Networking is an essential part of building a business, whether as a company or as an individual, and creating networking opportunities can be difficult. Yet, it’s made easier through coworking.
While fortune smiles on many a leader and entrepreneur, most opportunities have to be made, forged through incessant communication and a thick hide against potential rejection.
But aside from the shrewd nature of networking for survival, it’s important to create networking opportunities for success. The top dogs only stay on the top so long as they strive to update and innovate, and that’s only possible by talking to (and working with) all sorts of professionals.
One cannot deny the importance of networking, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not exactly a free or always profitable action – it takes time, money, and even more time, and it’s especially hard for freelancers and lone workers.
Coworking provides an opportunity to do more than be trendy – it improves a business’ abilities to cooperate and network with other professionals, fosters a more positive work environment, and takes advantage of one of the most powerful human social mechanisms: the power of community.
Does Coworking Promote Networking Opportunites?
Whereas networking is the process of meticulously gathering contacts and establishing bridges, coworking is the process of working between, on, and around these bridges.
If traditional offices are individual towns, coworking tries to bring villages together into urban sprawls, fostering both a sense of togetherness and the potential for new growth and innovation.
At first, it might sound like coworking spaces are ill-equipped to deal with businesses and individuals working together – a certain perceived lack of privacy and the distracting elements of working in an open space sound antithetical to productivity and competition.
But time and time again, the popularity, effectiveness, and growth of the shared workspace all around the world has proven that it not only increases productivity, but helps businesses thrive despite working in such close quarters.
From massive corporations like Google to small businesses looking for a cost-effective alternative to leasing office space, coworking has helped countless companies of all sizes establish that a cooperative atmosphere that fosters networking opportunities and communication leads to better results.
1. Open Spaces Create an Open Atmosphere
The success of the coworking space cannot be overstated. Among top offices in the US, growth surpassed 60 percent in 2017 to 2018.
In part, this is due to the nature of the coworking space as an open office. Businesses and freelancers alike are free to rent their respective spaces and take advantage of a myriad of different amenities.
2. A Casual Work Experience Fosters Cooperation
One of the main changes in a coworking space is the removal of strict and stifling hierarchies. While the manager is the manager, and the boss is the boss, there’s much greater accessibility between members and an increased level of communication.
It becomes easier to ask questions, collaborate, and organize projects. Separate teams come together much more smoothly, and a malleable workspace makes for a much less rigid definition of ownership. Instead of owning a single space, there is an emphasis on sharing all spaces.
While this might not seem conducive to business, the reality is quite the opposite. This approach to working has led to greater levels of productivity in many cases, and it is one of the reasons why coworking continues to grow and flourish as it does.
3. Coworking Space Generates a Sense of Community
If nothing else, a coworking space always evolves to become something greater than simply the sum of its parts. When professionals converge and find ways to cooperate on projects they enjoy working on, in an environment that doesn’t attempt to stifle them, true magic can happen.
It doesn’t always happen, of course. Partnerships can break, ideas come and go, dates may be set but not always followed up on. But despite how ephemeral these bridges might seem, it remains an ideal place to come across the right professionals at the right time, or get the right idea with the right person.
Shared office spaces do this, all while maintaining that while we may work on different projects, there’s a sense of community in a coworking space that isn’t found in a traditional office, much less in working from home. Coworking quashes loneliness, creates networking opportunities, and helps workers feel like they’re part of something greater. That feeling of community is an essential human need.
4. Networking Opportunities Keep the Office Sociable
Communicating is key to coworking culture. But it isn’t always easy to communicate between coworkers, let alone between businesses.
There is a lot of complexity to proper communication at a coworking space because you have to remember that the people working together there are:
- Usually working on very separate projects
- Working with very different specializations
- Utilizing varying levels of experience and competence
This makes the most of the oft-eclectic members of a coworking space means knowing what to do and what not to do.
For one, the most important thing is to focus on your work. One of the few challenges coworking spaces pose is a certain lack of routine. It’s not entirely your space, and there’s bound to be something different going on each day.
You share the space with many other people and must deal with potential opportunities to network with other professionals, potential distractions or interruptions, and other unplanned changes.
Coworking spaces often feature weekly or monthly events, which may or may not interest you. Finding the time to crystalize all you’ve learned and harvest the progress you’ve made communicating with others by turning it into tangible progress on any given project is important. It is, after all, still an office.
5. More Time Spent Around Other Skillsets
Understanding how someone does their job in an entirely different department will not only give you a greater understanding of what they’re doing, but it can help you get a better insight on your own responsibilities.
Maintain a sociable attitude. Prioritize your work when you need to and give yourself time each day to truly be undisturbed and concentrate entirely on the tasks at hand but take your time to catch up with your coworkers, with freelancers, and with professionals in entirely different fields.
The networking opportunities coworking spaces present also help workers further broaden their horizons and potentially discover new facets to the industry they’re working in, maybe giving them the incentive to pick up a new skill or diversify elsewhere.