How to foster collaboration in a coworking space

Work together, work alone.

Ever heard the story about the donkey and the mule? Finding himself with the heaviest load, the donkey begs the mule to take on some of his burdens. The mule refuses, and the donkey soon dies from exhaustion. The owner then puts all the burden on the mule, skins the donkey and adds the hide to the mule’s load for good measure. Too late, the mule realises that he should have collaborated when he had the chance.

Coworking spaces are excellent for several reasons. They save you money, they’re an intelligent use of resources, and they’re flexible. However, another significant benefit that’s often overlooked is that they are the perfect space for collaboration — a place where you can potentially lighten your load.

But where do you start?

  1. Take stock

Start by getting familiar with the other businesses and workers in your coworking space (you’ll find The Crate’s community in Rosedale friendly and accommodating). Get to know their skillsets and what they have to offer. By occupying a workspace with others, you’re in an environment that’s ripe for collaboration, but that can only begin once you’ve gotten the lay of the land. 

Consider what other businesses are like yours and which ones are different. Similar businesses can help build your existing offerings, while different businesses can potentially offer you something new including the opportunity for you to help them.

  1. Ask your community manager for introductions to others in your industry 

Getting used to a new environment can be tricky, so it’s okay to ask for a little help from your community manager – it’s what they do. Call on your community manager’s expertise, as they’ll have a good idea of who to introduce you to, and they’ll be able to smooth the way. Your community manager will be able to cut through the uncertainty and plug you into the right networks straight away so you can get to, well, networking!

  1. Exchange knowledge

Now you’re making connections and taking names, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Start exchanging knowledge. You and the others in your shared space can help diversify each other’s knowledge base and skillset.

No industry is an island; they’re interconnected. Drawing on an array of expertise can be hard in a traditional office, but in a coworking space, you could be neighbours with experts from any number of industries connected to yours. Use this diversity to start boosting your business’ versatility and even identifying market gaps you couldn’t have seen before. 

  1. Attend networking events at your coworking space

How does a networking event at your shared space differ from a regular networking event? Well, you’ll already know a lot of the people there, eliminating the need to break the ice. You can get stuck in a lot quicker. Use your existing network to make introductions. It’s a networking chain reaction just waiting to happen.  

For example, The Crate Flexible Space on Auckland’s North Shore holds drinks once a week, and once a month, neighbouring businesses come along for a networking event.

  1. Partner up

Lastly, it’s time to make it official — partner up with other businesses in your shared space. Communication will be a lot easier than traditional partnerships because you’re in the same place. There are several success stories where start-ups have partnered with established brands, they first encountered in coworking spaces.

There you have five tips for fostering collaboration in a shared space. The benefits of coworking go beyond the utility and flexibility of the spaces themselves and the invaluable human resources present.

Ready to take the first step? Then check out The Crate Shared Office Space, located in Auckland, North Shore, or The Crate Shared Office Space in Hamilton! Who knows what partnerships await?

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