The number of people working in coworking spaces worldwide is expected to grow to 24 million by 2024, in part because they offer a variety of benefits to employees and businesses.
Coworking spaces can be a lot more cost-effective than a traditional office. They accommodate flexible work schedules. They offer a wide range of appealing amenities to take advantage of.
What’s even more important than the functional physical workspace is the many networking and collaboration opportunities that coworking presents. Within these shared spaces, remote workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers from all over can connect and form relationships that end up elevating their careers or businesses.
Let’s dive into the social side of coworking spaces and the benefits that come from it in more detail.
Become Happier with Your Job
Only 49% of people in a 2022 Gallup survey said they were completely satisfied with their jobs. Those working from home or in a remote setting might have an even harder time finding happiness in their roles because many experience loneliness, long hours, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Social opportunities are a bridge to becoming happier with your job. Seeking out and building positive relationships can improve your mental health and perspective on work.
Coworking spaces offer lots of chances to socialize with individuals of all kinds. You can maintain relationships with those that frequent the coworking space and have the opportunity to meet new people each day.
Reduce Social Isolation
People working long hours away from home are at risk of social isolation. When you neglect to interact with people regularly, it can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and risk of suicide. You’re also at a higher risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
Coworking spaces require you to leave the house. They launch you into a social setting that you wouldn’t get working from home or out of a hotel. You’re in constant contact with other people, significantly reducing how socially isolated you are.
Connect With Like-Minded Professionals
One of the best things you can do for your career or business is connect with like-minded professionals. The team and support system you build around yourself is as important to your evolution as the hard work you put in.
Networking opportunities are in abundance in coworking spaces. Even in passing, you can connect with like-minded professionals and build a supportive community around you that offers advice, resources, and a shoulder to lean on in tough times that ultimately enhances your overall well-being and productivity.
Discover Potential Job Opportunities and Partnerships
The connections one builds in a coworking space can also lead to job opportunities and potential partnerships.
The more you get to know someone, the more you can learn about their career and openings in their industry. Socializing in a coworking space can lead to business partnerships as well. The key is building genuine relationships with people to the point they open up about needs.
Also, many coworking spaces host events for members, many of which are specifically for networking. These events are treasure troves of job opportunities and potential business partnerships too.
Grow Your Creativity and Innovation
Have you ever wanted a fresh set of eyes on a visual you just created? Or someone to read through something you’ve written to assess how engaging it is? What about someone to bounce an idea off of? Getting these things on-demand when you’re a remote worker, freelancer, or entrepreneur is often pretty difficult because you’re working alone a lot.
By taking your work to a coworking space, you have access to people who are willing to give you feedback and brainstorm with you, thus growing your creativity and innovation.
Connect With Other Remote Workers
On some remote teams, everyone is based in a different state or country. On others, there are remote workers who live relatively close to other remote workers on their team. It’s nice to have the option to meet people you work with in real life. Coworking spaces can offer this opportunity.
If you’re the owner of a business, you can schedule workers to meet one or two days out of the week at a local coworking space. Or, if you’re a coworking employee, you can let your nearby team members know when you’ll be at a particular coworking space and encourage them to meet you there.
You’ll have an opportunity to work and connect with each other in person. As a result, you’re remote working relationship will get stronger too.
Tips for Building a Network in Coworking Spaces
The social side of coworking is proving to be just as beneficial as the practical side of this working arrangement. But as advantageous as socializing in coworking spaces can be, initiating and building connections with people you don’t know can be intimidating.
Implement these tips to make relationship-building and networking in shared spaces less scary.
Work on Your Conversation Starters
If you wait for others to approach you, you may be waiting for a long time. Many people are reluctant to initiate a conversation with someone they don’t know — whether because of nerves, fear of judgment, or not really wanting to have a conversation.
So, if you really want to get to building connections in a coworking space, it’s in your best interest to get comfortable with starting conversations.
Work on simple ways to initiate conversations like saying “hello” and asking how someone is doing. You could also get creative by leaving your charger at home, so you have to ask someone to use theirs or by complimenting someone’s work and asking questions about it.
Set a goal to start one conversation a day and you’ll be on your way to building lasting connections in your coworking space.
We briefly touched on events that coworking spaces host above. In addition to the events the space hosts, members put on various events that are open to the public. These events almost guarantee human interaction, whether you start the conversations or not.
Take full advantage of these events to ease the pressure of getting to know people in shared spaces. Granted, meeting people at events can be nerve-wracking. However, you’ll be surprised at how fun these affairs can be and how easy it actually is to mix and mingle.
If bringing a friend makes you more comfortable, ask them to come along. But don’t hide behind them the entire event. Instead, use them as a launchpad for getting out there.
Most people go to coworking spaces to get work done. Stepping outside of this comfort zone and using shared spaces for socialization as well can grow your career or business far more than you might’ve imagined.