We’re Growing! AKA How To Be Nice To A Coworking Newb

hello-my-name-is

As you may or may not have noticed, there are some unfamiliar faces around Cohere Coworking Community these days (and we’re not just talking about Eva, although hers is arguably the cutest).

Please join me in welcoming….

Madison Crowley, Social media specialist
Chris Lenfert, Freelance designer
Derek Haynes, Co-founder at Scout Monitoring
Dani Grant, serial entrepreneur
Lauren Garrison, independent contractor at Cognitive Change Concepts
Lee Porter, Founder of Innovation News

All of these new members are great because it means the message of coworking is reaching a greater number of the Northern Colorado entrepreneurs who need to hear it. It also means that we’ve got work to do.

The main benefit of coworking is the community and camaraderie it provides. In traditional work environments, this community forms around water cooler chatter or mutual hatred for the TPS Report. As a coworking space, most of us love what we do, so we form connections based on skill sets, or hobbies, or caffeine addiction levels.

Many of us are seasoned veterans of the coworking scene, and it’s easy to forget what it was like to be newb (more on that in a future post). Before you can drink the kool-aid, someone has to invite you to the compound. And in order for new members to have their “aha” moment and become firmly rooted in our community, we’ve got to show them how awesome it is to be here.

Of course, we can’t make people love us. But we can make it hard for them not to. Tomorrow (or the next time you’re here) try a few of these (newbs, this goes for you too!):

1. Sit at a completely different desk than you usually do.
2. If someone comes in that you’ve never seen before, take out your earbuds and introduce yourself.
3. Come to Uncles Pizzeria next Monday, and find out what the heck colunching is.
4. Ask the person next to you what their ideal project would be.
5. Bring donuts (this will automatically make you VIP for the day)

Most of all, just be your awesome, creative selves and never become so buried in your work that you can’t flash someone a smile. Sometimes that’s all that’s necessary to go from feeling like an outsider to a cool kid!

Image via Alan O’Rourke/Flickr

Why Bigger Coworking Spaces Aren’t Always Better

Small Table With Laptops

Most humans are hard-wired to want the biggest and the best, whether you’re talking about burgers or boats. Independents are no different, and we often push for growth without really thinking about what’s best for our business or clients.

As interest in coworking increases all over the world, many space owners will be tempted to move the community out of its loft or small storefront, and into larger warehouses or standalone buildings. While expansion might allow space for more members, it could actually have a negative affect on the level of comfort and collaboration.

Seat capacity of Coworking Spaces in Europe (Source: Entreprise Globale & Tech4i2)

The recent Global Coworking Study found that over 50 percent of coworkers prefer to share a workspace with less than 20 people, and at least 21 percent say they work well in a space with fewer than 50 other coworkers. Less than 4 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to work in a workspace with more than 50 users.

There are a few reasons why these findings make sense, both for coworkers and space owners:

A More Intimate Community

When a coworking space maintains a small to moderate size, the members are more likely to get to know each other on a personal level. This facilitates more comfortable conversations and productive collaboration. A massive space with hundreds of members might be lucrative, but it’s likely to lose the intimacy and spontaneity that makes the coworking community so special. Members become ships passing in the night–with no knowledge of the struggles or successes of their fellow independents.

Higher Desk Utilization

It might seem counter-intuitive for a coworking space owner to limit the growth of the community, but as the Global Coworking Study points out, there are some interesting reasons for doing so. In addition to a less connected community, bigger coworking spaces usually see a lower the desk utilization load factor, and fewer full-time members. Members of smaller coworking spaces know that desks are limited, and they’re more likely to sign up for permanent desk space so they’ll be assured a space no matter when they decide to work.

What do you think?

Do you prefer a coworking space to have fewer than 50 members? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in a comment!

Read more insights from the survey:
Part 1 – 1st Global Coworking Study: What Coworkers Want
Part 2 – 1st Global Coworking Study: The Coworker’s Profile
Part 3 – 1st Global Coworking Study: The Coworking Spaces
Part 4 – 1st Global Coworking Study: Female Coworker vs. Male Coworker

Image Credit: Flickr – #96

Growing Your Business By Keepin’ It Real

Coworking Out of Bounds

The new year is here and that means many freelancers and small business owners are setting challenging goals for themselves, both personally and professionally. When challenging yourself to earn, create, or accomplish more, remember that although you may not answer to anyone else, it doesn’t mean you should take advantage of yourself by creating situations in which your time and talent will be overextended.

We talk a lot about engaging and making ourselves available for the coworking community and community at large, but agreeing to projects beyond your limit is an easy way to breed frustration and apathy–two traits that are deadly for the independent professional.

This year, pledge to remember that you’re only human. Stop saying yes when in your head you’re scrambling to think of a way that you’ll get it done in time. Refrain from agreeing to that aggressive deadline or early morning meeting when you know that your other work will suffer because of it. Be honest with clients and coworkers about how much you can handle, and know that the most beneficial growth, both as a person and a business owner, is that which occurs at a sustainable pace.

You’ll feel more pride about the high quality work accomplished when you operate within your limits, and the anxiety about income goals and number of clients fades naturally as people are attracted to the calm, organized, professional manner in which you do business.

Have you ever said yes to a project or deadline when you should have said no? Share your experience in a comment!

Image Credit: Flickr – Phillip

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