How to find a balance between work and play in a coworking space? Coworking spaces provide resources for digital nomads to work together, but it also gives a will and a way to play together. Do social part of the coworking spaces become a distraction on a concentrating?
To get things done most of the freelancers need undisturbed time to concentrate. Here in Coworking Bansko events are usually limited to the evening and there is usually only one (official) thing per day. Though, the number of temptations is considerable. There are day trips to be had, thermal spas to visit, during the winter there is skiing and for the rest of the year, the hiking to explore the surrounding mountains.
As with most things in life it comes down to finding the right balance between work time and social events. To give you an overview of how the week in Coworking Bansko looks like I present an overview of the last week social events.
Networking in Coworking Space – One Week of Social Events in Bansko
Monday in Coworking Bansko is usually a game night. The social space basement is full of board games. Some are in German, most are in English and few are naughty. The game night is a regular thing and people usually play “Secret Hitler” and “Exploding Kittens” (I can‘t help but wonder if there is some hidden frustration in the undercurrents here).
This week we decided to try something new. The first game was traveling from country to country in Europe. To our embarrassment, we discovered that we don’t yet know all the countries and that there is no train going to Iceland.
The second game involved a haunting house and one of the players becoming a traitor in mid-game. As not uncommon with a strategy board games learning the rules and playing the first game took us over three hours. Having our asses handed to us we packed up at 1 am and headed home swearing for revenge in next week.
Tuesday was the one quiet night of the week. We did a session of yoga with Adrian (YouTube guru and a brilliant example of a useful internet famous) and for me at least it was time for a home and hanging up my brains for a lazy evening.
Wednesdays was a big celebration. Ariele, our resident vegetarian from a Texas had a birthday. So naturally, we had to celebrate it with a Tai curry buffet and SPA night. The good thing about being in a touristy town like Bansko during the off-season is that while the resources like restaurants and spas are still here, with only a few people around it’s possible to get some pretty sweet deals. Especially when you have a larger group of people.
Thursday was another regular event. A visit to one of the many hot springs in the neighboring small village, Banya. When I first heard of the hot-springs I imagined a hole in the ground, perhaps with bubbling mud. Reality is less romantic but a bit more hygienic.
Bansko region has an advantage of having a geothermal vent bringing hot water to the surface. Local businesses have made good use of it. Large hotels have a 25 meters and larger pools full of bath temperature water (and cheap heating for winter time). We chill in the spa and end an evening with a dinner in the restaurant.
Friday evenings are usually reserved to a pot-luck BBQ on the patio next to the coworking quiet space. Local collection of strays who usually consider the patio their territory have to make some room for us. This week we have a weekend event, the unconference for the bloggers.
Despite the competing event, the turnout for the BBQ is 10-15 people. We grill, eat and head out to a regular wine bar where owner enthusiastically and with an impressive artistic skill introduces the local vintages. In addition to our group of ten from coworking, only two other customers drop in, despite it being a Friday evening.
Bloggers on Top 2018, Travel Bloggers Unonference
Bloggers conferences are a place where travelers with similar interest get together to exchange experiences. This weekend in Bansko is for Travel Bloggers.
Saturday While the previous weekend was a me-time, this weekend threatens to be a full-time event. Bloggers On Top 2018 has brought in almost thirty participants, most of them are travel bloggers.
The most rumored event on Friday was the instawalk where bloggers were shown around the town with occasional stops to give one or another local business a chance to present their products in a hope of bloggers using the influencer power to bring them publicity. Similar to conferences both evenings are a dinner in restaurants to give people a chance to talk and get to know each other.
Sunday would usually be a film night in the social space. However, bloggers are invited to a new thermal spa in the area. Last day’s afternoon is spent soaking in hot mineral water, occasionally rotating from a pool to hot-tub to another pool and sipping cocktails.
Among my other takeaway knowledge from the weekend, it turns out the bikini-blogger is actually a term used by bloggers themselves. From a sensible way our people acted in the spa I conclude that we didn’t have any (or many) of them among us (though all looked stunning in the swimsuits, comes with the job perhaps).
If you are a (semi)introvert you may be panicking by now. “Do I really need to do all that?! This is too much” Well no you don’t have to. Social events are mostly on the evenings and there are plenty of people who choose to skip them in a favor of a quiet evening in or longer work time. They are not strictly speaking even necessary for networking. People have conversations during lunch hour and coffee breaks and talk over life, work and business in social space as well.
Finally, when you feel frustrated about spending too much time procrastinating simply rename it. When you call that dinner party a networking opportunity, a lunch chat a brainstorming and casual chat a way to find collaborations it becomes almost a mandatory but mostly useful part of a successful freelancer’s toolkit.
Read more about the ventures as a digital nomad in residence in Bansko, Bulgaria in posts:
I was a guest of Coworking Bansko. I’m proud to be an honest and transparent blogger, all opinions are my own.