Coworking is becoming more and more common in the modern economy. Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants are finding many benefits in going to coworking spaces rather than working out of home offices. If you are considering transitioning to a coworking environment, a little research can help you get the most out of the experience. Here are some top tips to make coworking as beneficial as possible.
Do Your Research
Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of many different coworking spaces. Before you choose one, take the time to check out the options in your area and learn about the benefits and amenities. If possible, visit each space in person. An in-person visit can give you a feel for the commute, noise level, number of people, and overall culture. Some spaces provide more privacy, whereas others are designed to foster collaboration and interaction. Some places include conference rooms or offices where you can meet with clients. You may also be able to sign up for drop-in days or a weekly membership before committing to a long-term contract.
Don’t Be Shy
One of the most important advantages of a coworking space is the chance to interact with your peers in a professional environment. It’s important to take advantage of this feature. While everyone understands that you are there to work, you can still take the time to smile and greet those around you. Even small interactions like this can help foster an enjoyable atmosphere. You might even meet people who work in your industry or want to collaborate on a project sometime in the future. Some coworking spaces have historically been home to pioneer startups. For example, SOMAcentral in San Francisco has been home to Mashable, Instacart, and Grammarly, among others. If you work from such a coworking space, you will have a higher chance of meeting future leading companies, and who knows what great things can come from that.
Create the Right Atmosphere
Everyone has a different style when it comes to working, and it’s essential to find a coworking space that is a good fit for your needs. You may want to choose a space that offers cubicles if you prefer to work in privacy. If you get inspired by the hustle and bustle of an open office environment, find a coworking space that has a similar setup. Some coworking places have a mix of environments, so you may want to take a few days to try out different parts of the building. Once you find the setup that works best for you, create a routine so you can quickly get ready to work each day.
Participate in the Community
There could be numerous benefits to building relationships with your coworkers. You might meet other entrepreneurs or freelancers who can encourage and inspire you. Coworking spaces can provide you with the professional camaraderie that you might not be able to experience outside a traditional office. You might want to participate in or even organize some social events, such as getting drinks after work on a Friday evening. Engaging in the coworking community can help prevent the isolation and loneliness that sometimes accompany working for yourself.
Connect Outside Your Niche
It can be exciting to find others in your coworking space who work in industries similar to yours. However, don’t limit your interactions to just those who share your professional interests. Making an effort to meet people in different industries can provide you with new perspectives and ideas. You could also discover ways that your work connects to other industries or learn how to broaden your expertise and skillsets. Expanding your professional sphere can lead to new opportunities down the road and help you grow in your niche as well.
Use Productivity Tools
Distraction is one of the potential challenges of choosing to operate in a coworking space. However, several available tools can help you stay productive. Choose a good pair of headphones with a noise-canceling feature, if possible. Even if you choose not to listen to music, wearing headphones can help signal to others that you don’t wish to be disturbed. You may also want to get a time-tracking device. These specialized tools can help you split your time among various tasks, such as answering email, calling clients, and performing business administration tasks. Some devices can even help you make healthy choices by reminding you to take breaks and drink water.
If you are self-employed and feel that working from home or at a coffee shop isn’t an ideal situation, you may want to join a coworking space. You can make the most of your investment by engaging in the community and building relationships with people inside and outside of your industry. Finally, productivity tools can help you work efficiently.