Going to work in a coworking space offers remote workers an exciting alternative to a solitary home office or a bustling coffee shop. Being around others engaged in professional activity can boost productivity and add a social component to the workday.
To get the most out of the experience, however, it pays to know a bit about such places, so we asked some “experts” for their input.
Here’s what actual people have to say about how to successfully work in a coworking space:
“Always take the free day of coworking first. Every space, more or less, offers a free day for you to test-drive the experience. It’s important to take that opportunity to not only spend the full day there, but to talk with others in the space. Make sure it fits your working style and personality. Make sure it’s quiet or loud enough for you to be productive. And test out the commute before you sign up. If the coworking space is such a long distance from your home, you won’t be motivated to go there.”
—Candice Beckmann, Beckmann Collaborative LLC
Bring your headphones.
“Many coworking spaces will have carefully curated playlists for music or have small sections designed for collaborative work, which may prove to be quite the distraction for some individuals. Consider getting the large, noise-cancelling headphones as opposed to the lighter, less durable earbuds. One may look like some sort of audiophile when sporting them, but it may ultimately help with the crossfire of ancillary conversations and piped in music.”
—Jake Tully, TruckDrivingJobs.com
“When I sit down, I have my headphones in, and everyone seems to understand that this is a universal sign for ‘I’m working, leave me alone.’”
—Doug Darroch, 21st Renaissance
Prepare to focus.
“My tip for staying productive is to emphasize that you’re under a deadline, even if it’s self-imposed. Sometimes it doesn’t look like you’re busy and people come over to chat, which is nice, but you’re also allowed to push people back and reschedule. It’s all about setting boundaries, even with yourself.”
—Sharon Rosenblatt, Accessibility Partners, LLC
“Before arriving, make a list of exactly what you need to work on while you are there. This helps you stay on task and plan your hours accordingly, whether you have all day there or just a few hours. I also use a Chrome extension called OneTab, which closes all tabs except for the one I’m working in, minimizing the temptation to fritter away time on Facebook.”
—Rebecca Horan, Rebecca Horan Consulting LLC
Get social and network.
“The key to getting the most out of shared working spaces is the opportunity to network with those around you. If you are sitting next to the same person every day, introduce yourself and start a casual conversation. You never know, you may be sitting next to the colleague of your dreams. I’ve made some of my greatest contacts as a result of shared working spaces.”
—Steve Pritchard, It Works
“Make the most of the opportunity to network with fellow members by bringing lunch and sitting together. It’s a great chance to meet new people when people are in the mood to socialize.”
—Kathryn Hawkins, Eucalypt LLC