Co-working spaces are changing, no longer will you find empty shells of offices packed to the brim with desk after desk, looking to be filled with those affected by the 2008 financial crisis. The focus is now on investing in collaborative and flexible environments to nurture start-ups, freelancers and budding entrepreneurs. Some have questioned the level of productivity achieved compared to conventional offices, so we’ve put together a list of tips to ensure you remain productive and use your co-working time effectively:
1. Select your space carefully
You’ve decided to go solo and away from the grind of the 9 to 5. Now what? This is not a decision to be rushed, take into consideration the pros and cons of location, services offered, other members, social activities etc. Once you have selected a space that best fits your needs you can focus on making your business blossom.
2. Talk to people
Network, network, network then network some more. You’ve made the smart decision to use a co-working space as your base, now reap its benefits. Talk to the other workers around you, find out more about them, their businesses and how they operate. If you don’t make new work friends to go for a beer with at the end of the day then at least you’ll make business connections that might be useful to you in the future.
3. Invest in good headphones
You have your new work friends but you don’t always want to hear their conversations. Invest in a good pair of headphones that will drown out background noise but won’t disturb others when you have your music playing. If you want to look really professional, purchase a clip-on mic so that you’re prepared for video and audio business calls.
4. Set deadlines
This is simple organisation, however in an environment buzzing with creativity and innovation it is easy to get distracted. Ensure you set deadlines whether they are daily, weekly or monthly and stick to them. It’s fun to take part in collaborating with your fellow coworkers but if there is a closing date approaching you’ll be a lot more satisfied if you stick to those deadlines.
5. A problem shared is a problem halved
Don’t be shy, if you have a business problem discuss it with those working around you. The likelihood is that they’ll have been in a similar situation or know of someone who has and can offer you words of wisdom. You have many untapped resources surrounding you, use them!
6. Schedule meeting rooms in advance
That important presentation is coming up and you need to focus. Or you have a prospective client coming in and they need to be impressed. Take advantage of the services at your disposal, some companies offer discounts for booking in bulk and in advance. There’s nothing worse than leaving things until last minute and having to reschedule. Stay on the ball and be productive.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others
You’ve been slogging away since 7am and Jill strolls in at 12pm then is finished by 3pm – how can this be?! Stop. Don’t compare yourself to Jill or others, this will just stress you out. Everyone works differently and that is the benefit of using a co-working space, there are no strict business hours.
8. Move away from distractions
Co-working spaces are brilliant for bouncing ideas around and getting inspired. However, there are times when you need to knuckle down and focus. Quiet zones are always on offer in these spaces, whether it’s a business lounge or a meeting room. When deadlines are looming make sure you utilise these spaces so not to be put off by distractions.
9. Share your knowledge and expertise
When a fellow coworker seems stumped or is looking for advice, offer them a helping hand. You might not have the exact answer but perhaps you could put them in touch with someone that will. Be confident about your level of life experience and business knowledge and share it. Even if you don’t have all the answers, just listening will be very much appreciated.
No one likes a disrespectful coworker. Keep your desk tidy, don’t eat smelly food and keep your voice down whilst on the phone. Being respectful will make you an all-round winner with the other coworkers and in turn they should be respectful back. Winning!
Want to try before you buy? Use a desk at Orega's co-working space, The Blue Room, for FREE!
Have another co-working tip? Tell us about it on Twitter @OregaOffices!