We had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with Melissa Mesku, Founding Editor of New Worker Magazine. As an advocate...
Coworking by definition draws a diverse crowd of free thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators from all walks of life. The success of a coworking space lives or dies by its members. Therefore it’s important to not only ensure a venue plays host to a colorful cast of coworkers but also that everyone understands how they each contribute to their coworking community’s success. Below, we’ve highlighted a few common coworking archetypes and offered our suggestions for how each type can ensure they’re leveraging their natural talents.
Everyone knows you. You’re the office personality, often more extroverted than other coworking archetypes. You’re capable of skipping over the “getting to know you” phase and right into friendships with new members. Much like a moth drawn to the flame, you crave social interaction. Your professional pursuits survive on the currency of constant social interaction. Cooped up at home and left to your own devices, you’d likely go crazy and get nothing done. Meeting new people hypes you up more than a giant cup of coffee ever would.
You’re the first to arrive to Friday Happy Hour and you’re on a first name basis with everyone. Maybe you’ve founded your business around your social nature. You might even offer workshops out of your coworking space. If you’re not already your venue’s community manager, perhaps you should be as it’s a role which would hardly feel like work at all.
Leveraging your strength: Making everyone feel included, welcome, and heard. You’re a natural purveyor of community, which is the glue that holds coworking together. Consider partnering with your space. Perhaps you can help manage their events, or coordinate the weekly happy hour, or even take on duties as a part time community manager. You might even get a sweet discount on your dedicated desk in the process.
To make the most out of coworking, try this: Learn your coworkers and respect their habits. Some might share your infectious enthusiasm for conversation, or require regular chats to hash through the ideas bouncing around in their own head. However others might crave quiet, focused time and find your friendly interjections and musings to be disruptive. This will ensure you’re connecting with the people who want to and respecting the space of those who are easily distracted by conversations.
More than likely, you worked in a professional, structured environment in a past life. Why? Because you’re pragmatic and business-minded, through and through. You chose coworking because you crave routine. Perhaps you come from a business background, but found your own ideas too grand to stay within the confines of a large enterprise. Maybe the red tape and rigidity of the corporate world frustrated you. It could even be a simple fact that you got tired of dressing in a suit every day. You find that coworking is a perfect balance. It offers you a reason to get out of the house in the morning and a place to be but allows you to make your own rules.
Leveraging your strength: You’re a wonderful asset to your fellow coworkers. Your business-minded background makes you a perfect sounding board, especially for creatives looking for some advice on breaking down their big picture idea into a definable set of small, actionable steps.
To make the most out of coworking, try this: Even though you’re in a more freeform environment, find ways to infuse ritual and routine into your workday to ground yourself. Maybe it’s arriving at the same time every morning, or spending your first 15 minutes of the day in the kitchen making your cup of tea. Perhaps it’s eating at the same lunch spot on Wednesdays with someone else from your coworking space. Or even heading out early on Tuesdays and Thursdays to hit a circuit training class at your gym. Whatever type of routine will give you rhythm and focus, make sure you schedule it in.
Your work defines you. You’re the CEO of a promising young startup, a freelancer passionate about collaborating with others, or an entrepreneur who’s working to turn their side-hustle passion into their full-time job. Dedication and commitment is the name of your game. It makes you feel alive, and you wouldn’t have it any other way. Your killer work ethic is endlessly entwined with your sense of personal identity. You’re like a shark in that if you stop moving, you die…at least, that’s perhaps your greatest fear and you’re definitely not willing to find out if. The idea of vacation might stress you out. You live for deadlines, make yourself available to your clients at all hours of the day. Your life is an endless series of to-do lists, but you like it that way. Because there is no greater simple joy than getting to put a checkmark next to something you’ve accomplished.
Leverage your strength: Your passion and dedication to work is infectious, so share it! Many people come to coworking because they wouldn’t get any work done if they stayed home alone, so look for opportunities to help inspire those around you.
To make the most out of coworking, try this: To answer this, we’re throwing it over to our recent guest contributor Kirby Israelson, who wrote a wonderful article all about how workaholics can make the most out of their coworking experience.
