Working independently is already distracting enough with the television remote nearby, the sun shining outside, and the only boss motivating you being yourself. Go to work in a coworking space and you’ve now got the additional distraction of a bunch of fun and creative freelancers all around you. But, the cool thing about people in coworking spaces is that they have already proven themselves successful as independent workers, which means they know how to get their work done. So hopefully, being productive shouldn’t be too big of a problem there. But every once in awhile your determination will be challenged and you’ll have to fight against distractions.
I interviewed the people who run some of the most popular coworking spaces in the United States because they have a birds eye view of the day-to-day operations within their space. Meaning, they know exactly what kind of behavior makes a worker succeed or fail in their spaces. Here are their tips on how to be productive.
1. Shut Off and Focus Once In Awhile
“Working in a coworking space can create lots of opportunities for collaboration and creative thinking. Having other people who are working on completely different projects around you can foster an environment where people can talk and share, leading to new ideas that wouldn’t have come about without outside opinions. The downside, however, is that these conversations and mixing on occasion can prevent you from focusing on the task at hand. It’s important to shut off and focus once in awhile. Find a quiet room or put on noise canceling headphones so that you can get work done without interruption.”
Ilan Nass – Chief of Marketing, The Fueled Collective
2. Show Up Early
“As the day progresses, co-working spaces only get busier and noisier, and you’ll be far more tempted to chat and get distracted.”
Ashley Gallman Williams – Client Relations & Events Manager, Wix Lounge
3. Use a Quiet Zone or Collaborative Zone Accordingly
“Our spaces have different zones for different working ‘modes,’ so we encourage members to go to the heads-down, quiet area if they need to focus and be productive in that sense. But for members who need to be ‘productive’ in building their networks and developing their ideas collaboratively with other members, we encourage them to spend more time in the collaborative zone.”
Don Ball – Founding Partner, CoCo Minneapolis
4. Meet your neighbors. Know what they do. Pay it forward.
“The ‘sharing economy’ advocates that users contribute to the community, as a way of paying it forward — opening up some privacy so others can [want to] meet you. Coworking fosters that same ideology by gathering users to share an office to collaborate. Because there will likely be fewer walls, a user should meet his neighbors with whom he’ll share that space. Most neighbors who work out of this specific work environment will likely reciprocate the interaction, and likely share ideas, best practices, or even want to collaborate. The most productive, effective way to enable good ‘vibe’ and rapport is to contribute something beneficial first. You get what you put in, right?”
Jerome Chang – Founder & Architect, BLANKSPACES
5. Remember Why You’re Here
“Many choose a coworking space based on the location, environment and productivity level. Although we do encourage members ‘get social’, at the same time, we also want our members to focus on their business. Set some time in the morning, midday or afternoon to interact with others, share stories, swap tales, but don’t let it distract you from the #1 reason you are here: to get your business going!”
Nancy Gonzalez – Director, SoTechie Spaces
6. Log Off & Lock In
“Log off Facebook, etc., unless it’s your job to be on it. Take a look around at your fellow coworkers who are locked into their zones. Take a deep breath, and lock in to your work. Don’t get up for a bathroom or coffee trip until you really ‘deserve’ or need it.”
Eva – Community Manager, Green Spaces
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