Nope, don’t know him, don’t care—let’s be a bit more creative people, we are Lisboners – no one reading this is from here, am I right? Right.
For over a decade my reply to “where are you from” has been spiced up, becoming what you might describe as one of my catchphrases: “Wherever the Wi-Fi is. That is where I’m from.”
So, I think I am funny, but admit it, it is cute, a bit cheeky yet accurate, right? Right. And, yes. You, dear reader, may use my catchphrase because we are all expats here. Happy days.
Travelling the globe fortnightly on the regular has been imbedded into my life and career like HTML code. Am I taking the credit for being a “digital nomad” before the term ever became so hyper-trendy? You bet I am. Now I know you might be thinking, “hey that’s me too, OMG!” A lot of people in Lisbon are biologically inclined to see the world. Go us! If you are over the age of, say 35 you too are in the original peripatetic club with me (hence why I gave you a catchphrase, you see I share with my brethren).
As for the generation who didn’t know that “digital nomad” was not always a thing (shock of shocks), I see you – all over this city with sipping green juice, putting out uber cool hipster-ish vibes, working jobs like UX Designer and Tech Editor. You go surfing or do yoga and can probably grow magic mushrooms that taste fabulous in alfalfa sprout smoothies. You have lived in five countries minimum and have friends at every port. There is a place for us all here in Lisbon. Travel is what unites us, that and choosing to make Lisbon your home, and now more than ever where there is Wi-Fi, that is where one is based.
On that note, you may want to get that Wi-Fi away from your physical dwelling. Especially now, after sitting in the same jammies for months not leaving the house for more than a walk to the market, forced by law into a near-agoraphobic state of existence. If you fancy not working where you eat, sleep, work out, watch TV, repeat, follow me to freedom in the form of co-working. I narrowed down some of the best co-working spaces (there are SO many) in Lisbon (to suit all sorts of specific tastes, work requirements and budgets), so you can get out of those tracksuit bottoms and go be productive. You may even meet some people and be asked, “where are you from?”
Rohan Silva is the coolest co-worker ever. The man behind London-born enterprise, Second Home, also has an offshoot in Lisbon where only the hippest workers (with fat bank accounts) can spend their days among the plant-festooned, sun-drenched upper level of the Time Out Market. When I first moved here, I literally thought it was a massive florist shop until I was informed that the fantastic location is in fact, Second Home. You do not get to be this cool on the cheap. A basic membership runs a minimum of 250 -euros a month. Plus, if you want to take a tour you must make an appointment or the security guard will boot you right down to the meat section below. If this doesn’t sound too pricey for you then check it out, but there are cheaper options, with more privacy. The open-air vibe at Second Home is not so conducive to business calls, but it’s plush. One could work in a botanical garden for cheaper and get the same verdant inspiration but hey, not everyone is already so secure in their coolness.
Hotly-tipped Heden has a location in Chiado, but Graça seems to be the go-to co-working space for the more social, networking set. Kitted out with spacious flexible desks, a lounge area with comfy chairs, books and magazines, for break time, they also offer fresh fruit, tea and coffee. Downstairs at Heden there are art studios where the locale plays host to industry-facing events and discussions. The freshest Heden location is Heden Santa Apolónia with a river view, a green facade and a modern design between the historic Santa Apolónia Station and the new Lisbon Cruise Terminal. A bright and breezy workspace with generous common areas, a river facing balcony and a lush garden, to rest, stretch and bask in the sun. Sounds like a spa, they should offer massages. Prices range from 15 euros for the full day to 150 euros per month, with other options in between. All the Heden spaces have their perks, it is the not so hidden gem worth taking the tours, like everywhere in Lisbon you’ll find all sorts here.
Because everything big starts with one, there are three IDEA locations, or Spaces, (Sotto Mayor Palace, Nations’ park and Saldanha), all of which you can access with one membership. All three spaces have Thursday Happy Hours, membership exclusive events, the chance for start-ups to meet with investors, budding entrepreneurs to meet thriving ones, to “head to a conference and leave with a business proposal” as the website boasts. The name of the game is community at this co-working fun house. They are so big you, can also book a private office for two to 60 people, and focus on your own company in private. There is something for just about everyone at IDEA, which is a massive draw. Membership is varied from 15 euros for a day to around 200 euros a month. Bonus: Offers a FREE trial so go try before you buy into the IDEA.
The straight-up corporate types will get high-end offices (shared, private, in all shapes and sizes, some with balconies, some in a glass cube), conference rooms, kitchen, outdoors area and myriad other office essentials at the more classic offerings at Regus. With about 10 locations in Lisbon alone there is sure to be one near you, at many price points. It’s quiet, people are polite, it is business-y, no frills but still fancy. Accessible and flexible price points, plus they never ever seem to close. So, if all you do is work work work, this is an easy way to get the job done.
I do love a warehouse so I’m keen on the quirkier Todos, self-described “creative hub in the areas of creativity, communication, brand activation, advertising and brand strategy, with the in-house production such as film production, photography, design, art and music. The main goal of this idea is to seek a specific answer to an unfilled need in the panorama of integrated audiovisual services in the city of lisbon.” Woah that’s a mouthful of stuff, but the space is huge, edgy and appealing. Located in Poço do Bispo - Marvila, historically linked to the industry and storage of raw materials, the area of 1600 sqm has been renovated and is now the setting for different companies and professionals in complementary markets to come together under the Todos business model. Create and compete under one, high-ceilinged roof here.