Whenever I talk to students and young professionals who are nervous about networking, my first suggestion tends to be: Find the closest coworking center and try it out for a month.
Here are 10 reasons why coworking isn’t just a fad or a way to get out of the house, but also a great professional development opportunity.
Working From Home? 10 Reasons to Try Coworking Instead.
- Get fresh perspectives.
- Find a change of pace.
- Have deeper conversation.
- Create better work-life balance.
- You can work at a faster pace.
- You can practice a new way of networking.
- There are more opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Find better vibes in a coworking space.
- You can build a richer community.
- Work with more diverse groups of people.
1. Coworking Offers Fresh Perspectives
Whether you work for yourself or a company, coworking can allow you to tap into the experiences of others from different industries. Whether you’re conducting feedback sessions with members of the space or informally asking the opinion of someone sitting next to you, fresh insights are there for the taking. All you have to do is ask.
2. Coworking Offers a Change of Pace
I know sweatpants and slippers do it for some people, but what employee doesn’t want a change of scenery? Coworking centers tend to have open, collaborative floor plans with quirky architectural features. This can help break up the day-to-day monotony of remote work. Coworking spaces also provide a range of flexible workspaces, from open-area seating to office suites, which can help you find the balance between focus hours and happy hours.
3. Coworking Offers Deeper Conversation
Many coworking centers have dedicated areas for conversation and collaboration. Gone are the days where everyone huddles around the water cooler and shoots the shit. People are looking for a deeper connection that informs their current work. This goes doubly when you’ve been working from home and you’re desperate for human connection.
4. Coworking Offers Better Work-Life Balance
No matter what your professional life looks like, just about everyone is talking about work-life balance right now. When you work from home, the lines between personal time and work time get blurry fast. As a freelancer, joining a coworking center gave me tangible boundaries for when and where I work. Work happened in the coworking space and life happened at home. Being able to change locations depending on what I was doing increased my overall productivity — no more commuting downstairs in my boxers.
5. Coworking Offers a Faster Pace
While there are benefits to working in a corporate office, one of the biggest pitfalls is how long it takes for anything to happen, no matter how minor. Is the printer out of paper? You’ll need to submit a request for supplies through your department head, who will have to run it by their manager, who will send it to the head of HR, who will review it and pass it along to the CEO for final approval (or some other combination of bureaucratic nightmares). If you’re working from home you need to put in an online order or run to the nearest big-box office supply store. In a coworking center, you can do it yourself without all hoops to jump through and get on with your business.
6. Coworking Ofers a New Way to Network
No matter your work situation, working with others is usually part of the job description. Whether you’re looking for a new team member or a new client, networking is an important part of career growth. In a coworking center, not only do you have direct access to other workers — you have the ability to tap into their networks.
7. Coworking Offers Interdisciplinary Collaboration
In our professional lives, sometimes it’s hard to know what you don’t know. One of the quickest ways to fill in those knowledge gaps is to interact with people from different backgrounds and disciplines. Coworking forces you to leave your bubble and (ideally) work with others who know what you don’t. After all, nothing you create will ever exist in a vacuum and you can always use practice communicating what you do to others.
8. Coworking Offers Better Energy
I know not everyone believes in vibes or feng shui, but you are undoubtedly affected by your workspace. The average person spends roughly one-third of their life working. Personally, I want to enjoy where I’m spending this time. Most coworking centers have a good balance of productive space and collaborative areas where you can feel creativity and innovation taking place. If you’re a little less touchy-feely, then you can at least enjoy the art while a client yells at you over Microsoft Teams.
9. Coworking Offers Fuller Community
When working in a traditional office, it’s hard to see how your company impacts the local community. A lot of coworking centers position themselves as community hubs that help drive local business and establish mutually beneficial relationships. This can even translate into member discounts at local restaurants and shops. If you luck out, then your local coworking center may even help activate vacant space in your neighborhood.
10. Coworking Offers More Diversity
This is purely anecdotal but in my experience coworking centers host a more diverse group of people from various walks of life than conventional workplaces. Some companies may be hyper-focused on where potential employees went to school or where they’ve worked in the past. In a coworking environment, members are vetted based on their character, their contributions to the community and how action-oriented they are. No ivy league education required.
What are you waiting for? Start building your network at a coworking center.