So you've decided to join a coworking space. You’re tired of working from home, of scoping out the best seats at coffeeshops, of always working alone even when among a crowd. If you’re looking for a community, you made the right choice. At the right coworking space, you’ll find yourself among people who’ve chosen a similar path as you, which gives the whole thing a sense of shared enterprise you won't get at Starbucks. When I joined my first coworking space, 100State in Madison, WI, my professional life immediately became less isolated, less solitary, and less stagnant. That was no surprise. That’s what coworking spaces are supposed to do. What did surprise me, though, was how much it also improved my social life. Here’s three reasons why.
1. Making new friends gets you new clients (and the other way around)
As a freelancer, you're always looking for new clients, which has a way of making every discussion into a pitch session. This can get old and, frankly, it’s not that fun at parties. But pitch fatigue isn’t an issue at coworking spaces; the synergy between members means that at the same time you’re getting to know someone, both of you are learning more about how each of you might be able to help the other. Besides, there’s nothing gauche about slipping into your pitch—it’s why you’re all there. And when you do find someone to collaborate with, the time you spend together often means you leave the experience as more than client and customer, but as friends.
2. If you chose the same coworking community, you’ve probably got a lot in common
Every coworking space has its own feel, a unique identity and atmosphere. Forum’s focus is on community, and social interaction, and the innovation, inspiration, and collaboration fostered by creative proximity. Other spaces may have different value sets, often tied to their physical space—it’s hard to stumble on new collaborators when everyone’s locked away in private offices—which makes your choice of coworking space a form of self-expression. When you get a group of people together who all want something more than just a place to sit, there’s an immediate sense of connection—often in addition to shared values, traits, and interests—which in turn cultivates a deeper sense of community. The result is a positive feedback loop that grows along with the space.
3. You’ll never be at a loss for small talk
At most coworking spaces, the social community revolves around its events—at Forum, our members have the opportunity to share discussions over dinner, hang out at monthly community gatherings, or talk to the featured local artist at the monthly gallery night. That kind of socializing isn't always easy, though. I know it’s not for me, especially after a long day on the grind. But when you’re part of the same space, your shared membership always gives you something to talk about—what do you do, when’d you join, what’s your side hustle, etc. Tell me more about your app—no, please, I’m simply dying to know. It’s a perfect formula for easy discussion, especially given the amount you may otherwise have in common.
So, while what I’d gone looking was a comfortable, welcoming place to work, I ended up finding something much more powerful: a comfortable, welcoming place to be. Choose your coworking space carefully, make sure it fits you—not just your work schedule, but you—and I bet you’ll have a similarly fulfilling experience.