Networking in Coworking Spaces
Why Coworking Spaces are Your Greatest Networking Opportunity
While networking is usually a chore-like task that we reserve for job hunting, there are many benefits to making expanding your personal and professional network a priority at all stages of your career (yes, even if you AREN’T looking for a new job!). Even if you plan at staying with your current company or career path forever, surrounding yourself with like-minded people can improve your work performance and efficiency, lead to creative conversations and innovative ideas, and of course improve your work life balance.
In the age of digital “connectedness”, we often lose the face to face interactions and experiences that used to shape a person’s professional network. Likewise, our constant connectedness means the lines of personal life and professional life have become blurred; its no surprise that our networking styles have followed suit. Coworking spaces provide an incredible opportunity to connect with others on both professional and personal levels.
Proven Happiness Levels
A recent article from Harvard Business Review claims that people who utilize coworking spaces have a happier, healthier outlook on life. There are many reasons coworkers might feel this way. In coworking spaces, people often report feeling that their work serves a greater purpose. With so many skill sets and industries in the same shared office space, the value that each individual brings to the table goes up. Additionally, coworking spaces often eradicate the dreaded “office politics” factor, which is a major contributor to stress in the workplace. All of these factors create a greater sense of confidence in both social and professional aspects, which leads to a happier career outlook. Want to be happier? Coworking may be the solution you are looking for.
Open Environments to Encourage Conversation
While all coworking spaces have different rules or preferences for noise levels, many have an ‘open space’ design concept that is meant to promote collaboration and conversation. From a corporate standpoint, this open concept is a much-needed break from closed off cubicle farms that prevent and even discourage collaboration with coworkers. Encouraging socialization among corporate employees, even on a non-business level, paves the way for even more collaboration and builds coworker relationships that may not have existed in a traditional cubicle setting.
Similar to the open environment concepts implemented in coworking spaces to encourage creative conversation, collaboration with coworkers is easier than ever in coworking office spaces. Working together with corporate team members in a flexible, laid back atmosphere allows for easy collaboration and team building, and can help expand your current professional network. Working with team members can help you to show off your skills and abilities, paving the way for professional references and positive employee reviews. Need quiet meeting space for team meetings and brain storm sessions? Most coworking spaces offer private offices available for a small fee, so you’ll never be without a quiet collaboration space.
Creating Professional Relationships
Coworking spaces provide an excellent platform on which to create lasting professional relationships. The increase in and encouragement of professional collaboration allows coworkers to show off their skills and expertise in their industries to like-minded individuals and corporate colleagues. Coworking spaces provide a comfortable, more casual place for professionals that encourages the growth of lasting professional relationships. Building a strong repertoire of creativity and skill, as well as developing stronger relationships with colleagues, has profound effects on levels of self worth and happiness in the work place.
If you’re a corporate employee in a coworking space, networking in coworking spaces with those on your corporate teams helps build positive relationships that could have profound effects on your career later on. Since you will surely see your coworkers again, building a stronger, more positive connection with your higher ups could help you move up in your current job when it comes time for a promotion. There may even be other opportunities within your current company that you may not have been considered for without these positive relationships. Lastly, a strong relationship with experts in your field can help you learn more about your current industry in general.
Chance to Share Your Voice
In coworking spaces, it is extremely expected that professional conversations become just that – conversational. Groups of life-minded professionals working together in a coworking space is the perfect breeding ground for exchanges of ideas and opinions. This presents your chance to become a part of the conversation! Share your thoughts and findings within your industry, and listen to the thoughts and findings shared by others. In addition to team building and developing relationships, professional conversations can help ensure that you stay up to date on news and new features and continue to develop your industry expertise. When networking in coworking spaces, speak up!
Further Professional Learning
Companies that value work life balance often care about ongoing education and learning as well. More often than not, coworking spaces will offer seminars and learning events right in the coworking space itself. Taking advantage of these ongoing education sessions and meeting others that are interested in continued learning can help you grow your industry knowledge and expand your professional network.