One of the many beautiful things about coworking is the ample freedom it provides. No need to punch in or out, the ability to leave the space to take a walk, that comfortable couch in the corner for midday naps… the decisions are yours. Some find the freedom and culture of coworking to be a daunting change. Do you leave your quinoa bowl in the sink to soak for an hour after lunch? Will introducing yourself to the deskmate who listens to your favorite band be nice or a nuisance? Everyone has these questions, and we at NGIN have the answers. Here are five dos and don’ts to make the most out of coworking.
Don’t… have the messiest desk in the space
You’re probably in a beautiful coworking space with natural light, beautiful artwork, luscious plants, and modern furniture. A cluttered desk is an eyesore and a distraction to the rest of your coworkers! Leaving loose papers, trash, dishes, and other clutter out will make you look unprofessional and sloppy.
Beyond the unsettling visual, a messy workspace is detrimental to productivity. Having to shift an empty plate, a coffee cup lid, and last month’s memos just to get to that one report you need leads to stress and further disorganization. Start fresh and stay fresh; your brain and your coworkers will thank you for it.
Do… clean up after yourself
Make your desk area aesthetically pleasing and neat! This will give off a good first impression. Make sure to not only clean up your desk space, but also any other mess you make, such as coffee cups, dirty dishes, or paper scraps.
With little to no mess to distract you, your productivity will skyrocket, and so will your social capital! In any shared space, cleanliness is not only a courtesy, but a necessity. Everyone deserves a clean workspace, and coworkers are more likely to chat when they’re not distracted by what’s hiding your desk.
Don’t… isolate yourself
It’s not a bad idea to set up shop in a quiet corner or at an empty desk when you have a project to do, but be sure not to isolate yourself from your coworkers all day long. Even if you have a desk in the middle of the space, don’t be the person with headphones in, not speaking a word to anyone else. A coworking space is a unique opportunity to interact with other like-minded entrepreneurs and individuals. Of course you need to focus on your work, but don’t let that focus turn into isolation. Coworking is a great alternative to working from home, which can often lead to loneliness.
Do… be friendly and meet the community
If you’re going to be sharing a space with people, you might as well get to know them! Introduce yourself to the people around you on your first day in the space to establish contacts. Many coworking spaces host events to get the community together (you can find NGIN’s here). Don’t pass up the chance to make lasting connections–and maybe grab a post-lunch snack!
Don’t… be afraid of change
In your coworking space, you will encounter a variety of businesses and companies. Some will be brand new, and others will be veterans in their industry. You may be inspired by another company’s newest accomplishment, or given great advice by a coworker on a change you could make to better your business. If you’re set in your ways, playing it safe might seem like the better option. But you’ll never know what could have been unless you take the risk and go for it– you don’t want to see 10 years from now that someone else did what you were too afraid to do.
Do… be ready for growth
With entrepreneurs all around, you will probably feel the creative juices flowing more than usual. Embrace it! Write down every idea that comes to mind, ask coworkers for their opinions, and even collaborate with other companies in the space! Who knows, joining a coworking space might be the best thing your business could experience.
Don’t… get the same lunch order delivered every day
While it can be extremely convenient to order Chipotle online or have GrubHub deliver to you daily, it’s too repetitive! This doesn’t give you a chance to get outside, stretch, or explore… it’ll only get you really familiar with the delivery person. Most coworking spaces are surrounded by local restaurants and places to get a quick bite. Try a new place, and you might find that it’s better than your usual.
Do… find local eats
One of the best ways to explore the area around your coworking space is to test out the restaurants! Ask coworkers who know the neighborhood for recommendations about the tastiest lunch specials. Leaving on your lunchbreak also lets you get familiar with the buildings, attractions, and streets your coworking space is near. Don’t be afraid to explore your tastebuds–and your new neighborhood!
Don’t… just use your membership for a desk
Yes, your membership gets you a desk–which you probably spend most of your time at. But your membership is actually getting you so much more that you might not even know about. It’s worthwhile to ask your coworking space if they offer any perks to members to get the most bang for your buck. It also benefits you to take advantage of the various amenities in your coworking space, from coffee and snacks to standing desks and post-run showers.
Do… take full advantage of your space
So you find out your coworking business has perks such as discounted prices at restaurants, hotels, gyms, and more. Use these to the max! Try out that cycling place where you get 10% off a membership, or take a trip and stay at a hotel where you’ll get a discounted room. These perks are there for your enjoyment, so you should at least try them once!
You wouldn’t believe all the perks NGIN members have. Check them out for yourself!
Whether you are at a coworking space for a few weeks or many years, you should always try to make the most out of your experience. We hope these tips will guide you to having a better coworking experience. Share this article with your friends and coworkers, as well as leave any dos and don’ts you abide by at coworking spaces in the comment section!
Brianna Rapoza & Madeline Veneziano, NGIN Interns