Panel Video: What makes coworking feel like home?

How do you make a coworking space feel like home?

What are some of the little things that make you feel comfortable in your work space? Is it a friendly face who knows your name? A quiet corner for napping? Beautiful art on the walls?

We recently participated in People at Work Summit, a virtual coworking conference organized by our friends at Indy Hall in Philadelphia.  During our panel discussion, we got a chance to ask this very question to three of our members. It was fascinating to hear right from our members themselves exactly what they do to feel at home here at Groundwork.

Here’s the full video. It’s a high-energy, 30-minute panel discussion and it is super insightful about what life at Groundwork! (or at any coworking space) is really like:

Napping at a coworking space

Is napping at coworking spaces really a thing?

Napping at a coworking space

Artist Tim Cole snoozes after installing a solo show in the GW gallery.

We probably owe the evolution of the modern workspace to those posh campuses in Silicon Valley: game rooms, couches, gourmet food, yoga, and car washes seem like great perks to improve employee quality of life. But is it really just a clever trap to ensure that you NEVER leave the office?

Coworking: Work with options

Enter the coworking movement. One of the guiding principles of coworking is that we show up to work at the office because we want to… not because we have to. And yet many of our spaces feature similar perks: at Groundwork! we have a hammock, bean bag, dart board, and ping pong table.

I’ve visited many spaces that have a nap area incorporated into the office layout:

Do people really, actually sleep at coworking spaces?

While the answer is yes, napping has yet to become a common phenomenon.

At Groundwork! our favorite napping area is the large blue bean bag in the Doug Out room. You can reserve this room for 20 minutes, lock the door, and snooze without worry of interruption. I’ve had some epic power naps in the Doug Out.

Doug Out Bean Bag

GW member Doug Lane uses the bean bag in his namesake room.

We also have a hammock for folks who don’t mind sleeping out in the open. I’ve napped in the hammock: throw a scarf over your head and put your headphones in, and the rest of the world disappears.

Still, many people chuckle at the sight of me taking a nap:

Did she have a rough night?

The truth: sometimes I get that late afternoon slump. And rather than reach for the caffeine or waste time sleepily on Facebook because I can’t focus on anything else, I elect to close my eyes for a few.

Napping keeps me on task. After a 20 minute power nap I return to my desk and get a couple more hours of high productivity before I leave the office.

The perfect work life balance

It’s a pretty exciting time to be alive, and the work day is evolving quickly. While some of us pursue Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week, others throw themselves into marathon days of coding, gaming, and napping. I’d like to think that coworking offers us something in the middle: a space where work and life seamlessly integrate. At a coworking space you can meet friends, socialize, take a nap, and get shit done so that you have more time to get outside, play with the kids, or do whatever it is that makes you happy.

Coffee at Groundwork
meeting-at-groundwork-feature
groundwork-business-buzz

How to meet people and still get work done in a coworking space

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You’ve finally joined your local coworking space, and you can’t wait to meet all those interesting people you see working there. But when you actually set up for your first day of work, you suddenly feel awkward and shy. How do you break the ice? When is appropriate to chat, and what do you do to focus and get work done?

Observe Others and Follow Suit

Your first day in a new coworking space is like going to a new country– your best bet for survival is to watch other people and copy them. Simply pay attention to how and when other members interact. If you see a group of people chatting with each other, simply introduce yourself. Remember, they joined to meet new people too, and the whole community benefits from new members.

Sit in Common Areas

In every coworking space, there are usually designated areas that tend to be more lively and social. At Groundwork! that area is the kitchen bar; I will find myself in at least one conversation if I sit long enough at the bar. Find the social areas in your space, and plant yourself there when you want to meet people.

Headphones are the new office door.

Don’t want to be interrupted? Wear your headphones. Prefer working in silence? Wear them anyway. Headphones are the new office door: when they are on, the door is closed.

Use Digital Tools

The whole point of coworking is to interact in person. Still, digital forms of communication can help you to learn about other members, understand the culture of your space, and start conversations that will continue in person. So use your space’s digital toolbox: forums, email groups, calendars, member profiles, etc. are all great ways to start interacting.

Show up at Events

Almost all coworking spaces maintain a schedule of social and educational events, so show up at them! Events are a great way to discover people who have common interests.

Ask a Member for Help

It can be tempting to ask the space owner or community manager every time you need help, but consider asking another member. Members love to share their knowledge and are usually happy to take a few minutes to help out– plus, you get an excuse to introduce yourself and say hello.

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What are the perks of coworking?

Why would you want to come into a big, shared coworking space with no privacy when you could just stay warm at home and jam away on your laptop in your jammies all day? After all, isn’t the freedom to work from home why many of us turn to freelancing and self-employment?

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