Maintaining productivity in a shared workspace

by Olex Kosiuk

For as popular as coworking is, shared spaces have their own unique downsides. Sensory overload, random uncontrollable noise and self-management have the ability to decrease your work productivity. Here are a few tips to making this public space work for you.

Invest in headphones

Open workspaces come with a lot of noise. Even with the best efforts to keep quiet, keyboard strokes, coffee sips, small chatter, and conference calls can quickly become a nuisance. The solution? Headphones. Using a personalized music playlist or listening to your favorite podcast is proven to be effective in enhancing your focus. However, make sure to cater to your work. If you’re writing, music is usually a better choice than a podcast that may provide too much word input. But if you’re designing web platforms, a podcast you enjoy will keep your brain busy while you’re completing tedious tasks. And, of course, you can tune out by listening to white noise.

Author Michael Lewis, who wrote “Moneyball,” “The Blind Side” and “The Big Short,” said, “I write with headphones on that just plays on a loop the same playlist that I’ve built for whatever book I’m writing.” It becomes Pavlovian. He hears those songs and starts typing.

Create your ‘office’

Much like audio chaos, visual noise is worth reducing for increased productivity. Avoid having anything chaotic or messy within your sightlines to help maintain focus. Items like trash bins, cluttered tables, washroom hallways and even busy streets are distracting. Try facing towards a view with simple, clean lines, such as a garden window or even a wall. It seems boring, but Zen tradition suggests this is a great way to stay on task.

If your line of work involves a high level of creativity, you may choose to face the excitement head on and use it as your muse. The saying “to each their own” is appropriate for visual decluttering.

Prioritize your time

Most people (64%) who use coworking spaces are better able to meet their deadlines. Time management plays a large role in their ability to do so. To become one of the 64%, it’s suggested that you mute all unimportant notifications. Little beeps for unimportant tasks will take your focus away from larger, more important jobs.

Next, studies show that in order to produce the highest quality of work in the shortest amount of time, people should work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break. The trick? Staying off of social media, text messaging and the like. Instead, use your break to take a refreshing walk or mingle within the office space. Not only will this help you refocus, but networking never hurts!

As well as these three focus points, maintaining a work-life harmony and keeping procrastination tendencies under control are also important tips to increasing your productivity in a shared work environment. Once your space is perfected, you will reap the benefits of joining a coworking habitat, including an improved home life, a potential increase in income and added professional flexibility.

Check out Ooma’s infographic on the topic:



Image credit: Infographic courtesy of Ooma.