If you’re thinking of giving coworking a try, it’s important to remember those more traditional office amenities – think an office phone, computer and monitors, maybe a cafeteria – don’t magically appear at your coworking space.
Coworking offers a lot more freedom than clocking in at your typical office, but with that freedom comes the need to build your own structure and accountability to ensure you come prepared with what you need to do your work.
Consider using a checklist to remember the absolute necessities, but also the items that will take your coworking experience to the next level and possibly win you new clients and business contacts!
This one seems like a minor detail, until you find yourself in an environment that’s blasting distracting music, or a coworking space where the workers are a little too chatty for your liking. In those cases, headphones or earbuds are going to be your saving grace, salvaging what might have been a very annoying work session and transforming it into one in which you’re fully tuned in to the task at hand. And if you’re looking for music to get you in the zone, check out brain.fm, Noisli, or Focusatwill.com — three websites that can connect you to music that enhances focus and productivity and even reduces stress. And for those who will have to jump on conference or client calls, opt for a headset for more clarity and less background noise in your conversations.
We know these sound like no-brainers, but if your computer isn’t docked in an office, or your main workstation changes every day, it’s likely at some point you’ll walk out the door without that crucial piece of machinery. Since you’ll be working around strangers (and perhaps potential clients or new business connections), try adding a sticker or two to the front of your laptop to tout your employer and see what conversations it strikes up. But, keep in mind the image you want to portray; if it’s “professional,” maybe stop at one or two. And if you’re typically an in-office worker giving coworking a try, make sure to forward office calls to your cell so you don’t miss a beat. And lastly, the Innovation Station has charging stations for your electronics, but many spaces don’t. Grab your laptop and cellphone chargers to keep your equipment from running on E.
It’s pretty standard nowadays for offices to equip workers with dual monitors, which makes doing design work or bouncing from one task to another way more convenient. You know what it also does? It can make hunkering down at a coworking space feel a little irritating because you don’t have all the resources you’ve grown accustomed to. Enter portable monitors. These little guys allow for multiple USB monitor connections with a laptop. All it takes is a simple software install and you’re on your way to operating at maximum mobile efficiency.
Doesn’t matter if you bring it with you or you create it there, just as long as you get your game plan in place fairly soon upon walking into the coworking space. Nothing is worse than carving out a few hours from your day to get solid work done and then, because of lack of planning, spending most of your time scrolling through your personal Instagram account or taking a deep dive into Amazon reviews to figure out which robovac is right for you. Head into the day with a list of what you need to get accomplished to make the work session worthwhile.
Business cards — they’re not just for conferences anymore! Business cards are a great way to solidify connections, and serve as a visual reminder of that new acquaintance. Often folks will grab a business card from someone they’re introduced to, and that tiny memento is the difference between being completely forgotten and getting added as a new, possibly valuable, LinkedIn connection. Grab your cards before you walk out the door, or, if you don’t have them, check out Moo, Vistaprint or use Social Print Studio’s quirky and Instagram-esq square contact cards to create your own and get some attention. And if you need a little help designing, Canva recently unveiled new business cards templates, meaning no design skills required. What’s more? You can send them straight from there to Canva Print and get them delivered right to your door.
Many coworking stations, like the Innovation Station, will have vending and coffee machines to keep you fueled up, but sometimes a snack just doesn’t cut it. Check the blog on the coworking space’s website for lunch guides or suggestions for nearby restaurants, or head to Yelp to get a sense of what your options are ahead of time. Knowing what’s around you before you need it will help ensure you don’t have to make a meal out of coffee and Funyuns.
Now that you’re armed with a checklist to ensure you make the most of your time coworking, give it a try today! Grab your gear and head to the Innovation Station for a free work session.