You’ve finally joined your local coworking space, and you can’t wait to meet all those interesting people you see working there. But when you actually set up for your first day of work, you suddenly feel awkward and shy. How do you break the ice? When is appropriate to chat, and what do you do to focus and get work done?
Observe Others and Follow Suit
Your first day in a new coworking space is like going to a new country– your best bet for survival is to watch other people and copy them. Simply pay attention to how and when other members interact. If you see a group of people chatting with each other, simply introduce yourself. Remember, they joined to meet new people too, and the whole community benefits from new members.
Sit in Common Areas
In every coworking space, there are usually designated areas that tend to be more lively and social. At Groundwork! that area is the kitchen bar; I will find myself in at least one conversation if I sit long enough at the bar. Find the social areas in your space, and plant yourself there when you want to meet people.
Headphones are the new office door.
Don’t want to be interrupted? Wear your headphones. Prefer working in silence? Wear them anyway. Headphones are the new office door: when they are on, the door is closed.
Use Digital Tools
The whole point of coworking is to interact in person. Still, digital forms of communication can help you to learn about other members, understand the culture of your space, and start conversations that will continue in person. So use your space’s digital toolbox: forums, email groups, calendars, member profiles, etc. are all great ways to start interacting.
Show up at Events
Almost all coworking spaces maintain a schedule of social and educational events, so show up at them! Events are a great way to discover people who have common interests.
Ask a Member for Help
It can be tempting to ask the space owner or community manager every time you need help, but consider asking another member. Members love to share their knowledge and are usually happy to take a few minutes to help out– plus, you get an excuse to introduce yourself and say hello.