Upon first glance, you’re a bit more of a paradox than the other coworking archetypes. While you find solace in the indistinct hum of nearby conversations, the idea of initiating a conversation with a stranger sits just outside of your comfort zone. You want to be around people, but being around too many people can also cause you major anxiety. At gatherings, you tend to hover around the edges. While you love being a part of community, you find you can also get easily overwhelmed in more hectic social situations.
Despite this, you know in your heart of hearts you’re a social person. These are just roadblocks on your way to finding your place within your coworking community. Because that’s what drew you to the movement in the first place. You were hungry for the chance to slough off the physical and emotional pain of being a perpetual nomad. you were tired of wandering from place to place without a community to call your own. While you are comfortable being alone, you’d rather be alone around other people. It doesn’t make a lot of sense when you say it out loud, but it’s who you are.
Leverage your strength: Your interest in connecting with your community makes you naturally compassionate towards the struggles of new members. Keep an eye out for these newcomers. When someone signs up for a desk at your coworking space, make sure and introduce yourself. After all, you’ve been in their shoes before.
To make the most out of coworking, try this: Do you find larger group settings an intimidating environment in which to make connections? Seek out smaller, less stimulating events. Lunch and learns and other events which are formed around a specific theme are also great, as they create a natural conversation-starter and are generally more intimate gatherings. Or, try showing up to a certain event near its start time. You’ll get a chance to enjoy the event before it becomes too over-saturated with people.
Some might be quick to assume you’re shy. But what many people don’t seem to understand is that you’re perfectly content to mostly keep to yourself. You’re often mistaken for a curious ambivert, as people have a hard time believing that someone would come to coworking who’s relatively uninterested in socializing. While many come to coworking to connect with others, for you, coworking is about the motivation of being out of the house to get something done. If you stayed at home, you’d get too easily distracted. It’s likely that you’re a bit of an early riser or a true night owl. You gravitate towards coworking spaces that offer 24/7 access. This is because you find you often get your best work done when no one else is around.
Leverage your strength: Because you’re naturally more sensitive to noise and distraction negatively impacting your work, share constructive feedback with your coworking space’s manager. Coworking space is work space, after all. Do you tend to stick around and work into the night? This also means you’re probably one of the last ones out of your space. This shoulders you with the unique responsibility to ensure you’re leaving the space in good shape for the next day. Remember to turn off the lights and lock up behind you.
To make the most out of coworking, try this: When you’re in a coworking space, things can get noisy and distracting easily. Improve your coworking productivity by investing in high quality headphones, perhaps even canceling ones. Look into white noise apps like Noisli to mix your own white noise to help focus. If your coworking space has phone booths or other quiet nooks, steal away for chunks of time to power through your work. Furthermore, set boundaries with your coworkers and let them politely know how you work best. Encourage them to send you an email or a slack message, rather than interrupting you. Wear your headphones when you’re getting focused work done, even if you’re not listening to something. This signals to others that you’re in a flow state. Most of all, don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.
You’re the hardest to nail down, and with good reason–your defining characteristic is that you don’t fit into the coworking scene on paper. Perhaps you’re a lawyer, or belong to another profession that’s vastly under-represented in the coworking scene. Maybe you’re a high school student or a seasoned professional on the verge of retirement, the outliers by age. Whatever it is, there’s some defining characteristic that separates you out from other, more clearly defined coworking archetypes. You know what’s really, truly wonderful? You’re the definition of coworking, personified.
Leverage your strength: You’re capable of offering a fresh perspective. Whether it’s helping a coworker who’s stuck in a client-related problem or working with your coworking space’s manager to help dream up a more efficient way to store the extra coffee grounds after a Costco run, you inject freshness into the problem solving practice.
To make the most out of coworking, try this: Be yourself. No, but really. Coworking needs people like you, people who break the coworking mold, to be unabashedly, declaratively yourself. Coworking’s distinct lack of homogeneity is what makes it such an exciting, appealing work environment. It’s the spark that keeps the movement not only alive but constantly growing at an exponential rate. So carve your own path, because the coworking world needs people like you.
Don’t feel you fit into one of these coworking archetypes? We’d love to hear how you choose to define yourself. Feel free to leave it in the comments or shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org