Benefits of Coworking (with Strangers)

Entrepreneur Magazine just published an article entitled “6 Benefits of Coworking with Strangers” on their website. We agree with their overall premise of “Change your scenery, and you change your outlook. Networking requires you step outside your comfort zone.”

We also agree on their observation “Gathering with other freelancers in a coworking environment can benefit professionals as well as their products. Coworking provides opportunities to observe and learn from colleagues who value their autonomy and often share other values, too.”

Here’s the District Cowork take on six specific benefits the editors at Entrepreneur.com cited:

Networking and Collaborating: “Coworking allows you the opportunity to network and collaborate with a wide range of bright minds.” We agree completely and would add that there is a professional and social cross-pollination we’ve observed. It ranges from people creating symbiotic business relationships to discussing sports or political issues.

Using tools on the go: “Many phone and web apps, software programs and other tools were designed to be especially beneficial outside of the office. Pare down to the absolute necessities while you’re on the go.” While we agree with the premise that “less-is-more” these days beyond a laptop and smartphone, it seems like the post was making a thinly disguised plug for a couple of potential advertising clients.

Breaking out of your Comfort Zone: “Working across the desk from someone with a completely different skill set can help you discover a new source of ideas. You might find your brain is starting to work in different ways, too.” We agree that people still really benefit from face-to-face human interaction, despite our collective love of text messages and e-mails these days.

Work at your own pace: “Coworking makes it possible for you to create some space between you and your clients (and co-workers) — just enough to redirect energy to your own projects and move at your own pace.” The pitch here is for people who have regular jobs / office hours to break out and spend some time at a coworking space. If you find your most productive work time is on a train, airplane or early on Saturday morning at home (alone) this might be a worthwhile experiment.

Make full use of your coworking space: Beyond having a place (other than home) to receive packages and mail or meet clients we follow the article’s examples of hosting pitch nights and bringing in guest speakers. We can’t help but brag about our up-and-coming NYC NOMAD neighborhood either – there’s a great scene right outside our door, even if it’s just to get coffee over at the ACE Hotel across the street.

Avoid Loneliness: “Working at home can have an isolating effect after a period of time. Coworking is an easy fix. Working amidst others can lend a sense of camaraderie, even when you’re creating alongside complete strangers.” We absolutely agree. The only dissenting voice we can think of is from our dog and cat owners who have to leave their pets at home.