The trend of moving from home and traditional offices to coworking has exploded, with numbers predicted to rise to 3.8 million worldwide by 2020. No more just the domain of eclectic remote workers, the focus of the coworking industry on innovation, networking, and work-life balance offers key benefits that make it attractive to a huge range of professionals.
Whilst the nature of open offices means that networking and collaboration happens more organically, it also means that our potential to be interrupted and spend a bit too much time talking can also increase.
We’ve got some pro tips for you to increase your productivity and maintain focus whilst coworking:
1. Know what sort of environment works best for you
Whilst some people need to face a blank wall and work in silence, others work best with some activity in the background. A great coworking space will have a myriad of different atmospheric spaces that you can set up shop; some might be more quiet and sheltered, and others next to a big window in an open area. Use your self-knowledge to help you pick a spot in your coworking space where you can work to your advantage.
2. Be savvy with your day
Along with knowing what sort of space works for you, many people find that they work best at different times of the day. Whilst some people swear by doing their most challenging work at the start of the day, other people may find that their brain kicks into gear later in the afternoon. The flexibility of coworking spaces means that you can rock up to the office at 6am for a quiet and early start, or stay in till late into the evening if that’s what works best for you.
3. Manage online distractions
The internet is a wonderful thing, and takes credit for the rise of flexible working lifestyles and greater information accessibility than ever before. On the other hand, it means we have constant access to the plethora of distractions that it offers- social media for one, wikipedia wormholes another. Installing a program to manage distractions really takes the hard mental work out of trying to keep yourself on task through the day- and leaves you with more decision making brainpower for the important stuff. A great application is Cold Turkey, which can’t be easily uninstalled, and gives you fine-tuned control over which websites you can access and when, or limits on how much time per day you spend on them.
4. Don’t conflate talking endlessly for networking
Coworking spaces are the perfect place to network, both professionally and socially. However, everything needs to be in balance. A quick 15-minute chat to share ideas and an elevator pitch can be just as helpful for creating connections as an hour spent discussing The Bachelor or other unrelated topics. Keep in mind that social and professional networking are different- and although they both have their place, if you’re aiming for productivity, it’s best to keep conversations short and sweet.
5. Surround yourself with people who also want to work
Being around people who want to talk will inevitably lead to talking with them. This is great for more chill times when you’ve got less pressing work to do, but definitely not ideal if you’re aiming for peak productivity. Instead, choose a spot next to other people who also want to get their stuff done; seeing them at task will help inspire you to keep your head down, too.
Coworking spaces are a great way to grow both professionally and socially, and offer many benefits over other working setups. Exercising a little self control and awareness goes a long way in making sure you stay in peak productivity mode, and refrain from forming habits that might hinder your progress.