If you’re an entrepreneur or a Millennial opting out of the corporate grind for an exciting startup career, chances are, at some point you’ll find yourself working out of one of the many coworking spaces popping up around Singapore.

Having spent two years bouncing between co-working spaces, here are some things I wish I had known when I started my co-working adventures:

Tip 1 – Stay Focused in a Coworking Space

Open offices have become more common, and sharing spaces with so many different people and companies make it easy to get distracted.

Privacy screens, noise-cancelling headphones, and maintaining focus-friendly habits is definitely a must.
The reality is, as much fun as startup life can be, you’re being paid to do a job. It takes the human mind an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on a task. Multiply that by the number of times someone taps you on the arm to interrupt you at what you’re doing,
and you can imagine how many hours (and dollars) distractions steal from you every day.

Pro Tip: When you feel like you’re in a creative rut, hot-desking around the coworking space can help you to break unproductive thought patterns and generate new inspiration

Tip 2 – Talk to Strangers

Even if you’re an introvert, the open nature of co-working spaces makes it so easy to meet new people in different companies and industries. Unlike working in a traditional office building, you share kitchen spaces, water coolers, and coffee machines with dozens of other companies, which means you’ll find yourself standing in line next to the stranger at some point. Put the time to good use, shake hands, and start chatting!

If you find yourself at a loss for words, remember that people love talking about themselves. Here are some great (and unique) questions to use to break the ice when you find yourself face-to-face with a stranger:

Make The Most Of Your Time In A Coworking Space• Is Singapore home for you? If not,
what brings you here?
• What do you do for fun?
• I see you work at [company] – what’s the best part of your job?

Pro Tip: Chat with the community manager or front desk staff at your co-working space! They know everyone in the building, and can facilitate some great introductions to new people – and recommend great places for lunch

Tip 3 – Commit To Community

Hate networking?

Three fantastic things about co-working spaces:

One, due to the high concentration of companies in one space, events typically happen multiple times a week.It’s hard not to show up if it’s happening right where you work.

Two, you’re more likely to be acquainted with the host or at least some of the attendees, who will be able to introduce you to people they know. Less pressure!

Three, the companies running these events are usually doing something incredibly innovative across industries like finance, technology, and digital strategy, and eager to promote their services, products, and best practices. Take this opportunity to ask lots of questions to grow your knowledge of their industry.

Pro Tip: If you have skills that others may find valuable (digital marketing, data analysis, UX design), explore opportunities to offer your expertise to others who need it. This is a great way to make new connections and establish yourself as a trusted advisor to others in the community.

For Millennials and today’s fresh grads, working in a startup that shares a co-working space is a priceless opportunity to be around some incredibly smart, driven professionals. Put yourself out there, absorb everything that you can, and always offer to provide value, and your effort can be paid off with some amazing opportunities.

Who knows, the next person you speak with could be your new mentor, a new best friend, or even your next employer (no pressure!).

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