So you’re a freelancer or remote employee, you’ve done your research, and you’ve just joined a coworking space. Perhaps you found a space dedicated to supporting social enterprise, like one of Impact Hub's 100 global locations, or maybe it's a women-only network like The Wing or Hera Hub, providing the focus and support you need to launch your business. What now? Do you grab coffee, go straight to your new desk and get to work? Well, yeah, but there’s also a whole lot more at your fingertips. These days, coworking spaces offer much more than just a space to work and fast wifi. Every day is an opportunity to develop yourself, your network, and your business.
1. New clients are among you.
You’re in luck. You’ve just joined a network of hundreds, maybe thousands, of entrepreneurs who could benefit from your business. Start meeting the people who work around you to learn about their work and let them know about yours. Plus, ask your community manager if there’s an opportunity to introduce your business to the larger community and share a perk. At The Yard, for example, members can share discounts on their products or services through the Perks page of their community network, The BackYard. Similarly, WeWork also offers its 250k+ global community a membership portal for networking and collaborating with colleagues. You'll never find yourself short of a freelance resource again.
2. Coworking spaces are ripe with personal and professional development opportunities.
Many coworking spaces offer monthly events for their members. Check the calendar each month and take a look at events happening at your space and other spaces across the city. Plus, there are often events hosted with partners outside of the typical programming which hold complimentary spots for members. You can sometimes pay for one-off access to other coworking space's event programming, for example with BetaWorks in NYC. Check e-mails sent by the community manager to plug into networking and growth opportunities that leverage your new, built-in network - and those from other spaces, too!
3. Your new workspace might exist in more than one location.
If your new coworking space has multiple locations in your city, or in cities you visit, find out what accessibility to those spaces looks like. Most coworking spaces with more than one location will let you use another of their locations as part of their membership package. In some cases, as with member's club and coworking venue, Soho House, this means reciprocal access to an appealing roster of top quality clubs around the world. At The Yard, members can visit other locations during normal work hours (9:30am-5:30pm Monday through Friday) to work out of the coworking areas, host meetings, or use the common spaces, pending availability - extremely useful if you're on tour pitching your new venture, or if you just need a change of scenery a few times a month to boost your creativity.
4. Your "coworkers" are your new-found community.
Your business headquarters might be based in Boston, Basel, or Bali (one can dream!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t have “coworkers” where you work and a great work culture at that. Make friends with the people you see every day in the common areas and the kitchens, and most of all, get to know your community managers. After all, the community manager knows everyone in the community and will be the first to introduce you to people you’d connect with. Your community manager will also know about any after-work, spur of the moment happy hours. Want to extend your network outside the membership of your coworking space? There are Slack channels and online communities dedicated to giving freelancers access to a global network of colleagues.
5. Your "coworkers" are here to work, too.
On the other hand, your fellow coworkers are there to work. Maybe they’re developing a new product, launching a campaign, or on the clock to hit a deadline for a client. While your new community might be full of inspiring entrepreneurs that could be new collaborators or long-lasting friends, it’s important to be mindful of their time. Be thoughtful about knowing when to respect their personal work space and when to continue the conversation – a courtesy to your new friends and to those working around you.
These are only a few of many ways to get adjusted to your first coworking space. Each coworking space shines for its own reasons, whether it offers a unique, niche community, unrivaled amenities and perks, or locations in cities you visit frequently. Find out what makes your space unique and make the most of it!
Morris Levy, Co-Founder & CEO at The Yard is also a Brick & Wonder member.