Making Connections in a Coworking Space
Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular for professionals who want a more collaborative and productive work experience. In addition to the great environment and resources a coworking space provides, one of the best things about them is the opportunity to connect with other professionals. This can be extremely valuable, as you can exchange ideas, skills, resources, and advice with like-minded individuals. Not only will this help you grow your business or career, but it can also lead to new opportunities.
The Benefits of Having a Designated Workspace
A designated workspace, such as a coworking space, has several benefits that can help boost productivity and collaboration. For starters, having a dedicated area for work eliminates distractions or the urge to procrastinate. When working at home or in a public setting such as a coffee shop, there can be more of a desire to check emails, scroll through social media, or take care of other unrelated tasks. However, when using a coworking space, there is less of attemptation to multitask as all work-related activities are designed for one purpose only – working.
Finding the suitable Coworking Space for your Needs
Finding the right coworking space for your needs can be a tricky endeavor. There are many factors to consider, such as commute time, price, amenities, and other factors.
Commute time is vital to ensure you are motivated to use your space as much as possible. One significant issue with coworking spaces is that they are usually located in metropolitan centers with few options for individuals living in the suburbs and the outskirts of major urban areas like San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles. Distance is vital because if it’s too far for you, you won’t be encouraged to use it and will end up wasting your membership dues.
There are exceptions in some towns. For example, many coworking spaces have expanded to smaller towns and cities to serve better professionals living outside the major cities. For example, Onboard Coworking is centrally located just 15 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles, making it a reasonable commute for folks living in the eastern part of Los Angeles county. In the Seattle area, Overlake Workspace serves people in the nearby community of Bellvue, Washington. Additionally, some coworking spaces offer virtual memberships for those unable to physically be present at their workspace. Price is also important to make sure you are getting the best value. Amenities such as comfortable furniture, private offices, high-speed internet, and other extras should also be considered.
What to do when you first Join
Do you remember going to a new school on your first day? Hopefully, it will not be as intimidating when joining a coworking space. When you first join, take time to get acquainted with the community and familiarize yourself with the facility. Introduce yourself to other members, participate in conversations, ask questions, and be open to meeting new people. Additionally, attend any networking events or activities that the space is hosting. This is a good way to connect and build relationships with other members.
Tips for Making Connections with other Members
Meeting people at a coworking space is similar to meeting people anywhere else, and some of the same rules apply. But keep in mind, there will be more distance between you and other members, as you have people from different professional backgrounds and personalities. You may only see some people regularly, which differs from colleagues at a regular office or your schoolmates. However, many of the same principles apply.
It’s that simple, introduce yourself. This is a great way to break the ice and start the possibility of a new connection.
Be polite, courteous, and thoughtful
It goes without saying that it is essential to be courteous. This includes not talking too loudly, speaking up during meetings, and being mindful of the space around you.
Be open-minded and flexible
When making connections at a coworking space, you should be open to different opinions and be willing to try new things. Everyone has valuable skills, resources, and ideas to share. Being open-minded is also beneficial for both networking and collaborating with other members in the space.
Invite people for coffee, lunch, or drinks outside of the workspace environment
If you’ve developed a certain level of comfort after a few conversations, take the initiative and invite your new connections to something outside your workspace. This is a great way to solidify your new friendship further.
You never know whether the new person you just met will be a potential client or a valuable resource. This person may be someone who you can help. Offering assistance with something you know, whether it’s related to your job skill or simply clearing out a jammed piece of paper in the printer, is a great way to create meaningful connections and build relationships.
Attend networking events hosted by the center
It is not uncommon for coworking spaces to host different types of networking events, such as webinars, speaker series, seminars, and workshops. Attending these events is an excellent way to meet new people and build your professional network. Take advantage of these potential opportunities.
Don’t be intrusive
While meeting new people and building new relationships is great, it’s just as important not to be intrusive. Don’t be that person who just tags along, shows up without an invitation, or tries talking to someone when they clearly do not want to be bothered.
Finally, once you’ve made the connections, stay connected by following up with these contacts.
These are just a few ways to connect when joining a coworking space. It may take some time, but the rewards of growing your network and creating relationships far outweigh the effort.