Coworking for Remote Workers: an Introduction
Coworking is not just for freelancers. Coworking spaces are home to independent professionals, small teams, solopreneurs, digital nomads and remote workers.
BENEFITS OF COWORKING FOR REMOTE WORKERS
For remote workers who work from home part-time or full-time, coworking can be a welcome change. In addition to providing much-needed social connections during the workday, coworking spaces offer remote workers several benefits, including:
1. A built-in network: Whether you need to subcontract jobs, find collaborators, or just get a vetted referral, coworking space networks can be invaluable. They’re home to a diverse array of professionals who are generally more than happy to team up on projects or share resources.
2. Professional development events: Whether it’s a casual happy hour, a large networking event or a weekly meetup, coworking spaces host a variety of events to support professionals.
3. Community-building events: Coworking space often host work sprints, accountability groups, skillshares, lunch and learns and more. These casual get-together strengthen the coworking community and offer opportunities to connect with your fellow members outside of more formal networking events.
FINDING THE RIGHT COWORKING SPACE
Every coworking space is different so it’s important to find the right one for your work style and personal preferences. Here are key questions to ask when looking at coworking spaces
1. How’s the noise level? Do you like to work to music? Do you prefer to have a quiet space? Is there a general buzz in the space or is everyone quietly working? Noise levels ebb and flow in a space, but you should be able to get a good sense of the general vibe when you visit.
2. Are there events that interest you? Take a look at the events calendar and see if there are some events that interest you. They may not all speak to you, but if you don’t see anything that piques your interest, it might not be the best community for you.
3. What amenities does the space offer? Does the space have everything you’ll need to feel at home and take care of your business? Amenities to look for include a printer, meeting rooms, a scanner, 24/7 access and, of course, coffee and tea.
4. Does the space have phone booths or call areas? Phone booths offer a way to take private calls without having to book an entire meeting room. If your work includes video and phone calls, make sure there’s a place to make them so you have privacy and you won’t disturb your fellow members by making frequent calls in the open coworking space.
5. Does the space have meeting rooms? If you need to make conference calls or meet with teammates, you’ll need a meeting room. Make sure the space you’re considering offers one or more. Many include a number of meeting room hours with membership, or offer members discounted rates.
6. How’s the location? If the coworking space is not convenient to get to, you won’t go. Make sure to find a space that’s nearby and easy to access.
7. Can you see yourself there? Does the space feel like someplace you can call home? You’ll spend a lot of hours there, so be sure you’re comfortable and have a sense of belonging in it. It will take time to find your place in the community, but the space should feel like a natural fit from the beginning.
Bonus: Part of being a member of a coworking space is contributing to the community. What can you contribute to the community you’re looking at? Do you have ideas for events? Would you like to potentially collaborate with other members? Do you make a mean batch of cookies? Look for ways to contribute and you’ll find yourself fitting right in.
Coworking offers remote workers many of the benefits that come from working in an office, with the freedom and flexibility that makes remote work appealing. If you’re ready to give coworking a try, find a space near you.
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking and community. She publishes the Coworking Out Loud Newsletter and has written for dozens of publications, including Shareable, Yes! Magazine, Mother Jones and Lifehacker. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJohnson