5 Co-working Tips for Newbies
We talked to co-working aficionados, Self Interactive Owner Charlie Rosenbury and Eric Chambers, senior consulting manager at Torrent Consulting, to find out how you can make the best of your co-working experience.
Don’t just eat lunch at your desk every day. “One of the [biggest] advantages of working in a co-working space is being part of a community that is bigger than your own company,” Chambers says. So, try eating your bagged lunch in the break room and invite others to join you. “Since you aren’t working on projects together, you have to be intentional about developing relationships,” he says.
Be Space and Time Savvy
Some people thrive while working at home, but separating your environments—where you work and where you relax—has huge psychological benefit, Rosenbury says. “Changing up your scenery can help you be more intentional about managing your time, which is key to co-working and owning your own business,” he says.
Most co-working spaces have quite the community. Some even offer free programming and events for members. “Attend the events that your co-working space sponsors,” Chambers says. It’s a great way to meet people and contribute to your co-working community.
By being in a co-working space, you benefit from being so close to people of varying backgrounds, sharing skills and sharing information. “I often meet people with skill sets that complement mine, where we can collaborate on a project,” Rosenbury says. “Or even people with skill sets that match mine, where I can get a second opinion on something.” Give referrals when you see a good fit and you’ll get them in return. Be open to helping others and to learning from your peers, even if they’re not in your industry.
“Being around people who are building something can be energizing, but it can also be distracting,” Rosenbury says. Both he and Chambers suggest investing in a set of headphones with a microphone, so you can disconnect from conversations when necessary. “You can use them to drown out background noise when you need to focus and to make calls without disturbing others,” Chambers says.
Co-working is one of the fastest growing work trends this decade. We’ve been keeping up with the different models of co-working, community and programming happening around the nation. Here are a couple of our favorites that have yet to grace 417-land.
Around the nation, women are harnessing inspiration and success by creating single-sex co-working spaces, including at St. Louis’s RISE Collaborative Workspace. Rosie co-founder Rachel Anderson takes notice. “Springfield has a lot of great business and social networks already established for women; it’s refreshing to continue to see additional opportunities for encouragement, community and advancement [in 417-land],” she says.
Co-working with On-site Child Care
Some spaces, such as The Hatchery in Columbia, are now adding on-site child care packages to co-working memberships. For freelancing parents, this is a dream come true. Unconventional jobs mean unpredictable schedules and income, but a pay-as-you-go co-working plus childcare model could be the perfect solution.