11 Tips to help you with productivity in a coworking space

The coworking space phenomenon that is gripping the business industry is an ingenious and creative concept. Office space is made available for young entrepreneurs, small enterprises and freelance workers to have a conducive space to work on private projects, to share knowledge, exchange ideas and work together on projects that each entity has. It’s an amazing space for creativity, innovation and support.

But being around other people in a vibrant, energetic and buzzing space, can have an impact on one’s productivity.

Noise distractions run rampant, like Sally publicly announcing what ingredients went into her banting salad from the kitchen. Or, listening to a one-sided conversation between Mark and a college mate from yesteryear, reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Alternatively, too strong a work ethic advocated in such a space can also take a knock on one’s productivity in a coworking space. Most people making use of this space are passionate about their work and want to be productive and use their time effectively.

So what can you do to gain the benefit of such a space, but still achieve optimal productivity?

Productivity will be dependent on you and your self-discipline. At Work & Co, we want everyone to do their best work and enjoy the best our environment has to offer. That’s why we compiled the following tips to help you get there!

Here are 11 helpful tips to improve productivity in a coworking space:

1. Keep yourself accountable

It is easy to allow the distractions of a social environment like a coworking space to keep you from achieving your goals for the day. Self-discipline is key here.

Write down the tasks for the day, tick them off as you complete them (there is nothing more satisfying) and do not let yourself go home without completing them all (unless it’s past midnight, then you abort mission faster than dropping a stink bomb in an elevator). Being strict in this department will lay a good foundation for a healthy and productive habit.

2. Make the work meaningful

When you do something that contributes to the end product, it’s easier to do the work. Furthermore, knowing why the work you are doing is important, makes it less laborious to do. This results in faster and a better quality end-result. You will always have certain things to do that are less fun (like administration), but understanding the purpose behind it, makes it easier to do.

3.  Break regularly

The brain is an organ that can only take so much abuse at a time. According to this scientific study, the optimal time work ratio is 52 minutes of hard, constructive and effective work, with a 17-minute break in between. The point? Figure out what works for you, and implement the principle behind the ratio.

A break doesn’t necessarily mean a 20-minute nap under your workspace or picking up dry cleaning. Simply getting up to stretch or moving around for a couple of moments will suffice.

The brain just needs to “reset” every once in awhile. It may even be best to have scheduled, forced breaks (because we all know how young professionals become addicted to working, right?).

4. Foster the right kind of engagement

It’s all good and well to work in a space with many people with a variety of skills and talents, but simply engaging with them for the sake of chatting or procrastinating does more harm than good for productivity in a coworking space.

When you work, engagement should be productive and beneficial to your project or to the team. Otherwise, it is simply a matter of wasting time, keeping the other person from doing their work and a nuisance to those who share the same space and wish to be productive. Having good relationships with your coworking space team is important, but there is a time and place to cultivate a friendship. At other times – you will need to exercise restraint!

5. Reward yourself for good work

By rewarding yourself upon the completion of a task or reaching a specific milestone, you encourage hard and productive work.You know yourself best, so if you are a coffee nut, treat yourself with a delicious chai latte with skimmed milk and a hint of caramel (it that floats your boat)! This, instead of the office coffee that has been reheating for the past 3 hours, should make your day feel a little more worth it.

Rewards make hard work easier, and just because you might be a lone wolf reporting to yourself, it doesn’t mean that you should neglect yourself.

6. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

In such a social and high-energy environment, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement of things. Next thing you know, 2 precious hours of your day is gone and productivity in a coworking space is an afterthought.

It is also very easy to get distracted by non-trivial tasks and effectively, the day is a waste. Exercising some time management skills are vital in a coworking space environment. Having a general plan for the day, or the week, gives your day direction. A little bit of structure can take you a long way.

It’s not necessary to enforce it with military precision (we all love some flexibility in our lives), but a guideline works wonders. Do some minor recon at the end of the day, see what was done and what was not, and write down a specific task list for the next day.

Not all those items you’re not getting done – the 5 things that will take your business or venture forward!

7. Defeat Procrastination

A coworking space, being an interactive and social environment can lead to procrastination. And quite honestly, procrastination is a problem in any working environment, whether you are a student, postponing studying for the subject you hate. Or, you’re a CEO that deals with smaller matters first before jumping into a 100-page report because it will take a lot of time.

Changing your modus operandi by breaking the task into smaller milestones, setting tough deadlines for yourself and catching a breather when the stress starts strangling you are all great ways to kerb procrastination and boost your productivity.

Many freelancers, entrepreneurs and team members’ success lie on the other side of their consistent procrastination.

8. Avoid monotony

Boredom is a killer of productivity. In this case, it might not the environment that becomes monotonous, but the work.

Keep your day flexible and avoid falling into a boring routine that never enjoys any constructive breaks or engagement. And no, we’re not saying that 6-hour ‘board’ meetings are the ideal either!

9. Keep your workspace clean and tidy.

There is nothing more demotivating than having to work in an untidy space with mounds of papers on the verge of an avalanche and the dustbin overflowing with paper balls. And, the previous night’s midnight snack wrappers when you were playing your work catch up won’t help either! A clean, open space is an inviting space where one will want to work.

10. Use technology to your advantage

There are hundreds of apps and websites out there, designed to make one’s life easier and to save you some time. It can be:

  • An app that syncs your emails and events to the calendars of your portable devices,
  • One that generates “to do” lists for you,
  • Web sites that allows you to store all your documents and data in a cloud,
  • Or apps that check your grammar and record your time expenditure.

Making use of these possibilities and automating a lot of the mundane tasks will save time and boost productivity in a coworking space.

P.S. We’d recommend sharing the apps you use on the Work & Co Slack Channels and check in for recommendations from others!

11.  Take care of yourself

In such a constructive and creative environment, it is easy to fall into a workaholic mindset and start neglecting your personal health. Sleep is one of the biggest inhibitors of productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation who ran a worldwide study on sleep, young adults (18-26) and adults (26-64) need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for optimal function.

Lack of sleep contributes to concentration issues, it stimulates a negative attitude towards one’s work and ultimately, it takes longer to do basic things that would not be an issue with a fresh mind. Further, it is amazing what an injection of endorphins can do to productivity and creativity. Go for a jog or work in a gym session and one will see an increase in one’s levels of productivity in a coworking space.

If you’re getting the work done, it might then even be time for that ‘board’ meeting!

Achieving productivity in a coworking space is not just achieved through constant working, but by taking a break too and giving yourself time to recover! Remember, there is no point in doing something if it doesn’t bring you meaning or joy. So be productive safely, and don’t type and drive!

© Work & Co. 2017. Designed & developed by Wonderland Collective.