Imagine a picturesque bamboo hut, views of a towering volcano, luscious greenery, and rolling rice fields. Sounds like a great holiday destination, right? Now imagine you get to work here every day.
This is exactly what members of co-working space Hubud get to experience. Voted one of the Top 10 co-working spaces on earth by Forbes in 2016, Hubud or 'Hub in Ubud' located in Ubud, Bali, is a co-working space dedicated to finding the balance between work and lifestyle.
Co-founders of Hubud, Steve Munroe, Peter Wall and John Alderson, say they had the idea to open a co-working space in Bali after noticing the island was scattered with corporate 'escapees' and digital nomads who had come to explore a new way of living and working. They thought about what would happen if they created a space for all these 'risk-taking, downshifting, curious creatives', would they change the systems they were escaping?
They organized a pop-up, prototype co-working space and held events for a year before opening the doors to Hubud in 2013.
Hubud Co-founder and CEO Steve Munroe says Bali was the perfect location for a co-working space and through hard work and dedication their vision came to life.
"It was our dream to build a spirited haven of revolutionary lifestyle, help diversify the tourism-heavy economy, and create opportunities where Balinese and the international community could engage with one another. Through hard work and dedication, Hubud was created: an epicentre of big ideas in a charming and enchanting village."
"We wanted to create an unprecedented space that embodied the freedom paradigm of work and lifestyle. An international headquarters, where people from diverse walks of life could unite and be inspired: by ideas, by the atmosphere, and by each other."
They started by finding a location with the perfect Balinese feel: rice fields, a volcano, and 'an afternoon glow that splashes your face with equatorial warmth.'
"Then we gathered re-purposed bamboo and worked alongside craftsmen to create an intimate structure that balances play, productivity, and learning. We found the best local coffee and treats to serve our hard-working members, then added ergonomic office chairs and some bean bags to boot."
More than 8500 members from around the world have passed through Hubud since 2013, and these days the co-working space sees an average of 200-250 members per month, who typically stay for three months.
"Our members reflect the wicked diversity of people who choose to live in or touch down in Ubud: tech startups, social entrepreneurs, creative design pros, private equity folks, filmmakers and photographers, writers, coaches, development consultants and marketing geniuses. They are globally mobile and minded. It's like our dream dinner party!" he says.
Events are essential to the co-working experience and Hubud hosts 35-40 events per month, focused on learning and facilitated networking.
"Events are one of the most powerful tools for co-working spaces as they generate an opportunity for the spaces to get in touch with potential new members and make them experience the co-working brand in real life."
"The magic of Hubud comes from the people you encounter, the perspective you gain and the collaborators you find!"
"Our favourite recurring events are FuckUp Nights, Startup Weekend Bali and Pecha Kucha."
The events cover a variety of topics and there's something for everyone, from social events such as brunches and dinners, to yoga retreats, business conferences, and female empowerment discussions.
In February 2019 Hubud is organising the biggest co-working event in the Asia Pacific - the Co-Working Unconference Asia (CU Asia).
"This 5-day-long conference brings together the region’s best operators, real estate, investors, tech folks, workplace futurists, researchers and members, to have suspiciously important conversations in delightful destinations since 2015. After Bali, Thailand and Malaysia we’re bringing it to Goa, India on Feb 20-24, 2019," Steve says.
Being voted in the Top 10 Co-working Spaces on Earth has contributed to increased web traffic on the Hubud site and confirmed to the founders that they are succeeding in their goal to provide a space for people looking to rethink their work-life balance.
"Being recognized in publications such as Forbes is both flattering and encouraging, as it confirms what we have felt from our membership… by doing things differently, we are encouraging thousands of business rebels and question askers to also do things differently,"
As for the future of Hubud and co-working spaces, Steve says there is tension between community-oriented spaces and real estate-focused schemes, who are battling to define what co-working is, is it a philosophical disruption to the world of work, or a marketing term for flexible office provision?
"This will intensify: funding levels are skyrocketing as institutional money comes into the sector and consolidation of larger brands are already happening. But I don’t think this will spell doom for community co-working any more than fast food owns the restaurant industry. As more people get exposed to co-working through sector expansion, their tastes become more refined and they seek out more nuanced spaces. But as competition increases, everyone needs to up their game… both niche smaller spaces, AND larger chains grappling for market share of the real estate market."
Collaborative co-working spaces are definitely on the rise and we can expect to see more co-work, co-living, and co-education spaces popping up across Indonesia, and the rest of the world.