The characteristics of an introvert are well known: silent, less talkative, love to be by themselves. But even as you love spending time alone, there comes a time when you desire the company of other people. And coworking is one way to engage and connect with people.
Coworking helps people stay motivated and increases their productivity (by 74%). In one study, individuals in a coworking space said such an environment made them more satisfied with their job (96.9%), physically active (79.7%), and improved their concentration (71.9%).
Socializing with other people as an introvert has so many benefits. But we also know that introverted people won’t easily feel comfortable being around unfamiliar faces in a coworking space. So, below are some tips to help introverts get along well with new colleagues while coworking.
Start with a free trial to get a feel of the place
Since Covid-19 arose, coworking spaces have witnessed a 70% drop in the number of people using their resources.
Many are surviving by offering discounts, reducing prices, and even including new features. As an introvert, now is the best time to take advantage of such offers given by coworking spaces and determine if they can meet your demands.
A few things to investigate are the Wi-Fi connection and security offered in these spaces. Others are the professionals a coworking space mostly attracts (developers, designers, editors, or content creators), noise level, table setup, and types of workspaces. Note these during the free trial before you fully commit to a coworking space.
As an introvert, you rarely like being in large groups, and it may be hard to strike a conversation or even make new friends. However, meeting new people and starting friendships is one of the main reasons to use a coworking space.
The ideal person to start a friendship with is an introvert like you. During breaks, you can approach another person who might be taking their coffee alone and introduce yourself. You can break the ice by talking about your work day or discussing the coffee.
Another way to socialize in a coworking space is to sit around extroverts asking and listening to their questions and chiming in a little on what they are discussing. Extroverts, due to their sociable and outspoken personalities, can help you meet and socialize with more people.
Other ways to meet more people or make more friends are to change your seating position often, take breaks when the kitchen is crowded, and speak to a stranger each day. To easily fit in, learn to prepare and organize your thoughts and ideas early.
Look for a quiet work zone
However much you may be connecting with other people, sometimes you need to focus, recharge, or just want to be by yourself. Because of frequent burnouts due to the fact that your work never leaves you, many remote workers use a 9/80 work schedule to balance out their days.
Most coworking spaces are aware of burnout and have incorporated things such as silent corners, quiet rooms, private offices, and conference and meeting rooms for people to take breaks throughout the day. You can use these selected work zones to sit by your desk or on a big bean bag and enjoy some personal time away from your tasks.
Making and responding to small talk
Introverts are not often fans of conversation, especially with strangers. Most times, introverts wish to keep things brief and to the point. However, this is not the way to foster and grow relationships in coworking spaces.
Once you have begun conversing with someone in a coworking space, don’t let the conversation stop in greetings only. Strive to turn your conversations into meaningful interactions, connections, and networking opportunities.
You can talk about a new trend you saw on social media, breaking news of the previous day, ask open-ended questions or advice, or ask the person if they would want to try out something new during the weekend. Aim to create a connection with the person you are conversing with that will grow into something beyond simple small talk.
Have a calm and confident demeanor
As an introvert, there might be instances when you might come across as cold, aloof, and antisocial. People may interpret this differently. Some people may even interpret shyness as a sign of weakness and attempt to take advantage of you, so fight it off by keeping a confident demeanor.
Learn to be open by showing a calm and positive attitude. When someone offends you, learn to escalate the issue to the appropriate people. Beyond these tips, watch your manners and avoid strange behaviors.
As an introvert, the feeling and desire to hide away in your work-from-home setup can be hard to shake off. While this is still fine, it is advisable to occasionally seek the company of other people at least once in a while.
And let’s face it, there are times when you may crave the company of another person or want to talk and start a conversation with other people, and a coworking space is an ideal place to interact with like-minded people.
While there, engage in small talks, make lots of friends, and be vigilant of your surroundings. But more importantly, take every opportunity offered by coworking spaces to get used to socializing with other people.