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Summary:

So, you’ve decided that you need to get out of the house and are looking for a coworking space. But how do you make sure you’re making the most of the experience? Read on for my coworking tips.

So, you’ve decided that you need to get out of the house and are looking for a coworking space. But how do you make the most of the experience? Here are some of my favorite coworking tips:

  1. Choose your space carefully. If you’re lucky enough to live in a large city with a choice of coworking spaces, it’s worth looking at more than just the facilities that the space offers. Obviously you want to work in a nice environment, but it’s worth checking out the current mix of members, and see what activities and social events the space offers. Some spaces also offer additional services, like mentorship or the Coworking Visa program (see tip #7 ), that are worth considering. One of the main reasons to join a coworking space is the community. Personally, I like spaces with a very diverse membership as it seems to spark my creativity — mixing with people from other industries gives me new perspectives. Try working at your chosen space for a day or two to see how you get on with the building, the facilities and the current members before taking out a full membership.
  2. Invest in a decent pair of headphones. If you’re used to working on your own, moving to a hybrid coffee shop / office environment can be quite distracting — it can be hard to concentrate on your work when there are a bunch of interesting conversations happening. It’s worth investing in a decent pair of headphones for those times you need to crank out some work. However, you shouldn’t wear them all the time — see the next tip!
  3. Get to know the other members. Part of the reason for joining a coworking space in the first place is the social aspect — so take the headphones off and talk to people when you can. Go out to lunch with the other members. It’s worth getting to know everyone, because you never know what business opportunities could arise out of your conversations — and it’s also great just to have a few people to bounce ideas off.
  4. Respect the space. Each space will have its own house rules that you should obviously stick to (here are Citizen Space’s, for example), but regardless of house rules, use your common sense and courtesy. You’re now in a shared environment, so don’t leave dirty coffee mugs or plates lying around for others to tidy up, don’t touch anyone else’s food, don’t leave your gear all over the place, don’t hog the best spots in the office and don’t make unnecessary noise when others are trying to work.
  5. Use the space to its fullest. If your space allows it, why not organize some events? You could bring in guest speakers on all kinds of interesting topics. It’ll help to bring the community together, will provide promotional opportunities for you and should be a lot of fun. Even if member-run events are not something that’s encouraged, it’s worth talking to the founder or manager — they’d probably view an event as an excellent opportunity to promote the space.
  6. Work in the cloud. It’s unlikely that you’ll be working solely from your coworking space. And while you’ll probably use a laptop while at your coworking space, it’s worth using cloud-based web apps (Google Docs and Zoho, for example) to provide seamless working between machines and locations.
  7. Take advantage of the Coworking Visa program. If your space belongs to the Coworking Visa program, it means that you can work for free in other participating locations all over the world. It’s an excellent way to find a cool place to work while you’re on the road, and also a great way to expand your network.

How do you make the most of your coworking space? Share your tips in the comments.

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Making Coworking Corporate-Scale

Photo by Flickr user hyku, licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

  1. Thanks for the Citizen Space mention. Your post has some good tips. Been thinking of getting some new headphones myself :)

    Also, I’d encourage day trippers/drop-ins to say hello to folks, and to feel free to help with making coffee/tea, snacks in the space, etc. Goes a long way since a lot of spaces work on a shoestring budget/staff, it builds killer good karma, and also helps you to meet people.

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    1. Thanks Jesse — yes, helping out with tea/coffee and even making a run to the donut shop are good ways to get to meet everyone :)

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  2. Sandy Gordon Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Choosing the right kind of working environment does make you more productive. Now a days its easy to choose your workspace, Thanks to all those web apps like GoogleDocs, Zoho, Taroby and many more…

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  3. I work at Coworking Rochester in Rochester, NY. I think it’s the little things that keep our cogs greased and turning. Things like making more coffee if you empty the pot and just being generally respectful to others in the coworking space.

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  4. I’m a member of the @AltamontCowork facility in Tracy. Sometimes working at home just doesn’t cut it — even though I have a full office in my spare room at home (with the printer, scanner, fax, desk, files, WiFi, bookcases, etc.). But the silence and then the intermittent interruptions from the dog, door-to-door solicitors, and so on are enough to drive one insane. At the cowork facility, I can work when I need to and yet have the comeraderie of “coworkers”. We sometimes get great “synergistic” ideas and discussions going.
    I’m a freelance editor/writer with clients scattered around the world, so the diversity in the cowork facility is additionally refreshing.

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  5. Great advice. I’m glad you highlighted ‘Coworking Visa’ which is a terrific program for coworking space members, and I think it will gain more recognition in time as more co-working spaces participate in the program.

    Ky Ekinci
    Co-Founder
    Office Divvy ™

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  6. [...] the full article and get reason for the tips. posted by admin in Coworking and have No [...]

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  7. Great tips Simon! Coworking is a fantastic, affordable and flexible option for many businesses. Love it and support it! For businesses who need need more privacy or who are on the phone a lot, another option to consider is business to business shared office space. I am the founder of http://www.SharedBusinessSpace.com, a national online listing directory of business to business shared spaces for lease. We list all types of shared spaces and send them leads for new members and/or subtenants, including at coworking communities. Check it out!

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