Are you new to a coworking space and don’t know how to make the most out of it? Are you considering coworking but you are not sure if it will be helpful? This guide will help you get the most out of your experience in a shared working space. If you follow these tips you will benefit from all the magic that coworking has in store for you: professional growth, motivation, creativity and happiness.
Greet your coworkers and talk to them
It may seem obvious, but most people do not do it. You do not need to distract those who may be already in full concentration, but simple and smiling “goodmorning” when you enter the office, will pay off, specially if you greet your coworkers individually. Getting the greeting back will make you feel instantly connected to your coworkers, refilled with energy and ready to kick off your day.
Talk to them and get to know them. Showing genuine interest in your coworkers is the best way to get them to have genuine interest about you. Ask them what they do and tell them what you do.
Avoid the routine and you will be pleasantly surprised by lots of new discoveries. Start by changing environments. Create the opportunity to introduce yourself and speak to your neighbor (I know I’ve said it before, but it is really important 🙂 ). It may seem weird at the beginning, or you might feel like you are invading someone else’s personal space, but you will be surprised by how welcome it is, how people appreciate it, and how it becomes natural with time. The more you do it, the easier it will be able to understand when somebody is open, or does not want, to be distracted.
Attend events and talk to people
There is a constant stream of events in coworking spaces. Some of them are specifically made to meet other members, others are about learning skills, etc. They are great opportunities to get to know others and to have an easy pretext to talk: the subject of the event! This is not a course to talk to as many people as possible: one meaningful and interesting conversation is worth a million business cards (that you will end up throwing away anyway). You don’t need to attend them all, but do attend some and always stay updated and integrate your agenda with the event calendar of your space. Check here what’s coming up at Betacowork!
I love coffee machine conversations and to eat with my coworkers.
Not only because I am a gourmand, but because the best conversations and discoveries happen around a table or around a cup of coffee. And there is so much more to talk about than just business or weather 🙂
Cook and share food with your coworkers
You don’t need to be an expert cook, and it is a great way to push yourself to new challenges. At Betacowork we organize a community lunch every Friday: the #betacooks! A group of coworkers takes care of the preparation of the lunch, and we all eat together.
This is definitely one of the best moments of the week, a special moment we all look forward to 🙂
Share your knowledge
Don’t be afraid of sharing. Sharing your knowledge will help you stay top of mind of your coworkers and will also motivate them to help you more. In a coworking space you find people with different backgrounds, often complementary to yours. You may be an expert in web development, but others may give legal advice or introduce you to a translator for your website… Every professional needs to expand their knowledge constantly.The more you talk and interact, the more opportunities for serendipity to happen.
Ask for help
Helping each other is part of the coworking culture. Talk to your coworkers, and talk to your hosts. Let them know what you are looking for: they will guide you through the infinite resources of their networks, knowledge, coworking and it will help you to integrate. Be as precise as possible when you asks for help. At Betacowork, for example, we have invented the “Coworkers rodeo”, a regular meeting where all coworkers gather informally, have coffee and introduce themselves shortly by answering to 3 simple questions: Who are you? What do you do? What do you need help with? It can be both a professional and a personal request. I can assure you it works!
Talk to your host
All coworking space managers do their best to help their coworkers and make the office a nice place, so do ask, suggest and share your ideas and your projects! They will be glad to listen to you and to help to find a solution together. By talking to them you are making their work easier (there are a lot of people, projects and interests to remember), you will have access to new opportunities, and you will be fresh in their minds, so they’ll think more about you. At Betacowork, we speak a lot with our members and we ask for their feedback in informal conversations, meetings, and surveys (surveys are anonymous so that people feel at ease raising their concerns).
Even if these tips don’t adapt to your personality or you don’t feel comfortable about doing them, challenge yourself and take initiative. Doing beats all thinking and people care more about the act than about the perfection of what is being produced. Set up a personal objective of meeting a new coworker every day; organize a workshop; organize your own community events; if you have never cooked for a lot of people, go for something easy and just for the number of people you feel comfortable with (add a couple more for a comfortable stretch).
Look up from your screen!
And start putting all this into practice 🙂 Life exists beyond your computer and your work. Even if you just get to know one person in your coworking space your professional and personal lives will be much better. Get your nose away from your computer right now, look around and say hello to the person sitting by your side or in front of you. Start a conversation and start implementing these tips!
What else would you recommend? What are your favorite experiences in your coworking space?
Credits: With thanks to our coworker Jeremy Blezard for the illustrations (and thanks to Dilbert for the inspiration)