “office” – with the essential infrastructure, connections and people at these locations . BCN is my answer for the growing number of freelancer traveling the world while working…
QN: Where are your locations across the world?
MK: We have two types of locations: “Drop In Offices” – Urban locations, to work from or establish new business contacts, while our “Drop Out Offices” are exotic locations where freelancers can withdraw, relax or work intensely. Presently you can find BCN in these places:
Our first “Drop In Office” is my former studio located in Berlin-Kreuzberg/Germany; currently one of the culturally most active quarters in Berlin.
Our Desert Office is in the Mojave-Desert (just one hour drive from LA/USA). “Quintal do Mar” – our Island Office – is located on a tropical Island in Brazil, right at the beach, but just ten miles away from a mayor city. “Ramsoft” is the software company in Bangalore/India that hosts our Outsource Office.
“The Grand Street Loft” – is our Loft Office located in New York/USA, and The Alps Office lies directly in the historic city centre of Graz/Austria.
QN: Which is your favourite location and why?
MK: Our next location! Seriously, each person and location that joined the BCN-network was a great experience for me to meet and get connected with to work together. All these partners became friends of mine! I am very exited about to whom and where it will takes us next time.
QN: You run the BCN as what you call a ‘fairchise’. Can you explain a little about that?
MK: Anybody having a suitable office location can apply to become a BCN-port.
We advertise your port on our website – in several languages. We manage the timetable, the booking, the banking … We set the whole system up for free – we are taking all risks, because if it doesn’t work you’ve got some advertisement for free.
QN: What next for TheBusinessClass.Net?
MK: At the moment I am talking to nice people in Cape Town/South Africa, Thailand and Brazil – but nothing fixed yet. (but if you have somebody, somewhere … please tell me, but the weird-the better!)
We are looking to have at least one BCN port every continent as soon as possible.
Soon our website will have a workspace that will be very helpful for freelancers. If you want to be updated, just log in as a member – and join BCN for free. All of its members can use the website to present themselves, or to look for and find business contacts.
Learn more at TheBusinessClass.net.
BCN is a good concept, and an extension of the old virtual office concept. They need to have a language translator on the site (or make it very obvious) as not everyone that visits the site will speak German.
The site is available in English and several other languages, but I think it could be a little clearer.