How to Improve Coworking Space Productivity
By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
One of the biggest knocks against the coworking model is that it’s filled with distractions. Critics claim it’s hard for people to concentrate, there’s no privacy, and the temptation to fall off-task is too great. While there are some merits to these arguments, they’re far from absolute. There isn’t any real data to support a drop-off in coworking space productivity. Most coworkers agree, they do just fine when it comes to staying on task.
People new to remote work may struggle the most to be productive. Not because of the coworking environment, but because they haven’t yet developed the habits to work independently and with accountability on their own schedule. In fact, spending time at a coworking space may help form good habits and tendencies, since it bridges the gap between pure remote work and an office environment.
Coworking operators can help new and seasoned workers alike stay on task by cultivating a productive environment. Space planning and management, experiential design, and social networking opportunities all play a role.
1.Productivity through space planning
A workplace should enable workers to accomplish the tasks set before them. By working outside a traditional office, remote employees need to make their own. Coworking space design is critical for creating a productivity-centered option for remote workers.
To be productive, people need a few basic things. Good space planning covers them all:
- Space to work comfortably alone or with others
- Noise control for better focus
- Access to electrical outlets and Wi-Fi
- A well-lit, clean, and organized environment
The first step is allocating the right amount of space for each desk or workstation type, followed by arranging seats with proximity in mind. By ensuring each seat meets the above criteria, productivity should flourish.
2. Productivity by way of space management
It’s nearly impossible to be productive with constant interruptions. Coworking productivity stems largely from minimizing disruptions. That takes good space management. Workplace managers can mitigate disruptions by determining where distractions arise and creating workspace options based on an individual's need for quiet, focus, and privacy. Good ways to reduce distractions and improve productivity include:
- Ensuring a single check-in point to prevent aimless wandering and disruptions
- Setting and enforcing shared space etiquette for individuals and groups
- Recognizing the demand for different space types and capacities
- Managing facilities upkeep and maintenance demands
Proactive oversight minimizes barriers between occupants and productivity. Avoiding a desk dispute or keeping the lights on in a room reduces the chance of distracting people trying to work there.
Read more: What is coworking? A look into the future.
3. Creating productivity through experience
There’s a reason cubicles are creeping toward extinction. They’re boring and uninspiring—as much a damper on productivity as critics claim coworking to be. Coworking should inspire productivity and motivate people with:
- Personality and unique appeal in the form of décor and amenities
- Value-add amenities like food, entertainment, or technology
- Personalization, such as special email addresses or membership perks
- Events and hours of operation accommodating to all work schedules
Not only does a coworking space need to give remote workers a reason to work outside their homes, it should provide the opportunity to be productive when they do. Given the opportunity to enjoy something beyond their desk at home or a boring office cubicle, most people will embrace and embody what coworking has to offer, channeling it into their work.
4. Networking improves productivity
Many remote workers turn to coworking for the social experience. They may not miss being chained to a desk at work, but they’re likely to miss talking with coworkers and bonding over shared interests. A coworking space that delivers social opportunities will impact productivity. Examples include:
- Central social areas like a coworking break room
- Theme days or business model to attract likeminded patrons
- Open environments where professionals can commingle
- Mixer events or community functions designed to bring people together
Making a new business connection or finding a friend in a coworking space is a form of productivity. And on those days when you talk to no one, the energy of people working nearby spurs your own productivity.
5. Productivity by design
Productivity waxes and wanes depending on many factors—not least of all the energy and focus of the person working. Aside from minimizing distractions, coworking spaces should energize and intensify focus. Give people the right spaces, a unique environment, and a strong social element and coworking becomes a productivity driver.
Where drab white walls and the sound of a ticking office clock can drain productivity, the buzz and appeal of coworking might ignite it!
Keep reading: Are coworking spaces worth it?