Did you know that 80% of professionals attribute networking to success and satisfaction in their careers?
It’s easy to see why this is. Networking not only improves a business’ visibility and reputation but it also helps to establish a stronger support system, along with long-lasting and impactful relationships that can propel a brand to success.
As true as that may be, many still struggle with networking. This is especially the case for freelancers and remote workers who don’t have access to the professional networking events that many companies host for their employees.
However, thanks to the rise in popularity of coworking spaces, this is now changing. Many coworking spaces thrive to foster both networking and collaboration, encouraging their members to create connections that will give them the boost that they need in their chosen industry.
Keep reading as Circle Hub explores how coworking spaces have managed to cement their reputation of providing thriving hubs where networking and collaboration are able to shine.
An Open Plan Layout With Shared Spaces
Let’s start by looking at how coworking spaces are physically designed. They initially emerged as a way to break open the barriers created by traditional office cubicles. Rather than providing restrictive and claustrophobic areas for people to work in, coworking spaces embraced open-plan interiors. They’re bright, airy, and spacious, with everyone working in relatively close proximity. There are no physical barriers that separate you from your neighbors.
This in itself is a great way to promote collaboration and networking. It’s so easy to lean over to the person next to you and strike up a conversation, which wouldn’t be possible if you were hidden behind a cubicle.
Without any barriers getting in the way, people tend to interact more. Spontaneous conversation is much more likely, which, in turn, can sometimes also double up as informal networking.
Coworking spaces attract individuals from a variety of different industries. They’re used by professionals of all levels, meaning that every coworking space will consist of a very diverse talent pool.
This tends to be a huge advantage when it comes to networking and collaboration. Whether you’re looking for someone with decades of experience to be your new business partner or you’re looking for a freelance graphic designer to help give your branding a sleeker edge, there’s a very good chance that you’ll find the right person for the job at a coworking space.
Not only is the diversity that you’ll find at coworking spaces beneficial for collaboration and networking, but it creates an inspiring atmosphere to work in as well. Rather than a stagnant ambiance where everyone is trundling through the same tasks, it’s always motivating to see so many different projects on the go when you take a walk around a coworking space.
Most coworking spaces attract new members due to their location and amenities. This results in the diversity that we discussed above. However, some coworking spaces choose to forgo this diversity in exchange for building a niche community.
These niches vary. From gender to profession to lifestyle, these coworking spaces aim to serve specific communities. Some may provide a women-only space while others may focus on attracting scientists or artists or people working in IT. When a niche coworking space is centered around a specialized industry, skill-sharing is far more likely to happen. Not only will you be able to benefit from the ideas of other people, but you’ll also learn from their knowledge and expertise, all of which will be tailored to the specific industry that you work in. In many cases, the advice and education that you receive can be priceless.
When it comes down to it, whatever the niche of a coworking space may be, some people thrive when they’re surrounded by their own kind. This is exactly what these coworking spaces hinge on. By providing a space where people feel comfortable, networking naturally occurs. This means that collaborations are far more likely too.
Tools for Spontaneous Collaboration
As mentioned earlier, spontaneous collaboration is one of the benefits of working at a coworking space.
What exactly does this mean?
Say, for example, you’re trying to come up with some exciting new marketing ideas. While you’re brainstorming on your own, you happen to get chatting with a marketing whiz who also happens to have some time to spare. Continuing on with your brainstorming session together around others who are trying to get some work done wouldn’t be very conducive to those other members. However, at a coworking space like Circle Hub, you can head on over to one of our private office suites or conference rooms, where you can then come up with some amazing new concepts for your business.
Our office suites and conference rooms are all kitted out with the tools that you may need to make the most of your collaboration. From whiteboards to flatscreens, these tools will enable you to ensure that you really put your time to good use.
Networking Events for Members
Another way in which coworking spaces foster networking is by hosting networking events for their members. Some are formal while others, like the networking events that we host at Circle Hub, are more casual.
While there’s definitely nothing wrong with networking seminars and lectures, our members find themselves much more likely to attend our informal events. There’s less pressure and the events themselves also tend to be more enjoyable.
Take the free breakfasts at our Northridge location as an example. Held in the Circle Hub kitchen, you’ll be able to feast on a delicious spread featuring everything from pastries to bagels to fruit. If you’re in a rush and need to grab and go, that’s not a problem. However, for the most part, we find that our members take some time to sit down, eat, and get to know the people around them.
The yoga sessions held at our Ventura location are also extremely popular. Here, you’ll be able to meet other professionals who share your interest in yoga and keeping fit. It’s a fantastic ice-breaker and a great way to meet new people who you already have a connection with.
Informal Day-to-Day Networking
Networking events are great but the true beauty of coworking spaces is how they cultivate day-to-day networking. We’ve already talked about how an open-plan layout and a diverse community encourage this. However, many coworking spaces take things a step further.
This is why, at Circle Hub, we have a number of common areas and shared spaces where you can hang out when you aren’t working. After all, while there’s nothing wrong with networking at your desk with the people around you, you also need to be mindful of the other professionals that are using that space. They may be working on something important and won’t appreciate noisy conversations taking place right next to them.
So, if you meet someone who you want to get to know a little better, you can head on over to one of our common areas. Relax on a sofa, chill out in the kitchen…there are plenty of spots that are perfect for casual conversation.
If you tend to be more of an introvert and don’t naturally get chatting with new people, you’ll likely find things much easier at our gaming room or our on-site gym. Both of these facilities can be used at any time of the day and, just like our yoga events, they’re a great ice-breaker. Whether you’re into real-time strategy Xbox games or prefer to spend your spare time keeping fit and toning your body, everyone around you will share similar interests with you. This makes it so much easier to interact with them.
Exclusive Online Platforms and Directories
While the majority of the networking at a coworking space happens at the space itself, many coworking spaces try to push this even further. How? By providing online platforms for their members to use. This way, their members can connect virtually too.
This gives their members access to an even wider talent pool. After all, they won’t be limited to only networking with the other people that have happened to show up that day. By providing member directories too, professionals will quickly be able to find people that have the skill set that they’re seeking. Meeting up with each other will be easy as well. After all, they both use the same coworking space!
These online platforms help with collaboration too. Some feature chat systems while others provide additional resources for remote collaboration. Not only can members use these to collaborate on projects with each other, but they can also seek feedback for projects that they’re working on on their own. It’s a great way to get a second opinion when you’re unsure about anything!
Onsite Community Managers
While some coworking spaces simply leave people to turn up and get to work, most will have an onsite community manager. It’s their job to oversee the running of the coworking space. They’re there to welcome arriving members and ensure that everyone has everything that they need. They’ll also sometimes be in charge of social and networking events. At the same time, they’ll make sure that the coworking space is kept neat and tidy.
How does this relate to collaboration and networking?
Because your coworking space’s community manager is the person to speak to if you need a little help with your networking efforts. This is often the case when people first sign up to a coworking space. Your community manager can help to introduce you to the right people. They’ll ensure that you settle in smoothly and are able to network and collaborate with ease!
When it comes down to it, it’s easy to see why coworking spaces are seen as being places where networking and collaboration can really flourish. Not only is it so easy to meet new people at a coworking space but most spaces will also provide additional events and resources to encourage their members to mingle and get to know one another. This in itself is a fantastic reason to consider making the move to a coworking space.
Want to check out the coworking spaces at Circle Hub for yourself? Click here to book a tour!