Remote work and coworking spaces gave us the ability to work from literally anywhere in the world. However, some of us might find ourselves working from a coworking space where none of our colleagues work out of or even live.
One thing that is great about working out of an office is the social life and interaction we get from our coworkers. But regardless of what country you’re working out of or what language you speak, there’s still the ability to socialize in your coworking space. In this article, we will share some ways you can start socializing in your coworking space.
Why is it hard to socialize in a coworking space?
If you’re reading this article, chances are good that either A) you’ve never been to a coworking space before, or B) you’ve been encountering difficulties with meeting other people in the coworking spaces you have visited.
Why is it so hard to meet people and socialize in a coworking space?
There’s a short answer to that question: it’s not. In fact, a coworking space should be one of the easiest places to naturally meet people during normal working hours. It’s certainly easier to meet people in a coworking space than in your office at home.
You may think that because everybody is laser-focused on their laptops (and thus not exactly in a social mood) that it’s impossible to get a conversation going with anybody. That couldn’t be any further from the truth.
On your part, the only thing you may need to do is:
Make an effort
That’s right. If you want to talk to someone, all you have to do is make an effort by opening your mouth to say something. It really is that simple.
“But they haven’t started a conversation or interaction with me” isn’t a valid excuse. Ultimately, you can’t control what the other person does. But you can control what you do, and there’s nothing stopping you from being friendly to others who come into your coworking space.
Examples of ways that you can make an effort to meet people in coworking spaces include:
If you’ve been seeing the same person in a coworking space several days in a row, you should make an effort to go up and introduce yourself to them.
Granted, if you’re naturally a shy or introverted person, this may seem easier said than done. An effective way to build up to formally introducing yourself is to start saying “hello” or “good morning” when you see the same person showing up each day. Then you can get to the point where you are…
Greet people regularly by name
Once you’ve introduced yourself and exchanged names and pleasantries with someone, you can start to greet them by their first name each time you see them first walk into the space. People love hearing their first names, and they’ll also appreciate the fact that you remembered them as well. Saying “Good morning, Stephanie” or “Good morning, David” should always generate a more positive response in the other person than just saying “Good morning.”
Don’t be discouraged as well if there’s anyone in the coworking space who speaks a foreign language, such as a visitor or immigrant from another county. Learning how to introduce yourself or say basic phrases in other languages in such cases is another example of how you can make an effort to interact with people. Chances are good the other person will appreciate you making the effort to say something in their language as well, and they’ll become more open to talking to you again later as a result.
Now take things a step further. One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to take the initiative by asking people questions.
A simple “how’s your day going” is a good place to start, but you can make things more interesting by asking more specific questions such as inquiries that pertain to their lives or their work (but without being pushy or too overly inquisitive). Eventually, you’ll develop a daily back-and-forth cadence with individual people in the coworking space as you see them.
Work on projects together
As you develop a cadence and rapport with other people in the coworking space, you can start hanging out and working together. If you work in the same industry, you can work on projects together or share what you’re working on with one another for feedback.
But even if you’re working in completely separate niches or industries from one another, you can still sit next to or across from one another at the coworking tables and engage in friendly back-and-forth banter as you work together. In a coworking space, you can take calls from clients, send emails, or do any other daily tasks you have at hand, just as you would with an ‘office buddy’ at a normal work office.
Attend networking events
Many coworking spaces offer networking events that are free to attend, either at the space itself or another location. These are obviously fantastic opportunities to meet people because it’s literally the only reason the events are there in the first place. Most coworking spaces will host events, member orientations, fireside chats with successful local entrepreneurs, end-of-month parties, and so on.
Chances are also good that you’ll find several ‘coworking space regulars’ at these events as well. When you formally meet these regulars at the events, it should be a lot easier to talk to them later when you see them again in space.
Connect after work
Who says you have to only socialize in the coworking space itself? As you get to know people and become more comfortable around them, you may decide to meet up with them to hang out and have fun after working hours.
This could be difficult only because many people who work remotely work much longer hours than people who formally work out of an office space. But even if you have to go out later at night (such as to a restaurant, a bar, or an event), it can be worth it to set aside the time late in the evening to get to know your coworking ‘colleagues’ better.
Obviously, as a hardworking remote worker, you want to make sure that you prioritize getting plenty of rest and sleep. The last thing you want to do is to hang out late at night only to have to wake up to work early the next morning, knowing that doing so could mess up your sleeping cycle. For example, research has shown that driving after going 20 hours or more without sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content of .10%.
Play it smart and pick an evening where both you and the other person or people have good availability.
Don’t overdo it
You should make an effort to engage in daily interactions with the other people in the coworking space you frequent. Just make sure that you don’t get carried away and cross the line. If somebody is busy at work and clearly wants or needs to be left alone, then let them be.
Just like how it’s possible to be too shy and miss opportunities to talk to people, it’s also possible to take things too far and become too talkative. A good motto to follow in this case is to be friendly but not pushy. Read other people so you know when it’s appropriate to talk or when you should leave them alone for the time being.
Coworking spaces provide one of the best opportunities for meeting new people and fighting loneliness if you can work remotely. It certainly presents more opportunities than working out of your home office and is an alternative to coffee shops. Keep the above strategies in mind the next time you work at a coworking space. You should find that naturally meeting people there is easier than you may have thought.