Picture 20-something men in hoodies and jeans hanging out in a coworking space. Playing foosball, right? This is what the media often depicts, so it’s easy to believe that coworking spaces have been designed exclusively for them.
It’s what I used to think, until I became a coworker for the first time and realized there’s plenty of space for the rest of us, too.
For those of us who offer professional services, it’s easy to find advantages in coworking – the key is to find the space that fits who we are. Whether you’re a creative like me, a consultant, a programmer – anyone who offers a professional service, we all crave the space where we can find focus, inspiration and productivity. We all crave the space to do our best work.
A legitimate challenge while being self-employed is finding a network and maintaining it. Networking isn’t fun when we jump between disjointed events and never see the same group of people twice. To build genuine relationships with others, we need to be connected with the same people repeatedly. While we can become friends with someone when we collide with them again – and again! – in the neighborhood grocery line, we need more intentionality if we’re looking to build a professional relationship.
This is where coworking comes in. Coworking spaces have been designed to mingle the same strangers over and over again. We don’t have to make these spaces the only place we work; as a creative, an environment switch is crucial for me, and I know others who aren’t ready to give up their office or studio space. But when it comes to networking, coworking is the strategy.
Here at COCO you can build your network quite naturally. Within each of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Chicago spaces, you’ll find tables where you’re free to set up and connect with the same or new people every day. If you need your own special space, COCO offers dedicated desks – personal workspaces amidst an energetic hub. Yet, even if you spend most of your time at a dedicated desk, lunch excursions, happy hours and even trips to the central coffee station give you chances to connect with someone new or reconnect with someone you’re getting to know. Classes and workshops led by various professionals serve as further chances to build your network while you also strengthen your skills.
But COCO offers more than the ability to develop your professional network. Various types of memberships allow you to choose how often you visit and whether you work at open tables or desks. Phone booths and conference rooms are also available, and you can bring your clients. The gigabit wifi sure beats your neighborhood cafe, and the coffee (and tea!) are ever-flowing. Each of the four locations in Minneapolis and the single location in Chicago are available to access with every membership and each exudes their own personality, so whether you’re committed to a single location or like to tailor your adventure by the day, you have a chance to discover where and how you best work.
When you invest in yourself and your network, you advance as a professional. For me, I’ve found that coworking has allowed me to turn artistic endeavors into business opportunities by connecting with people who I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t become a coworker. For those of us who work independently and offer professional services we need spaces that are tailored to our needs. If you’re interested in exploring what coworking can offer you, and learn which COCO space may be most tailored towards your work style and personality, schedule a tour with one of our community managers today.