By September 23, 2011 Read More →

How to shift from solo working to coworking

Shropshire JellyCoworking spaces are popping up all over the place these days, in rural areas as well as town and city centres. If you’re used to working at home alone, like me, you might wonder how on earth you could possibly work surrounded by people you don’t know and who have no connection with your business.

Don’t let doubts like these put you off, as coworking can both brighten up your usual routine and give you a supportive network – without requiring you to go to any events!

Here are some tips to help you acclimatize to coworking:

Check out the space – If you’re lucky enough to have a choice of coworking spaces, check out each one (they often offer a free trial) for factors such as facilities, atmosphere, noise and levels of interaction. Choose the one most suited to your business requirements, personality and whether you simply want another place to work or to become part of a community.

Introduce yourself straightaway – As it can be awkward to do so later when you’ve been working alongside people for a while. Take in some snacks to hand round if you’re a bit shy about doing this and not only will you get to meet everybody but you’ll be guaranteed instant popularity.

Take headphones – If you prefer working in silence you might be distracted at first by people moving around the space and talking on the phone or face to face. Bring in headphones so you can play your own music or one of the white noise apps; do try not to hum along!

Start with easy tasks – If you’re worried about being distracted, at first just take along some routine work that doesn’t require massive concentration. It’s the ideal time to do that computer housekeeping you’ve been meaning to get round to, or research to keep up with your industry. You will adapt to being surrounded by activity and gradually be able to introduce jobs needing more application.

Learn the phone policy – Make sure you know the policy on dealing with phone calls and follow it. That may mean leaving the room to take a call or simply keeping your voice down. It shows consideration if you put your phone on the Meeting setting so that your colleagues don’t have to listen repeatedly to your ring tone.

Chat a bit – Don’t feel guilty about spending time chatting and view it instead as relationship building. You’ll be amazed how much information and advice emerges from these casual exchanges and they can give you enough inspiration to last the rest of the week. And you never know who might be a potential partner – one of your coworkers might be actively looking for just your skills.

The great thing about coworking is that you can choose how much or how little you want to participate, and slot it into your routine where it fits best. Good luck in finding your own perfect balance for maximum happiness and efficiency, and I’d love to hear your own tips for acclimatising.

This post was first published on, the site for people who work out of coffee shops, hotels, airports and their homes every bit as much as the office

Posted in: Coworking

70 Comments on "How to shift from solo working to coworking"

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  1. Going to try my first co-working event next Friday, attending the Manchester Jelly. A little nervous to be honest, as I’m not always that good with new people, but I think it will do me good to get out of my study.

  2. judy says:

    Everybody feels like that, Paul, especially the organiser! You’ll have a great time, and do let us know how you get on.

  3. Wasn’t able to stay all that long at the Manchester Jelly due to family commitments, but cheerful group of people – I’d encourage everyone to give it a go 🙂 Now starting to look at the possibility of starting a small Jelly in the east of Manchester.

    • judy says:

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Jelly, Paul. I’m totally biased, of course, but I do think it’s the friendliest and least intimidating event any home worker could possibly attend!
      And great news about starting another. There’s loads of info under the Work from Home Events tab, and @UKJelly and I will tweet for you once you have a date. Good luck and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help 🙂

  4. Thank you 🙂 Am hoping to visit a possible venue next week which we should be able to use for free, as our first step. I’m keen not to tread on the toes of the great work the guys at Manchester Jelly are doing – but a city as big as Manchester should be able to cope with a few more Jellies 🙂