Coworking hubs are slowly but surely becoming the new norm when it comes to office spaces. As the number of freelancers, budding entrepreneurs and small business owners increases world-wide, shared office spaces are currently the most popular choice among young professionals looking for a well-equipped and functional place to work from.
Thanks to their airy, open layout, flexible membership packages, strong and reliable Internet connections, fantastic on-site amenities and encouraging attitude towards networking and lifelong learning, coworking hubs attract a crowd of like-minded individuals with similar business goals at heart. This basically means that at any given time, you might find yourself in a situation that involves sitting just opposite one of your largest business competitors.
So how can you deal with such an awkward situation in a professional manner? Do you opt out from the coworking hub and start frequenting another? Do you ask to sit on the opposite side of the building? Or do you stop going to the shared office space altogether? Before you jump ship and abandon your business goals, we’re here to tell you that there are reasonable ways you can tackle the issue. Here are a few worth considering:
Ensure Maximum Security
Security is one of the most important things that any coworking hub should excel at. It is a basic requirement that should not be taken lightly, so you should definitely investigate the level of security your shared office space provides before you even sign up. Once you notice your competitors stopping by, there are a few additional measures you can take to make sure your business is safe.
Firstly, you should always connect to private, protected networks exclusively that have unique credentials and passwords known only to you. Important phone calls require additional privacy, so don’t go around the cafeteria talking loudly with your client about your new contract. Private meetings with business partners and clients should be held solely in a soundproofed, private conference room, away from prying eyes and ears. When you choose your seat at the shared office space, opt for a place that offers enough room for you to sit comfortably, without having your neighbor breathing down your neck or staring at your screen every 5 minutes.
Setting boundaries is imperative if you want to make sure that your business is safe from your competitors. You might want to base yourself in an area of the coworking hub that is as far away from your rival as possible.
However, you likely won’t be able to avoid an encounter forever, so it might be better if you just go over and introduce yourself. Maybe you can talk about setting proper boundaries together or maybe you can even establish some ground rules that will help both of you in the long run. Whichever way you decide to handle the situation, remember that it can be quite beneficial to keep your competition close. Who knows, maybe you can even turn it to your advantage by joining forces and coming up with much better ideas than you would have done individually.
Ask The Community Manager For Help
If all else fails, you can always ask your coworking hub’s community manager for a helping hand. As a matter of fact, they will probably recognize the issue even before you do, so they might be able to arrange seating and other arrangements in a way that neither of you will get into any uncomfortable situations. A good community manager asks for basic information about business activity when on-boarding a new member. However, if this is not an automatic occurrence at the shared office space you’re attending, you can always point out the issue and let the professionals handle the situation.