There’s no doubt about it, the energy and buzz of a coworking office is contagious. The boost of stimulation, collaboration and creativity you experience in a satellite office is better than a double espresso. It can inspire you to not just produce a greater quantity of work, but deliver results that are more innovative and original.
Working in a beautifully designed space and a creative workspace, and networking with interesting people is an antidote to the loneliness and monotony of working from home. But if you find you’re having just a little too much fun, you can begin to lose focus and fall behind. So how do you maximize the social benefits of coworking, while maintaining or even boosting your productivity?
What is it like to work in a coworking space?
Let’s begin by clarifying a common misconception that hot desking (unassigned seats in an open office space) is coworking. Coworking today refers to a range of flex office arrangements – most commonly a private office space, in other words, a furnished office with additional shared facilities – from kitchens and lounges to book meeting rooms, podcast studios and gyms, to name just a few. So straight up – it’s not the noisy, open plan seating arrangement you might be imagining, but a variety of flexible work scenarios. This means that most companies can pick and choose the right arrangement for their workers. However, whichever coworking set-up you choose, there is always a strong sense of community.
For example, at Mindspace our members often meet over coffee in the kitchen or mingle during one of our rooftop happy hours. Our lounge areas are always buzzing throughout the day and our on-site gym is a place where you might meet people you never normally come across day to day. Either planned or spontaneous, these human encounters form the foundation of a community that underpins the very success of coworking. Sharing news, discussing different perspectives and brainstorming with other people boosts motivation and morale, two factors that help increase workplace productivity.
However in addition to sharing facilities, many coworking offices also include open plan seating to accommodate remote workers, freelancers and part-time workers. With so many opportunities to socialize and inviting open plan seating areas, the office chit chat and lure of having fun can be distracting, especially if you’re working to a tight deadline.
So how can you create balance and find focus to help you be your most productive self in a coworking environment?
Here are 8 tips for how to improve productivity in coworking spaces:
1. Create a Schedule
Build your to-do list on a weekly or even daily basis. Create an accompanying timeline with deadlines for completing tasks. Stick to it and reward yourself every time you finish a task or meet a goal. With easy-to-use project management software tools such as Monday.com or Trello, it’s easy to turn your ideas into action.
2. Take regular breaks
In our quest to keep on track, we often neglect the need to take a break to physically and mentally recharge. At work it’s important to take breaks at regular intervals – and there are various technology apps such as the Pomodoro Tracker that remind us to do this and help us build an optimal workday rhythm. During each break you can stretch out, go for a walk, connect with a colleague or friend and grab some coffee.
3. Remove all distractions
Try using headphones or ear-plugs to zone out any unwanted noise. Consider switching to ‘offline’ or ‘not available’ on communication platforms such as Slack or Whatsapp and turn off annoying notifications that will distract you from the task at hand. Consider relocating to a quieter corner in the office or a phone booth, away from the typical buzz found in the kitchen and lounge areas.
Copyright Daniel Jackson
4. Keep your workspace clean
Throughout our lifetime, we spend on average around 90,000 hours working at our desk. That’s a huge portion of our life that we can tweak or change to help us operate better. A tidy and attractive desk can do wonders for productivity. Moldy leftovers, stale cups of coffee and office trash are all nasty, not to mention unhealthy, distractions. Aim to have your workspace not just clean, but also clutter free. Get rid of any unnecessary rubbish, used tissues or loose papers. Remove any mod-cons that you don’t use any more and adopt a more minimalistic approach. A little Feng-Sui will go a long way towards helping you tap into positive energy and find focus, so invest a little time in making your workspace feel more zen.
5. Take advantage of the technology provided by your coworking space
If you’ve worked from home, you’ll understand how frustrating poor wi-fi connections, printer problems and broken-down air conditioners can be. They are annoying time wasters. Coworking takes all the time, fuss and cost out of maintaining, upgrading and repairing all your IT needs. It makes it easier than ever to be hands-off with all your technical needs, leaving your productivity and output unaffected.
6. Use work breaks to communicate with other members
Spending time connecting with colleagues and other community members enhances your work experience. It’s not just the knowledge spillover or creativity that flows from social interaction with different people, but simply put, happy workers make productive workers. So get to know your coworkers. Take an interest in their work projects. Begin to share ideas or support them with issues they may have. This collaboration will benefit you personally and professionally, breaking the monotony of the day and making your day more fulfilling.
7. Use meeting rooms or private rooms
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re on deadline for a critical project or trying to find some peace and quiet to think, write or hold a private work conversation, then book a private work or meeting room. At Mindspace we give our members plenty of rooms to choose from, including sound-proofed phone booths.
8. Practice some self-care
The workaholic in us will laugh at this suggestion. How can I carve out time in my schedule for yoga, meditation or a hair-cut when I have pressing deadlines and urgent things to take care of? Well, while we don’t all have the luxury of escaping to the Maldives to unwind, there are a few simple ways to address your mental health. Try getting up earlier in the morning to go for a workout or even finding 10 minutes in the middle of the day to practice some deep breathing. The Calm app provides nugget sized tips, content and exercises to help you reduce your stress and improve your focus. Even a little self care can go a long way to boosting your productivity.
While these simple work hacks like keeping your desk tidy, sticking to a schedule and taking regular breaks can all help get you in full focus, sometimes there may be a larger issue at play. Feeling uninspired or unmotivated by your work is the foundation for procrastination, which is the arch-enemy of productivity – so loving (or at least liking) your work is also a precursor for running that extra mile for your company.
Coworking today provides a multidimensional office rental solution for companies and individuals. You can opt-in for the social and community aspects and allow your productivity to thrive from communication and collaboration, or hide-away in a quiet corner to get some uninterrupted, serious work done. Whether you work from a private office, open space or at a hot desk, it’s your attitude, desire and work habits that can have the biggest impact on the quantity and quality of work.
Curious to explore further?
If you’re interested in learning more about the flexible office rental possibilities, or about how Mindspace can help you and your team work and grow in a more efficient and innovative way, please get in touch with us.
Our team at Mindspace is dedicated to providing high-quality workspaces that are tailored to the unique needs of each business. To learn more about our flexible office solutions in San Francisco, you can visit our San Francisco page