The Basics of Virtual Coworking
Sometimes I feel like it is human nature to seek out support or interaction, so it’s not surprising that virtual coworking has gained popularity over the last 2 years since we were in various states of lockdowns thanks to COVID-19.
I personally have tried it with friends and others and it is a really nice way to work when you are stuck at home.
WHAT IS VIRTUAL COWORKING?
Virtual coworking is essentially an online space where everyone works together at the same time.
There are some platforms that offer virtual floor plans and have you ‘sit’ at a dedicated desk. I haven’t looked into these platforms but if you were interested in this format SOCOCO seems to be the one most mentioned in articles.
WHY CHOOSE TO WORK VIRTUAL?
It provides some of the same benefits as in person coworking, like interaction with actual people but you get to do it from the comfort of your home. You may even be able to work with people from around the world and be part of a more diverse community.
You might also choose to cowork virtually if there are no in person coworking spaces near you. Basically no matter where you are in the world you can work with others, get that much needed motivation when you are on a tight deadline.
WHERE CAN I FIND A VIRTUAL COWORKING SESSION?
Some entrepreneurs and coaches host their own on platforms like Discord, Zoom, webinar tools, Slack, Basecamp and more.
To find these sessions look in Facebook groups, ask friends if they know of any. You can search ‘coworking’ on Discord and coworking sessions will show up.
Focusmate is a dedicated platform for coworking. I have just discovered it so I haven’t had a chance to try it. When I do, I will update this post with my opinion. Each session with them is 50 minutes and you get three free sessions a week or for $5 a month you can have unlimited sessions. You are paired up with a random stranger. They have excellent rules in place to keep everyone safe.
My Workhive is another site I have just discovered. It is free to join, my understanding is that coworking sessions are conducted via a slack group.
If none of these appeal to you, reach out to a friend and hop of skype or facetime for a virtual coworking session. Not sure how they work? I got you covered.
HOW DO VIRTUAL COWORKING SESSIONS WORK?
Typically the work sprint will last for 45 mins to an hour and will incorporate a break at the end of this time. There may be multiple sessions a day, you can choose to attend one or all of them.
They will usually start with the host welcoming everyone and then asking everyone to set their intentions for the session in the chat.
Everyone is usually requested to mute their mics, especially if there are several people on the session. This eliminates distractions. Some hosts play music during the session, you can always mute your speakers if you don’t want to listen to the music, the only problem with muting is you might miss the host coming back on to say the session is over.
Discord coworking sessions usually only include the host’s video. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Bluejeans allow everyone to have their cameras on. This is usually recommended by the host.
Why? It helps with accountability, you are more likely to actually work with your camera on than off.
The host will then keep track of the time and when the session has come to an end they will unmute and let you know times up. At the end of the session the host may ask how you got on and this is your chance to share your wins with the group in the chat.
Some hosts might work with the Pomodoro method, work 25 mins with a 5 min break and just do repeated sessions or they may do 45 mins with a 15 minute break. Read more about this on my time management post which dives deeper into Pomodoros. (INSERT LINK)
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR VIRTUAL COWORKING?
Most coworking sessions are free but not always. A fee may be charged as they will offer more as part of the service. You may also need to pay for some of the platforms, so just be aware of this.
The Inspire Write Repeat program includes 2 co-writing sessions a week, private group for members of the program, feedback on your writing, Q&A session and a 1hr mentoring call. It is a 12 week program and is awesome! It has lit a fire under me to get writing. I have written more during this program than I have in years.
Fiona has built a great community of supportive women, the support given I would never expect to get for free.
Hopefully this answers all your questions on virtual coworking. It can be a fun way to try out coworking without investing anything but time.
THE COLLECTIVE by The Business Accomplice will be offering virtual coworking at set times throughout the week. Find out what’s on offer here.