Written by The Brew – an official Calmer partner.
Joining a coworking space and not connecting with your fellow coworkers and teams is like buying an iPhone X and only using it for phone calls. It’s a waste of its full potential!
Yes, you may enjoy the preferential rates of a shared office, a comfy chair and some superfast Wi-Fi that will help you get on with your work; but look also at the benefits of a coworking environment and all the networking opportunities around you that can inspire and help your business to grow.
Have a read through this guide to learn how to best connect with other people in your coworking space, and how collaboration can bring some brilliant social and business benefits:
Who can you connect with?
In a shared environment you have a wealth of other businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs around you who have experienced similar things you are currently going through. Just like you, they come to the office to work, and may find it beneficial to connect with similar creatives in their space. So don’t be afraid to ask who they host their website with, where they source new staff, or how they manage to transport a product to China. Chances are, there’s another business sat near you that could give you a quick piece of free advice. You may even end up working together in the future - you have a wealth of potential leads on your doorstep.
In some coworking spaces, such as The Brew, you will find the Community Team at the heart of the space. They help make the office tick and can be an excellent source of information. If you have an email issue or you’re wondering where’s the best place to take a potential client, the Community Team can point you in the right direction. They could save you hours of research and assist with introducing you to some great contacts that can help drive your business forward.
Where’s the best place to connect?
You simply don’t have the same opportunities for chance meetings if you have a private office or work from home. Coworking spaces offer so many opportunities to connect with other likeminded people, so it’s worth making the most of your space’s community.
While it may not be appropriate to approach coworkers while they’re deep in the flow of their work, there are plenty of other opportunities to break the ice and make good connections. Good places to connect with others in your coworking space include:
Break out area
Café or kitchen
Some coworking offices, like The Brew, have a public café with free wifi attached, which means you could literally bump into members of the local community and other businesses.
How to make meaningful connections
If you do not feel confident at randomly approaching coworkers, here are a few ways to make things easier, and more meaningful:
1. Employ eye-to-eye contact and smile
No one ever made friends by staring at the floor. When you walk into your coworking office make sure you have your friendly face on and smile at anyone you make eye contact with. It will encourage people to engage with you in the future.
2. Use two ears, one mouth
Once you have made a visual connection, you could brave a hello and introduce yourself. Ask coworkers open ended questions such as what they do in their business, how they get into work or even whether they have any recommendations for films or TV shows. Importantly, remember to listen and respond suitably in order to nurture the conversation.
3. Take part in workshops
Many coworking environments run free workshops to support businesses and their teams. Try to attend any that interest you - they not only provide a fantastic source of information on your doorstep, but these events offer a chance to chat with other coworkers during the refreshment breaks. You then have a huge opportunity to speak to people you met the following day in the office too, and ask their thoughts on the workshop.
4. Attend social events
Meeting coworkers at social events is another great way to connect with others and gain useful insights about their experiences, for example how they nurture their mental health. Your friends outside of work may not have the same experiences as you, so speaking to someone who has ‘gone through it themselves’ will also help you to feel understood and belong. Pro tip: there’s no need to always talk shop - you may get some useful tips on places to go after work or even find a new friend to spot with at the gym.
5. Escape your desk
If you work at home all day you are more likely to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. The target of 10,000 steps per day can look more daunting if you regularly roll out of bed and into your home office.
In a coworking office you can take the opportunity to walk around and breathe in the busy hum of activity. Why not visit the communal areas? At The Brew, we have Community Corner where members can hang out, or have a quick game of darts or a coffee. Any small talk could result in inspiration for a new business idea that you would have never have achieved on your own in front of a screen.
6. Be open to collaboration
Speak to your community team or look across the room and you may find someone you can collaborate with on a project. When two businesses work together, you utilise two different sets of skills and experiences, and your project becomes twice as strong. What is more, it’s fun working with others!
7. Take note of different faces on different days
Variety is the spice of life and you certainly get that within a coworking environment. Every day you will see new freelancers and businesses using a hotdesk or moving into a shared office. New people bring in new enthusiasm and excitement, as well as the opportunity to introduce yourself and welcome them into the space.
Working in a coworking space can bring about a sense of belonging, and diversify the people you see day-to-day. Alongside your usual work routines and tasks, you can benefit from connecting with fellow coworkers to share the load, collaborate on new projects, or simply forge new friendships with people who are going through the same things as you.
The benefits to coworking are available for everyone and are there for you to embrace when you’re ready. If you work in a vibrant shared office with like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs like The Brew, opportunities to make new connections and grow your entrepreneurial ecosystem are plentiful. They can benefit your social needs, as well as provide new business opportunities.
About The Brew by rent24
The Brew by rent24 provides coworking spaces and private offices in London for teams of 1-100 people. At The Brew boasts free meeting rooms, superfast internet, excellent community managers and a friendly atmosphere as standard.
We also offer social events, educational business seminars designed to enhance business growth and a curation of wellness workshops and content to support work/life balance and mentally healthy workplaces.
We recently announced exciting expansion plans that are powered by global coworking provider, rent24. As a result, Brew members now have access to over 50 coworking spaces around the world, including Berlin, Amsterdam, Chicago, Moscow, New York and Tel Aviv. And that’s just for starters, as there’ll be more than 185 global locations worldwide by 2020.