Confessions Of A Digital Nomad: Can You Really Connect With The Coworking Community?

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Three women working together in a busy office, elevated view

Check out my last article, Day 1 as a Digital Nomad in a Coworking Space, for my perspective on joining a new workspace community.

One big question I had when I first started my journey was: Could I connect with a community of people in a coworking space if I was only there for a few days?

Yes, but with limitations.

Sure, the connections you form with members of a community can be dependent on the amount of time you spend in a space. However, if you are purposeful with your time and make a commitment to meet and be real with people, you can also make connections in a short period of time.

As I mentioned in my previous article, It is important you open up to a new community on the first day as a new member.

This goes for introverts and extroverts. If you really want to join a community, the small things are important. A simple hello, giving someone helpful advice, going to an event, or doing a small thing to show you care, these actions matter.

For those introverts who feel drained after interacting with people, this might require you to try small doses of interaction. If you just want a desk, that is perfectly fine, however, if you want to become a part of the community and help build the culture, you must talk to people.

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, it is important to work in a coworking space for at least a week in order to connect with members of the community.

I typically work from each coworking space for a week at a time, and I feel like this is the minimum amount of time it takes for me to feel connected to some of the people there. The number of days you need can vary based on your personality, however, by day 3 or 4, I’ve found myself planning a happy hour or some other get-together with new friends.

People do love to show off their town or city!

For those coworking space managers who are interested in attracting more digital nomads to their space, I have two suggestions.

  1. Do things on a daily basis to help members connect. This could be making introductions for new members, being around to say hello, asking people to grab coffee from the break room, taking a walk with a group, or something else. Try it all.
  2. Offer a weekly or monthly pass
    1. For the next phase of my travels as a digital nomad, I am thinking about spending a month in each place. A monthly pass without a contract would help me do this. If I really want to work at your space, I will probably reach out to you and try to work something out..But what about others?
    2. I don’t see many spaces offering weekly passes. Most memberships are not designed for digital nomads who are in spaces for more than a few days but less than 2 weeks. I personally have found that daily pass rates are cost prohibitive for more than a few days a month.

I had another rule for my journey that helped me connect with others.

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    I only explored one or two touristy places each week. If I was able to explore other parts of a city, great, otherwise, no big deal. This eliminated a lot of stress and allowed for the best experiences and moments of serendipity.

    Last year, I was working in La Gare in Montreal, and wanted to hike up Mont Royal to enjoy the beautiful views. It was about a mile or two from where I was staying in the Mile-End area of Montreal.  I finished work early one afternoon, bought 2 Sapporos, and hiked up.

    Instead of just checking it off the list and hiking back down, I hung out for a few hours, drank my beers and relaxed. This entire area is quite touristy, and there were people everywhere. At some point, I offered to take photos for two women, and we ended up chatting for almost an hour. One lady lived in Raleigh, North Carolina (I used to live in Charlotte, NC) and another lived there in Montreal. We had such a nice time chatting as the sun went down, that we decided to meet up the next day at a Food and Wine Festival in the Old Port of Montreal. It was a fantastic moment that would not have happened if I was not open to it or going somewhere else.

    This is not unlike what happens in coworking spaces and shared workspaces. The depth of a community and its culture is dependent upon those little moments we don’t always pay attention to. It’s these times when we bond just a little bit more.

    By the time I get to Thursday or Friday, several people usually ask me if I am staying longer or exclaim that the week had gone by too fast. Looking back, the weeks always seemed to move quickly.

    In the end, I believe that anyone can connect to a community within a week, however, it takes effort and energy. You only connect to a community by being present, talking to people, and experiencing events and life together. Building and becoming part of a community can happen in a variety of ways and is often the most rewarding aspect of coworking.

    So get out there and start connecting with people!

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