The hidden benefit of co-working: Networking
Coworking spaces have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years, but recently, with such a significant shift to at-home and remote working, coworking spaces are booming more than ever. Though working from home might offer you comfort and reduce your spending, it cuts out two of the most critical elements of working in an office environment—collaboration and socialization. If this isn’t convincing enough, take a look at these top benefits of working in a coworking space, aside from networking:
- It provides a sense of community and belonging.
- It’s a supportive, collaborative culture.
- It allows you to be more efficient and productive.
- It provides numerous perks and features.
Coworking spaces offer you all things you would have access to in an office and more. These spaces often strive to emulate an office utopia with all the best features and perks to help you get through your day. This can include unlimited coffee, a variety of workstations (private desks, shared desks, meeting rooms, etc.), nap rooms, food offerings, fitness and wellness amenities, happy hours, and more.
Working in a coworking space provides a sense of community and belonging, which can be especially important for those who are self-employed or work from home. The community aspect of coworking spaces can be especially beneficial for freelancers or entrepreneurs who often work in isolation. Being around other like-minded professionals can help you feel less alone and provide a sense of motivation and accountability.
Coworking spaces offer a supportive, collaborative culture that is less competitive than traditional offices. Each coworking space has its own vibe and “workplace culture,” but overall, these spaces are full of diverse individuals that are hardworking and looking to connect. And because everyone comes from various backgrounds of experience and industries, it’s less competitive and more supportive and collaborative.
Networking in a coworking space is often more relaxed and less formal than traditional networking. People tend to be more relaxed and naturally strike up conversations with others around them as they go about their day. And while coworking spaces are undoubtedly full of hardworking professionals, it’s a much less “buttoned-up” environment where you don’t necessarily feel like you always have to be on your A-game to network and meet new people.
Initiating friendly, casual conversations is the best way to network in a coworking space. Think of it as striking up a conversation with a new coworker or someone at a coffee shop. Keep it light and friendly to start instead of jumping right into professional networking mode. Share knowledge and offer trades. If someone helps you with something you are working on, offer them something in return. This creates a more equitable environment and promotes collaboration.
Participating in events is another way to build a sense of community and offer more ways to network. Many coworking spaces organize events for their members to help build a sense of community and offer more ways to network.
Tips for Successful Networking in a Coworking Space
Whether you are new to coworking spaces or looking to expand your existing network, there are several tips you can use to make authentic and quality networking connections. Here are some of the top tips for successful networking in a coworking space:
- Be Proactive: One of the most important things you can do when networking in a coworking space is to be proactive. Don’t wait for people to come to you – take the initiative to introduce yourself to others and strike up a conversation. You never know who you might meet and what opportunities may arise from those initial interactions.
- Participate in Events: Many coworking spaces organize events for their members to help build a sense of community and offer more ways to network. So don’t just use the space for the desk and the coffee perks; make an effort to attend happy hours, workshops, and other events to establish better connections and relationships.
- Share Knowledge: Collaboration and support are vital elements of coworking spaces, so be open to sharing your knowledge and skills with others. If someone helps you with something you are working on, offer them something in return. This creates a more equitable environment and promotes collaboration.
- Seek Out Coworking Spaces in Tourist Locations: Most locals try to avoid tourist traps in their own city, but this can actually be a great networking opportunity. Coworking spaces in tourist areas are likely to attract professionals who are just passing through, allowing you to expand your network to people who live and work in other major cities.
- Keep It Casual: Unlike traditional networking, networking in a coworking space is often best done more casually. Think of it as striking up a conversation with a new coworker or someone at a coffee shop. Keep it light and friendly to start instead of jumping right into professional networking mode.
- Be Genuine: Authenticity is key when networking in a coworking space. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or force a connection with someone just because you think it will benefit you in the long run. Instead, be yourself and let genuine connections form naturally.
- Follow-Up: After connecting with someone in a coworking space, be sure to follow up. This can be as simple as sending a quick email to say how much you enjoyed meeting them or setting up a time to grab a coffee and chat more about your shared interests.
The Bottom Line
Coworking spaces offer a unique opportunity to work, socialize, and network all in the same space. With a supportive, collaborative culture and a sense of community and belonging, these spaces are perfect for professionals looking to expand their networks and build valuable connections. Whether you are new to coworking spaces or simply looking to better your networking skills, the tips outlined in this article can help you make authentic and quality connections that will benefit you personally and professionally. Have any questions? Contact us today!