Co-work space environments are a fairly new concept, however their adoption as the environment of choice for creative professionals (particularly for freelancers or solopreneurs) has been rapid over the past few years.
Not only will you enjoy the economies of scale that come from sharing space, utilities and meeting rooms.
But by picking your co-working community carefully you’ll open yourself up form valuable, productive and exciting relationships that can significantly enhance your financial situation.
Unfortunately, co-working relationships are a double-edged sword; spend too much time on them and other tasks simply don’t get done; neglect them and you risk missing out on all of the benefits of a shared, professional community.
How to Supercharge Productivity in Co-Work Spaces
To make co-working space really work for you, consider the following simple tips as essential reading for the co-worker that wants to not only survive, but also thrive in the co-working jungle!
1. Stand up to Network
You already know that standing while working is, by default, hugely beneficial to your health. But did you know that, In co-work environments, you can use the mere act of standing as a communication tool?
It helps to differentiate between the times that you’re working on projects (that require your undivided concentration) and the times that you’re available for networking and sharing.
Taking your screen breaks standing in the communal area sends out a clear signal that you’re free to engage with others.
2. Focus on the Tasks, Not the Time
Resist the urge to let socializing take over your work schedule. Remember; you’re in co-working WORK space, you’re not attending a party.
Have a clear list of objectives that need to be achieved each day and stick to them.
If you’re finding work overwhelming and aren’t quite sure where to start, have a go at the most difficult task of the day first. Then you can move on to something easier (or have a quick break).
3. Face the Wall
It sound harsh, but if you’re facing another person you’re more likely to meet their eye and chat rather than work.
If your screen or work space is facing away from others, it forces you to concentrate on the matter at hand. Instead of having your eyes wonder off to see what everyone else is up to.
A word of warning here; use this tip sparingly as you don’t want to emit negative body language or become person who hides in corner and avoids all social interaction.
4. Schedule Your Networking
Instead of filling valuable work time with informal, unproductive “chats”, schedule in sessions for exchanging ideas. Or, perhaps working on collaborative projects, in the same way as you would a meeting with your own clients.
A definite start and finish time helps to focus on achieving the aim of the meeting and minimizes the risk of going off topic.
Research shows that the most effective meetings are undertaken standing up, so it may be worth ensuring that your chosen co work space has a few options before signing up – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!
5. Really? Another Coffee?
Be honest – do you really need another coffee/tea, or are you just creating an excuse to avoid that task which you don’t really want to deal with ?
Making drinks wastes an enormous amount of time that could be spent on other, more productive tasks.
Keep a water bottle on your desk for regular top ups and confine hot beverages to your break times. Not only will you end up making healthier drink choices, but you’re in co-working space to work, not brew up.
Once it’s clear you’re not part of the “drinks round”, you’ll find you’ve got more time to work. You won’t be as likely to start sipping and chatting rather than being engaged in productive activity.
Of course, you shouldn’t avoid coffee breaks entirely. They present a great networking opportunity; just limit yourself to no more than 2 per day.
6. Use Your Computer Breaks Wisely
It’s important to take a regular break from your screen every hour or so – use this time to interact with colleagues.
Why not deliver a message in person? Why not schedule a mini meeting for a quick catch up or even enjoy a walk around the block to blow away the cobwebs?
Having a clear distinction between screen time and rest time helps workers to retain focus and ensures they work in a way that enhances their mental and physical well being.
If you haven’t heard of the ‘pomodoro’ technique for work and rest schedules, do yourself a favor and try it out today.
7. Give and You Shall Receive
Although it’s important to achieve some output each day, if you spend every hour with your head down you can miss out on much of the value that co-working space brings.
Being a generous colleague in terms of your ideas, insights and skills fosters a positive, productive environment that can really enhance a wide range of projects.
The co-working community is only as good as its members, so make sure you work at making it a success.
8. Don’t Forget Your Manners
Hours of valuable work time each day are wasted on dealing with trivial issues that arise simply due to poor etiquette and a lack of house training.
Simple things such as washing up after yourself and keeping high-traffic desk areas clear of litter (yes, that means the crumbs from your bagel).
Also, putting things away and leaving the rest room as you would wish to find it are all essential if your co-work space is going to run smoothly.
No one really wants to waste their time enforcing the kitchen rota or some other trivial housekeeping issue, so make sure you employ your very best social skills in order to keep things running smoothly.
Used correctly, co-working space becomes a valuable tool that can considerably enhance the creative process.
As well as provide a plethora of fresh insights to your work, and life. Following these straightforward tips will ensure that your working hours are productive as well as enjoyable, enabling you to get the most out of your co work experience.
How do you stay productive in co-work spaces? Leave a comment below.