A coworking space is more than an office – it’s a place to interact with like-minded people, network, collaborate, and cross-market. For freelance and remote workers, it offers an opportunity to be part of a community, rather than working in solitude, which can be lonely, and let’s face it, a bit boring. Many coworking spaces encourage their occupants to knock off work and do some fun stuff together too – and there are some great ways to unwind while still developing working relationships, and possibly friendships too. Here are some ideas.
Learning new skills, even if they’re not connected directly with your work, is a fun and engaging thing to do. Many online workshops sprung up during the COVID-19 pandemic, with instructional videos and ‘masterclasses’ from experts in all sorts of fields. But in-person learning activities are more fun and foster the spirit of community and cooperation.
Workshops are especially popular in coworking spaces, as they tap into the atmosphere of creativity, as well as provide an informal networking opportunity. And there are all sorts of great ideas – knitting, photography, pottery, origami, cocktails (or mixology, if you like). Workshops are a great idea, whether they’re geared towards boosting a skillset related to work productivity or just for fun.
The late, great Anthony Bourdain wrote:
“I do think the idea that basic cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill.”
It’s a fact of life that we’re busier than ever, and with just about any restaurant in the neighbourhood offering delivery it’s easy to order in, lightening your wallet if nothing else. If you need a bit of help with your kitchen skills, a cookery class is a great way to gain some knowledge, have some fun with your co-workers, and make some delicious, healthy, home-cooked food. For community bonus points have a rota among a group so that someone brings in lunch for everyone else from time to time.
Modern gaming is as much about socialising as it is about sports/combat/RPG/fantasy/ whatever floats your boat. And playing multiplayer games in person adds a lot to the experience. Whether you play modern open-world games or arcade classics is up to you. And how you structure the gaming can be random, or organised to build teamwork and cooperation. Everyone has different favourites, and sharing them can also build bridges between workers. Depending on the number of people getting involved you might need some consoles, but it’s likely that a few of you will own one (or more), and you can pool your resources.
Game night is a sure-fire way to encourage new friendships and working relationships within a coworking space. It may bring the competitive nature out in people, but that can be a positive thing. And there are myriad games you can choose from – maybe you want to go old school with Monopoly, Cluedo, or Pictionary. Casino card games are also great fun – blackjack and poker especially. The rules are quick to pick up, but if you want to check out the games online (and maybe win some money) you can play here. Remember, if you’re playing card games with colleagues and collaborators it’s best to limit the amount of money on the table to a set amount, and play with chips.
Going out for beers and salty snacks is a popular pastime, but why not inject a bit of sophistication into proceedings with a wine tasting night? Learning about wine is really interesting, and getting to sample some quality plonk is possibly even more interesting. You could even sign up for a wine club – with a number of people involved it needn’t break the bank. If you want a more informal evening, wine and cheese parties might fit the bill. Again, a bring-your-own situation is much more cost-effective than going out for drinks, and a relaxing atmosphere will deepen the sense of community, and allow for informal – but still valuable – networking opportunities.
No, not the disco variety – clubs for different hobbies and pastimes help connect like-minded workers, and provide the common ground that helps foster great working and interpersonal relationships. A book club is a classic – everyone reads the same novel and then meets to discuss it (often combined with the aforementioned cheese and wine night). Running club for the keep-fitters, music club, movie club, yoga club etc. Encourage workers to form their own club around their interests – share your passion, and see how varied and interesting everyone else’s passion is. You really can learn a lot about people through their interests.
Coworking spaces are busy, vibrant, and productive places to work, and they can be mellow places to rest and fun places to play. Bringing people together through friendly and fun activities is one of the best ways to assure these co-working spaces will remain as such.