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Coworking environments seem to popping up everywhere with the growth of freelancing and flexible working arrangements. One of the challenges for those based out of coworking spaces is noise, along with potentially having to share resources with people you don’t know. However, if you master the key rules for working in coworking spaces, you can achieve high productivity, while taking full advantage of the significant cost savings, as well as the social and professional benefits that networking provides.

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Make use of zones

Many coworking properties offer different working zones for their tenants. These can include silent areas, telephone areas, enclosed meeting spaces, and collaborative areas. If you’re finding it hard to concentrate, head over to the silent area so you can get some work done. If you’re meeting with clients, use the meeting spaces, so you’re free to speak without being overheard and without disturbing the other tenants.

Find quiet times

As you settle into your new coworking space, it can also be helpful if you identify the quietest times of the day and concentrate on working on solo tasks during those periods. For example, you could schedule early mornings for individual work and mid-mornings or afternoons for collaborative work and meetings. If you’re easily distracted by interesting conversations going on around you, try to get in early every day so you can get more work done during the quiet times.

Leverage your own productivity schedule

Figure out the times of the day when you work most efficiently, and match this with your use of your coworking spaces. If you work best in the afternoon, take advantage of any quiet or silent areas during those times. If you’re more of a morning person, get in early when it’s quietest so you can maximise your morning high-productivity period.

Shut off and focus

For some people who are new to coworking spaces, it’s simply a matter of adjusting to the background noise and sharing spaces with other freelancers or businesses. For others, using tools such as noise-cancelling headsets and listening to music can be helpful. It can be tempting to take frequent breaks to chat to other workers and businesses sharing your space, but make it a priority to shut off and focus throughout the day so you can hit your productivity goals.

Set daily goals

Working to explicit daily goals ensures you get everything done on time, but it also helps you avoid becoming distracted. Coworking spaces offer a lot of wonderful opportunities to meet new people, network with valuable contacts, and even subtly market your business to others, but you probably don’t want to spend your entire day networking. Remind yourself why you’re there, and do weekly goals and chunk it down to daily goals so you do accomplish everything you need to.

Follow accepted etiquette

Every coworking space will have its own rules and etiquette, and you’ll want to familiarise yourself with these by observing what others are doing and by asking the landlord if you have any doubts. However, there are general rules and boundaries to keep in mind for any coworking space.

Phone and noise levels – Use an ‘indoor voice’ when speaking on the phone in any coworking space. Some coworking offices have telephone areas or rooms where you can speak as loudly as you like. Be mindful of other sources of noise, to keep excessive noise to a minimum.

  • Food – Avoid eating at your desk, especially if you’re enjoying a delicious curry or something equally pungent for lunch. Eat in the lunch room or kitchenette, or head outside to the park to have lunch.
  • Shared areas and resources – Follow the required protocol for keeping shared areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, as well as shared resources such as printers, tidy and in good condition.
  • Desk – The visual state of your hot desk or workspace can affect others enjoyment of the coworking space. Avoid messy, dirty desks or workspaces, especially if your workstation is in a high-traffic area.

Stay flexible

Open workspaces are excellent for networking, but they do offer less privacy. Do stay flexible and retain your sense of humour if any issues do arise. Rather than stressing out if there is a problem, take the opportunity to think outside the box and explore other options. For example, you might be able to head over to another work area for an hour or two if your neighbour is being too noisy. Alternatively, the best option might be to have a chat to them directly – and offer a smile and a joke to lighten the mood.

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Enjoying the benefits of coworking spaces

Coworking spaces are an excellent opportunity to save on overheads while accessing a full range of amenities, as well as networking with others. If you actively manage distractions and apply productivity techniques, you might just find that your coworking experience helps you reap some incredible rewards, and allows you to kick off a profitable venture.