10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Philly Co-Working Space

In other words, here’s how to stay on top of your game when the distractions of a shared open office come knocking.

Indy Hall. Photo courtesy of Indy Hall.

So you’ve finally taken the leap to rent out a desk or office at one of Philly’s many co-working spaces. You’re excited because you’ll no longer have to work from home or out of coffee shops but you’re apprehensive because there’s still one thing to figure out — how can you get the most out of your new shared open environment?

Yes, distractions will be everywhere, but it’s all about using them to your benefit, Philly co-working leaders tell us. We talked to a few of them to get their best tips on getting the most out of the ever-popular spaces.

1. Make Sure the Space Is Aligned With Your Priorities

THRIVE Philly. Photo courtesy of THRIVE Philly.

Co-working environments should make it possible for each person in the space to have a productive day at work. To be productive, most of us need different things at different times. I would encourage people to really consider what their priorities are and seek a co-working space that provides an environment and space mix that will help them be productive. Also, enjoy the coffee and snacks that are offered! No one is ever productive when they’re hungry. -Amanda McKnight, Operations Associate for Industrious

2. Find Your Nook

Indy Hall. Photo courtesy of Indy Hall.

Plan to try out two to three different spaces if you can, and spend a day working there. Also, spend some time in different work “zones.” Find different zones that match different parts of your workday, and move around to different areas within the space to see how it impacts your mood and productivity. Which spot, or zone, leaves you feeling good at the end of your workday? -Alex Hillman

3. Turn Distractions Into Treats

Industrious Philly. Photo courtesy of Industrious Philly.

One of the most common distractions within Indy Hall is also one of the biggest benefits: the ability to casually hear a conversation about something you want to know more about, learn from, or contribute to. If you’re worried about your social tendencies interfering with your work, make those kinds of interactions a “treat” for when you finish up a batch of work, the same way you might take a break and binge Netflix. Instead, you could wander over to the kitchen, or another common area, and strike up conversation. -Alex Hillman, Co-Founder of Indy Hall

4. Be Inspired By Your Surroundings

We have some deliberate, subtle distractions: the inspirational quotes that we post around the space, and funky elements like couches made from bathtubs, or chairs made from oil barrels tables cut from the concrete floor, etc. These are intended to be somewhat unexpected visual disruptions that we hope cultivate creativity, optimism, and the vibe everyone says we have. -Michelle Marion, Community Manager of CityCoHo

5. Network With Your “Coworkers”

Rooftop cocktail event at The Yard. Photo courtesy of The Yard.

In addition to your workspace, by joining a co-working space, you have access to a built-in network and support system of like-minded professionals, hundreds of business perks and amenities, and a gamut of monthly events hosted by your space and its valued partners. You should look at every neighbor as an opportunity to make new friends, or even find a new client or potential partner. -Morris Levy, CEO and Co-Founder of The Yard

Be open to talking to new people. Co-working spaces make it easy to connect with like-minded members, which fuels creativity and motivation. Depending on where you are, your co-working space is filled with interesting individuals who can, at the very least, give you a new perspective and may even help you in your own endeavors. Make use of the potential experts sitting around you. -Tim Reardon, Community Manager at THRIVE Philly

6. Customize Your Work Day

Figure out what time of day you work best. With 24/7 access to your office available at many spaces, you can customize your work day to when you work best, or even work around your fitness or extracurricular schedule. -Morris Levy

7. Be an Active Member

Rooftop yoga at The Yard. Photo courtesy of The Yard.

You get what you put in. There’s almost always opportunity to add to the community of a co-working space. Help organize events, outings and potlucks–these activities are what make co-working spaces thriving places to work. You have the unique opportunity to shape where you work. -Tim Reardon

8. Use Every Single Perk, If Possible

When many businesses pool their resources together, spaces like CityCoHo can provide members with organic and fair-trade coffee and tea, conference room booking credits, printing services, and community events like happy hours, catered Member Spotlights, craft nights, game nights, and more. We always want our members to use every perk we offer and become a part of the community we’ve built. -Michelle Marion

9. Remember, You’re Not the Only One Working

The Yard. Photo courtesy of The Yard.

It’s important for co-working spaces to balance the space with quieter areas for small group collaboration, meditation, and private phone calls. When finding the right co-working space, it’s a crucial factor that it has enough closed-door conference rooms. -Tim Reardon

10. Promote Yourself and Your Business

Co-working spaces want to share stories about their members, and this can turn into additional promotional opportunities for your business. Letting your community managers know what’s going on with your business and what you’re trying to achieve could lead to a few shoutouts on the co-working space’s social media channels, a post on their blog about you, participation in their new video, or a PR opportunity they’d want to open up to you. -Morris Levy

Kylee McGuigan is an intern at Philadelphia Magazine.