5 Reasons Why a Coworking Office Space Will Increase Your Productivity
An inside look at how the coworking environment increased my output as a creative
As an introvert, the work-from-home lifestyle seemed like my happily ever after.
However, I got to the point where my comfy clothes became too snug resulting in a reclassification from a tracksuit to a nap suit.
I then tried working from coffee shops. The lounge music and freshly ground beans formed the backdrop for what seemed to become two and a half hours of inspiration.
But, I am a one-woman show. This means that going to the bathroom is usually awkward because I don’t want to leave my laptop ripe for the picking.
Packing everything up and taking it to the lady's room with me, evokes this feeling of bill-dodging, which is probably me just overthinking things, but I feel uncomfortable. I also feel like I’m force-feeding or over-caffeinating myself once I hit the three-hour mark and the waiter gives me a disapproving look.
Ultimately, if I need to settle down for a day of work- a coffee shop just isn’t the best fit.
Now, coworking spaces have been a buzzword for a few years.
I decided to try it out for a week and to say that it was a positive experience just doesn’t do it enough justice.
I’m going to share five reasons how my output and creativity improved, and if you’re looking for an excuse to try out shared office spaces, then I hope this article will be the push you need to get yourself to a coworking space near you.
The coworking office I explored has both common areas and private offices with bright lighting.
At my home, and in a few coffee shops, I found the lighting to have a summer-time yellow tint. Generally, this adds warmth to space which is great for an afternoon tea, a glass of wine, or curling up with a good book.
However, when it comes to getting work done, I perform best when the lighting temperature is close to 7000k. The Online MBA explains how this cool color improves alertness, mood, and productivity. I found this to be accurate as the winter-like lighting in the coworking environment seemed to turn on the light in my mind.
I felt alive, awake, alert, and enthusiastic.
At home, I constantly have tasks competing for my attention.
I’m not a perfectionist, but a messy room leads to a messy mind. Whether it is washing I have to hang or pack away, dishes that need cleaning, or flowers that are dying- I have more than enough to distract me.
The coworking space had a dedicated cleaner who emptied bins, washed dishes, and ensured a spotless environment.
Being able to zone in on work and not having personal chores encourage procrastination, I was able to work for longer periods of time leading to an increase in my daily output.
As someone who loves her own space, I was anxious about whether I would be able to get any work done in an environment where networking and collaboration are encouraged.
What was more interesting to me was that I had a bias based on my corporate experience.
When you run into people in the shared kitchen space or in the cafe, you feed off their energy. And, because they don’t work with you, there is no office drama or politics. Instead of trying to dodge people who are competing with you or have let your team down, you rather run into individuals in different fields where a quick laugh or a bit of banter is shared.
The team who ran the coworking space that I tried out, made a point of having a daily brain teaser to assist with small talk.
It had the benefits of a corporate office but with the option of withdrawing and activating autonomy.
I forgot how much power is in a smile or in a swift interaction. Brief connections with people seemed to power me through the day.
I also left feeling more energized than I usually feel at the end of the day.
4. Fresh Start
I am proud of my work ethic but as a creative and self-employed individual, I struggle to turn off.
When I work from home, I struggle to stop.
I manage to factor in breaks here and there, but once my desk is set up, it’s too easy to check emails and continue working without considering that there is more to life than my job.
I loved the idea of walking into my private office every morning, setting it up, and starting the day off feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
Packing up at the end of the day was symbolic of closing the door on business.
This had a positive effect on my marriage and mental health.
I always gravitate to thinking about my work, but having “closed shop” for the day, lit an excitement in me to get straight back to it the next day.
My thinking went from an I-have-to-do-this to an I-get-to-do-this mentality.
5. Peer Pressure
If I’m working from home, I occasionally convince myself that watching a YouTube video is a good break. This could start a rapid chain of videos seeing me spiral into a rabbit hole.
Or, because filming is a big part of what I do, I tend to leave it to the last moment and avoid doing my hair and make-up for as long as possible. For some reason, I can convince myself to delay what’s important and focus on what seems urgent.
At the coworking space, everyone was working.
There was this electric buzz of proactivity and it ignited a desire to action tasks.
When I arrived in the morning, I was ready.
I woke up an hour earlier to exercise, do my hair and paint my face.
That means that all I had to do was turn my camera on and press record.
I would often record as early as 8 am, where when I’m working from home, I usually only get to filming by 10 am or 11 am.
Not only did I record earlier, but I also recorded more content, resulting in more choice and an eventual better outcome of the project I was working on.
I only spent a week at the coworking space and I’m forcing myself to work a week from home again just to make sure I don’t sign up for something in a moment of riding the hype wave.
However, the more I reflect on the last week of working at a coworking space, the more I feel as if it was the best fit for my line of work and for what I need to be more productive.
I had the idea to try to bring elements of what I loved from my coworking experience back to my home office, but bad habits are too easy to slip into.
I’m writing this, nice and snug in my nap suit, definitely not camera ready, and I even managed to pack my dishwasher and clean the jar full of flowers that were reaching the end of their life.
I’m sure it’s not for everyone but I’ve only got one thing to say to the coworking world: I’ll be back…