Where to Work Remotely in Whistler: A Guide to Coworking and Cafes
Whistler is a very seasonal place, and we aren’t just talking about the weather patterns, we are talking about the people. Travellers tend to come to our mountain town for a season or two and learn the local ways. Our typical seasonal visitors come from Australia, England, Japan, and other not-so-mountainous regions. Many people get a two-year working visa, and then never leave. Whistler is just that good; it collects people.
While people come to Whistler intending not to work, the high prices of housing and beer mean that most will eventually look for a seasonal job. But what if you are entirely self-funded? What if you are a digital nomad, traveling the world and funding your fun as you go?
The Whistler lifestyle lends itself well to working remotely, whether that is in one of the best coffee shops in Whistler, or coworking. Whistler seasonal travellers form a tight-knit, party focused community, who work hard to play hard. If you get to set your hours, even better. You can schedule yourself around the days of thick snowfall and nights of hard partying. Both of which are frequent. While remote work won’t come with staff housing, it does mean you can work from your rented room or hostel common area.
Whistler is a go-to ski-town destination for young, location independent workers. We’ve got the nightlife, the mountains, the hostels, and the entrepreneurial spirit. But what are the best coffee shops in Whistler to work in? Does this small down have any dedicated coworking spaces?
But, writing in the common area does leave a lot to be desired. Although you control your schedule, you cannot control everyone else’s. Which is why sometimes you need to put on your real pants and escape to work in a coffee shop or coworking space. Whistler is chock full of good coffee, no matter what the Australians say, but what makes a good coffee shop for working in all day, every day?
5 Things a Digital Nomads Need In a Cafe
- Space and Atmosphere: First and foremost, a digital nomad needs a bit of space to lay out their work. Files, daily planners, cords, and laptops tend to take over the surrounding work spaces. A hole in the wall cafe might make a quaint place for a first date, but it’s no good for anyone looking to dive deep into work for the day. A cafe needs to be well laid out, with a variety of seating. If you are forced to work on top of your neighbour, it’s hard to focus.
- Wifi: It’s shocking but true, to this day there remain coffee shops with no wifi. While hard to believe for most nomadic travelers who’ve found free wifi in public parks before, there are still some cafes in Whistler that refuse to provide free access (or any access at all). Just wifi won’t cut it either, it’s got to be fast, and it must be free.
- Electrical Outlets: Nobody likes an outlet hog, but unfortunately it comes with the territory of working in public spaces. You need to find at least one outlet, near a table, with enough electrical slots for your phone, your computer, and anything else you lug around for your daily grind. Trying to stretch a cord halfway across the coffee shop puts your computer and the other customers at risk. A coffee shop must have more than one outlet, and they must be placed logically next to workspaces.
- Delicious and Affordable Coffee: A coffee shop must have coffee. But, it’s got to be well roasted, well-crafted and perfectly poured. Digital nomads are coffee snobs above all else, but they aren’t willing to pay for it. It has to be relatively affordable. You can’t work all day in a cafe just to spend all that hard earned cash on the coffee itself.
- Friendliness and Flexibility: As you start developing regular coffee shop rotations, you’ll get to know the staff. In fact, they’ll welcome you with open arms because you smile, leave a tip (right?), and ask them about their day. But the polite chitchat and warm smile need to be returned. Staff at the cafe should make all customers feel welcome, even if they stay for hours at a time, every-single-day.
As a summertime bonus, it’s also helpful for a coffee shop to have a covered patio. Being chained to your computer day-after-day isn’t great when all you can see out of the window is the beautiful sunny mountain. If a coffee shop is fully dialled in, they will have a covered patio, to let you enjoy the summer days while still keeping a busy work schedule. The key word here is ‘covered,’ trust us, it helps to cut down on glare.
