Mara Savina Falstein is the Community and Content Manager for ShareDesk, the largest platform for flexible workplaces with a network of over 5,000 locations spread across 40+ countries. She explores the ever-evolving coworking movement, sharing the stories and voices of ShareDesk's diverse global community.


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When meeting new people makes you socially anxious, how do you ensure you have a successful coworking experience?


As the Community and Content Manager for ShareDesk, you’d better believe I love meeting new people and coworking out of new spaces. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: I also harbor my fair share of social anxiety.

I’m a classic ambivert, through and through. I love trying new things, but can easily psych myself out from trying something new if I feel that there are too many unknowns. I’m also easily overwhelmed when walking into a situation where everyone else knows each other. These factors kept me from coworking as often as I’d have liked to before I became a ShareDesk employee. Coworking can feel like a private club you’re trying to infiltrate, if you haven’t tried dropping into a new space before. So if you find the idea of coworking drop-in’s both intriguing and intimidating, how do you brave the intimidating world of coworking?

Research, research, research.

Finding your perfect coworking space is no easy task. I’m a chronic researcher and–while I sometimes take it overboard–I’ve also found it to be an insanely useful technique for dispelling my fear of the unknown. The first thing to consider is what you want to get out of your coworking day, as that will help you narrow your focus. If you’re going to be making a lot of phone calls, make sure the coworking space you’re heading to has phone booths. If you want to network, try and coordinate visiting on a day where they have a social event planned for the end of the workday (Fridays are often a great day for this).

But remember that planning for your workday is only one piece of the puzzle. Give some thought to what surrounds your actual time coworking, too. If you’re biking there, might want to check and see that they have bike storage. Planning to grab your lunch while you’re out? Give yelp a quick skim to ensure there are some good options nearby.

Doing a bit of research beforehand helps you eliminate some unknown variables, frames your upcoming experience, and can help narrow down your options based on what’s important to you. For more tips on the research stage, check out our article on finding your perfect coworking space.

Send a message to the host

I highly recommend contacting the host of your coworking space before you show up. It’s a great chance to ask any lingering questions (perhaps questions you raised in your research above) and make a connection beforehand. I’ve found that having an anchor point of someone who’s expecting me helps for two reasons. Firstly, it holds me accountable to actually showing up. It also gives me a known factor, a person expecting me, who will help get me settled.


Set realistic, achievable expectations for the day

We are our own worst critics. Therefore it’s easy to get yourself into trouble if you set your sights too high. After all, you’re only human. Just successfully showing up to a space might be a big deal for you if you’re socially anxious. How do you make sure your coworking experience is successful?

Give yourself an achievable task that you have complete control over. Maybe it’s checking one specific item off your to-do list. Maybe it’s introducing yourself to one other person at the coworking space. Whatever you need to complete in order to feel like you had a successful day of coworking, set a specific goal beforehand. If it’s your first time coworking, or your first time coworking out of a new space, keep your goal small. It will help ensure you have a positive experience. This in turn will make it easier for you to take that leap again.

Just go for it!

I’ve often found that the hardest part is getting started. It took me weeks to muster up the courage to set foot inside my first coworking space. But once I showed up, I realized that it wasn’t so scary, after all. I promise that once you’ve tried it out, you’ll realize most of the fears you had were entirely unfounded.

If you’re ready to give coworking a try, explore the coworking options in your city on the ShareDesk marketplace!