Thousands of entrepreneurs & small business owners work from dedicated co-working spaces each and every day from all areas of the globe. You might be considering creating this type of environment for your company as well. While there are plenty of reasons to look for a shared coworking space. You must also know how to use it to your best benefit, don’t know how to do it? No worries, here’s a list to guide you through “the right stuff” when it comes to the skills needed to not only survive but thrive to your best in an open office workspace.
Your past experience in a coworking space doesn’t matter as every new space you choose would carry its pros and cons. It’s probably obvious to state that almost everywhere you’ll encounter significantly more potential distractions in an open office than a dedicated private space that you carry control over. Many research shows this isn’t just about paying attention, it’s also having the ability to ignore the data which is not relevant, helpful or useful to the tasks you handle at hand. Further, you can easily increase your ability to focus inside a coworking space by,
- Using portable dividers to create your own mini-cubicle around your seating area
- Using noise-filtering headphones to help eliminate the surrounding noise
- Orienting yourself to limit your view area (try the experiment yourself as facing a wall vs. facing the open room)
Collaborative workspaces offer organic networking opportunities, both in formal and informal ways. The working arrangement of a coworking space supplies you with instant access to some of your ideal client types. It might be in a direct form, or in the form of referral customers. For eg, You can do this through 1:1 interaction or you may be able to add value to the community by providing expertise at conducted workshops and promote free classes.
You need to remember one thing, everyone who’s working in the same open area might hear what you’re saying, see what you’re working on and would be able to access data in devices you’ve left unattended. To thrive in a co-working space, you must take steps to protect your work, clients, contacts and your property (hardware, devices, files, plan sheets, etc.) If security threats are a deal-breaker, you might need to upgrade to a dedicated or semi-private or private or an independent office space instead. This way, you would be able to make sure that privacy is not hindered at any cost.
On any given day, your favourite seat might be occupied by someone else (I know its hard to leave something when you fall in love with the serene). There could be many reasons, including a networking event or workshop might be going on or just a mood swing of someone in the community.
Even if you have your own assigned space in an open work area, a team might be doing some brainstorming session together or someone might have just brought their new puppy in for the day. This is why if your work doesn’t allow for flexibility in terms of when and how you get your work done, a coworking office space might not be the perfect fit for you.
The type of sensitivity we’re talking about here is not in any way related to your feelings, it’s all about your behaviour in coworking space and how it might be negatively impacting the environment for others. For instance: If you are on the phone often, your conversations will contribute to the overall noise level in the area. If you have a loud voice or a voice that carries well, your conversations would impact the zone area even more.
If you tend to spread out and create clutter, you may impact those in your surrounding vicinity.
If you pace while you brainstorm or you’re in the habit of getting up frequently to replenish food or drinks, use the restroom, go outside to smoke, etc., then your activity level could be distracting to the point of irritation to others who are trying to concentrate & focus on work.
So, learn the lesson quick. Always be sensitive to the impact you have on the environment.
Does your work require that you have constant or immediate access to special equipment, or can you work for long periods of time using just WiFi or a laptop? Can your work generally be done effectively outside of a casual dedicated office, or some type or production space? Your level of independence will definitely dictate whether you can thrive professionally in a cowork pitch or not. Always remember, working in a coworking environment helps you build your collaborative nerve which is highly beneficial in any career.
In a nutshell, a coworking space offers a low-cost alternative to quality furnished commercial properties, but they are not an ideal fit for every entrepreneur or enterprise.