Entrepreneurial and corporate co-working spaces are popping up throughout the U.S. at a record pace. Co-working franchises such as WeWork, NextSpace, and Coalition are top names for entrepreneurs, tech start-ups, and corporate remote employees. Moreover, more are entering the space by the droves.
As this article from Allwork states, co-working is the new normal. Consider these statistics:
- There are an estimated 35,000 flexible workspaces in the world today.
- The co-working space industry is worth around $26 billion.
- 40% of flexible workspace demand is forecast to come from large and corporate companies.
Co-working spaces offer a way to get out of homes and coffee shops to mix and mingle with other executives. The networking opportunities co-working spaces provide are limitless. But it’s sometimes difficult to build meaningful relationships just by sitting in proximity with other workers.
Co-working individuals need a way to make real connections with each other
From headphones to noisy corridors to open offices, it seems that building a lasting network of connections with fellow co-working individuals is next to impossible. But there are ways to overcome communication barriers and build your own community of trusted advisors, potential customers, mentors, and friends.
In this article, we will share with you some of the top ways co-working individuals are creating success by taking advantage of the unique nature of working alongside people who are worth knowing but who are not your fellow employees.
#1: Build time into your schedule for networking and relationship building
You schedule a time for everything else: reviewing email, working on projects, building out plans for new initiatives. Why not schedule 30 minutes each day to get up from your desk and walk around? Opportunities to connect abound in communal lunch rooms, coffee stations, and even hallways and stairwells.
By establishing a daily routine of using small chunks of time getting to know fellow co-working individuals, you force yourself to socialize, share information, and learn something new. The relationships you build with other corporate remote workers and entrepreneurs can literally change the way you work, and change your perspective on your own business or industry to boot.
#2: Hold your own event: workshops, lunch and learns, and exhibits
Conducting your own events means you get to take charge of networking opportunities and put you and your company out there for relationship building. Figure out ways in which what you do for a living is of value to the different types of people you encounter daily. Put together workshops that provide value and establish some time for mutual networking. Set up an exhibit close to the entrance of the space, and reach out to those who pass by you.
Taking charge of your relationship building by holding your own events not only allows you to meet and relate to people at the event, but it also allows you to become visible within your co-working space for future interactions.
#3: Attend events held at your co-working space
To promote interaction, most co-working spaces offer frequent get-togethers, which provide an opportunity to get together as a group and socialize. From in-house happy hours to outright networking events, members take their business cards and work at finding people at other companies with complementary offerings. These connections lend themselves to potential new business, referrals, and plain old friendships that would naturally occur within an in-office corporate setting.
Many organizations are starting to use technology that permits them to encourage genuine and unique relationships at these social and business events. Tools like Mixtroz allow event planners to place people in small breakout groups during a networking event, for the purpose of building deeper connections and professional intimacy with others who fit specific criteria the event planner sets up.
Attendees download the Mixtroz app and answer a series of questions designed by the event planner to place people together in groups based on similar interests, similar industries, or even different personality types for the optimum mix of people. The results are often staggering, as people tend to find surprising things in common in these types of small group breakouts, and discover mutual interests and even mutual colleagues they wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Put yourself out there, and reap the rewards
Whatever method you use to network at your co-working space, the relationships you develop can mimic a traditional corporate office environment – they just take a little more work. Networking is a marathon, not a race – and people who are most successful with their networking efforts realize that it’s not a one-time activity but rather something done regularly, over time, and with consistency.
Brainstorming opportunities, building a sense of personal community, and developing valuable professional and personal relationships are possible within a co-working space. You just have to take your headphones off, step out from behind your whiteboard, and make it happen!
Mixtroz is an app-based tool that engages and improves events for attendees while collecting data for our event hosts – a 360-degree ROI. Users download the app, complete a virtual name tag and survey customized by the organizer. At a predetermined time, the app simultaneously matches attendees and guides them to an intelligently automated match of people for a curated group connection experience IN REAL TIME! At the completion of the “mix” the organizer gains the visualized survey data collected from the interactions which can be used to drive future marketing and programming decisions. Mixtroz can be up and running at your company in no time at all. So, to get started working less and innovating more, visit Mixtroz at www.mixtroz.com, or contact us here.