Believe It or Not, Many Introverts Actually Do Love to Work in Coworking Spaces
Even though introverts tend to like their quiet spaces, many still want to be a part of a community, attend events, and meet awesome people. That’s just human nature.
Although, it’s not surprising that an introvert might fear what New York Magazine recently dubbed the “Introverts Hangover”, an actual physical reaction to overstimulation, after which, all you want is to be at home, alone, where it’s quiet. That high level of constant engagement isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t need to define your experience with coworking.
If you identify yourself as being an introvert, you likely don’t want to work around a lot of activity. And yet, you may still want to be around people and get out of the house from time to time.
You may be surprised to find that there are a lot of awesome introverted people, just like you, working in coworking spaces. On any typical work day there may be up to 20 + individuals happily coworking independently together all day long – by choice.
How is that possible? Most coworking spaces are designed to cater to the mix of ambiverts, extroverts, and introverts all working under the same roof. In and of themselves, coworking spaces consist of a spectrum of micro-environments including, community spaces, quiet spaces, private spaces, meeting rooms, phone rooms/booths, and event spaces.
Just in case you aren’t aware, coworking spaces are shared office spaces where you can basically get a membership to work in a shared professional work environment alongside other startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies. They tend to be open-plan, modern-style offices, designed for solopreneurs as well as bootstrapped startups and growing companies who want affordable, dedicated space that works for their budget.
Of course not all coworking spaces are created equal, which is why it’s always a good idea to visit a few different coworking spaces in your area to find one that is a good fit for you. Most coworking spaces offer guided tours with their community cultivator, as well as a free day pass to give you a chance to work in the space for a day.
Here is a Helpful Introvert's Guide to Coworking
• Work in quiet spaces or rooms for moments of solitude. Many coworking spaces have a dedicated room or portioned off area without music and fewer conversations.
• Use Headphones. Headphones do two things 1) Let you listen to some pretty sweet jams 2) Signal to others not to bother you.
• Ask the community cultivator to connect you with other community members. We all know that coworking spaces can offer so much more than a physical location to get the job done. A coworking environment should function as both an office space and a hospitality experience. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out -- if it feels like a “cold call” -- ask for help. Ask to be introduced to someone with skills you don’t have such as a CPA, or a tech specialist.
• You don’t have to do everything. Coworking is a community workspace with several events happening each week but it’s not essential to partake in every activity. Participating in a few events per month can be rewarding.
• Move Around. The beauty of a coworking space is you can create the experience that works for you throughout the day. Working in a coworking space allows you to easily move around. You can change to a different hot desk, or work outside on the patio when the weather is amazing, or cozy up on a sofa near a sunny window. You can try out a different spot each week. It’s an easy way to meet new people, but still control your work environment and your level of engagement.
• Give yourself time. Like most things in life, a little time will go a long way to making you feel more comfortable. After a few months you will begin to see the pattern of familiar faces and people that you feel increasingly comfortable talking with. Coworking spaces are designed with serendipity in mind. You may find yourself meeting people in the kitchen while filling up your coffee cup, in the lounge relaxing on a couch, without ever having to attend a happy hour.
• Connect Outside of the Confines of “Work.” While the concept of ‘networking’ can be overwhelming to some introverts, those same individuals can find it much more appealing to connect with others around a shared interest or goal. That’s where community groups come in. For example, at WingSpace, we offer multiple interest groups that appeal to different segments of our community. From female founder groups to wellness enthusiasts, by connecting with people who you share something in common with, it can be easier to forge meaningful work connections with future potential collaborators and resources.
• Challenge Yourself. Remember that ultimately you are the master of your own fate. Set goals for yourself while in the coworking community. Maybe it’s working up to sitting at the bigger communal table, maybe it’s introducing yourself to one person a week, maybe some days it’s simply showing up at all—but these small goals will make you more comfortable in the space and a more active and engaged member of the community.
• Plan for Interruptions. No matter where you are or what you’re doing (home, library, café) – interruptions just seem inevitable. Headphones and that laser-like focus staring at your screen will detract a lot of the would-be interrupters. But, it’s sometimes unavoidable.
One of the best lines I’ve found, if someone interrupts you, is to simply say you’re preparing for a meeting or that you have a deadline due. Politely setting boundaries is great when you’re interrupted unwillingly. Most importantly, get back to work immediately. Don’t allow an interruption to turn into a break to check email.
And of course, it’s not only OK but important to step away and take quiet, alone time. Since introverts draw energy from being alone, stepping away for a few minutes, hours, or even days will help you come back stronger and ready to engage.
About the Author:
Melanie Banayat, Founder of WingSpace.biz
Melanie is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Author of Stretch Your Brave, Hack Your Story, and an avid supporter of the 'self-employed'. She's hell-bent on bringing together a community of like-minded, business-focused people in the Greater Prescott Area to create the change we want to see in this area (that is not only about retirement and tourism).