Best Coffee Shops in Whistler for Getting Work Done
Even if you have a private workspace in town (lucky!), there is something to be said about working in a coffee shop. And we aren’t just talking about the coffee part of the equation. Sometimes having the buzz of conversation, the bustle of the other customers and the general hubbub is the best environment to work in. Here are some of our absolute favourite places to work in around Whistler:
EightyOne is a sneaky coffee shop. In fact, according to an article in the local newspaper, they’d prefer if you didn’t call them a coffee shop at all. Located on the ground floor of Summit Lodge, EightyOne is a centrally located meeting space for entrepreneurs, creatives, and remote workers. It might serve coffee, but they try to stay away from the fast-paced in and out coffee shop experience. They really want to keep people there, with well-brewed coffee and functional workspace. Designed with the digital nomad in mind.
Lift Coffee Company
If you like to hit the mountain before (or after) work, Lift is centrally located by the Village gondolas. Ski down the slopes and right into work mode. Due to their central location, they are going to be a bit busier than most, but sometimes it’s the background noise that makes the space. Their coffee is affordable, their baked goods to die for, and their staff is always pleasant. Plus, in the summer time, they have some available outdoor space, covered of course, perfect for moving your workspace outdoors for the afternoon.
Coworking in Whistler
Coworking spaces are all the rage as people increasingly start working from home. Working in your pajamas every day isn’t as glamorous as people first assume. No matter how much people strive to get out of the office, and break the chains of the nine-five schedule, we still crave working around others and getting out of the house.
Welcome to the world of coworking. Despite Whistler’s relatively small population, we have two spaces for coworking. Whistler just got a whole lot more productive.
Located in Function Junction, one of our favourite places, right behind Home Hardware at 1005 Alpha Lake Rd – Unit 18. It’s spacious, has excellent wifi, and free coffee, what more could you want? Did we also mention Space one of the most aesthetically pleasing places to work, with a modern, industrial feel, it has massive windows letting in enough light that you won’t regret your decision to miss the mountain today.
They have three packages, including a dedicated desk for $500 monthly, a shared desk for $350 a month and a ten-pass punch card for $200. The monthly packages also come with perks such as meeting and event space rental, and month to month contracts.
The Network Hub
More centrally located, the Network Hub is in the Village proper, right beside Maxx Fish nightclub and around the corner from Araxi. This branch of the business (with locations around Coastal BC) operates a virtual office and a coworking space. Packages include coworking time at a shared desk and access to a printer and scanner. Plus, if you upgrade your membership, you can use the Network Hub to receive packages and deliveries.
They currently have two options for coworking in Whistler, the dedicated desk which comes loaded with perks, which starts at $500 a month and requires a three-month initial contract. The second option is the drop-in hot desk option if you’d like a bit more flexibility. The Hot Desk costs $10 per hour and makes an excellent choice for those with shorter-term stays in Whistler.
Honourable Mentions in Squamish
Not to be outdone by Whistler, there are still other coworking spaces to be found in Squamish. Considering many people live in Squamish, but commute to the mountain, we thought we’d go through some of our Squamish favourites on here as well.
A well-designed coworking space, located on the main strip of Squamish, Cleveland Ave. They have dedicated desks, shared desks, meeting spaces and even the option of venue rental in the evenings. Packages at the Common start at one day a week per month for $95 up to full access for $405 per month, and access is for the standard working hours Monday to Friday, nine to five. For more flexible schedules, or their dedicated desk option, check out their website.
Also conveniently located in downtown Squamish is another coworking space, on 2nd Ave. Aligned is space for entrepreneurs to get busy, of course, fueled by free coffee and tea. They have a number of packages, including a dedicated desk in a shared space for $395 per month, daily rentals of a shared desk for $25 per day, and more. If these don’t suit your needs, check out their full listing.
Living Your Best Life as a Digital Nomad in Whistler
Working in Whistler is one thing, but working remotely from Whistler is another experience altogether. You have the freedom to work when it rains and play when it snows; it’s living the dream. Now you just need to find the space to get productive. Check out some of the aforementioned best coffee shops in Whistler, or the dedicated coworking spaces, and get out there.