7 Tips for Surviving a Coworking Space

Ken Narita profile image April 30, 2019 | 7 min read

It’s Monday morning, and you have a big week ahead of you. Deciding to buckle down and make the most of your busy week, you head to your local coworking space.

Despite the advantages of coworking spaces, you may find that you lose patience for the productivity-draining distractions that can be common. When it’s crunch time, here are the seven ways to survive a busy workday in a coworking space.

best tools for coworking spaces

Monkey Business – stock.adobe.com

#1: Get the Best Desk by Arriving Early

Many small business workers will use coworking spaces to rent a desk for a day. Otherwise known as hotdesking, the short-term rentals can provide work desks without commitment.

However, like other forms of real estate, location matters. Arriving to your coworking location early can help you nab a coveted desk by a window while avoiding ones that have an uncomfortable draft.

Getting a desk near a window is more than just personal preference, as natural light can improve productivity by 2 percent. That’s an additional 10 minutes per day, which accumulates to an added 43 hours worth of productivity each year.

The optimal time to arrive at your coworking office will vary by location due to differing traffic patterns and work culture. While companies such as WeWork have long been known to do data-based traffic analysis, those findings are rarely released to the public, so you’ll likely have to do your own research.

In one release of beta traffic data about WeWork’s Times Square location, we found that arriving before 9am gives you the biggest pick of workspaces. Occupancy rates rapidly increased during the morning hours, starting at about 20 percent at 9am, rising to 50 percent by 10 am, and topping out at about 72 percent by 11 am.

coworking occupancy rates

#2: There Are Biological Benefits to Having a Late Morning Coffee

Many coworking buildings have a stocked kitchen with unlimited coffee. While you may want to have a steaming cup of coffee right when you arrive, the biochemical interaction between caffeine and human physiology can make it a better choice to wait until mid-morning.

One neuroscientist explains that the best time to drink your coffee is based on the cortisol that your body produces. Cortisol improves alertness and is naturally regulated by your body’s circadian rhythm.

For many people, cortisol levels peak between 8am and 9am, and if you’re adding caffeine to your system when cortisol levels are high, the cup of coffee won’t pack as much punch. Instead, drinking coffee is most effective between 9:30am and 11:30am, so the caffeine offsets your body’s declining cortisol levels.

Even though many coworking locations provide free coffee all day long, having a cup mid-morning can give you the biggest jolt.

#3: Prepare for Noise

In an informal poll on Facebook, noise was the biggest complaint by coworkers. Some thought their coworking spaces were too noisy, calling out fellow workers for talking loudly or not using alternative spaces for conversations. This noise problem has led to some unusual workplace hacks, such as perching laptops inside of phone booths to focus or carrying a laptop around during a video meeting to get away from a loud conversation.

On the other hand, some coworkers didn’t mind the volume, but they thought that the workplace didn’t have the same hum of a coffee shop’s background noise.

Considering all this, it makes sense that headphones are the #1 recommendation for improving workplace productivity.

Workers who are trying to get the right type of background noise can benefit from a productivity playlist app such as Focus At Will. Designed to be music that you can ignore, the right playlist can help you get into a flow state where you’re focused and productive.

If you prefer quiet, noise-canceling headphones are a great option, and there’s certainly no judgment from us if you decide to wear the high-decibel ear protection of an air-traffic controller. When you’re protected up to 100dB, you could end your work day like this airport employee.

#4: Focus on a Big Project in the Morning

Mark Twain recommended getting the tough stuff done in the morning. “If you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing you do the rest of the day will be as bad by comparison,” cited Fast Company.

The Harvard Business Review agrees, noting that the first three hours of your workday are most important. “Typically, we have a window of about three hours where we’re really, really focused,” said Ron Friedman, Ph.D.

However, the trap that many small business owners fall into is using those early-morning hours to check emails and voicemails so that their communications are responsive to clients and colleagues. “Being responsive first thing in the morning is really cognitively expensive,” said Friedman. “If we end up squandering those first three hours reacting to other people’s priorities for us… we’re not quite as effective as we could be.”

Keep in mind that the technology of voicemail is changing, and voicemail hacks such as sending audio messages to your email can streamline how you check your messages so you can field messages quicker and improve how you start to your workday.

#5: Grow Your Network by Attending a Lunchtime Event

In a world where opportunities are determined by who you know, networking at a coworking space is a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs and allies. In fact, 64 percent of coworkers say that networking events within their building have been an important source of work and business referrals.

“Lunch and Learn” style events are popular in coworking buildings, proving an easy way to chat during your workday without cutting into your evening plans. For example, LAX Coworking hosts a Lunch ‘n Learn series where coworkers can simultaneously boost their skills and network. There’s also the option to become a speaker, which can help you share your industry expertise and expand your business visibility.

#6: The Best Time for a Team Meeting is 2:30

Mid-afternoon is scientifically the best time of day to meet with your group. It’s neither too late nor too early.

Early-morning meetings can have some workers feeling groggy while others would be wasting key productivity hours. On the other hand, late afternoon meetings are affected by decision fatigue, and mental energy can decline at the end of the day.

innovative collaboration at coworking spaces

Cookie Studio – stock.adobe.com

To help make your meetings more productive, reserve a conference room space at your coworking building. Not only can meeting rooms improve collaboration and aid discussion, but if your meeting is a conference call, using a Yealink conference phone can also facilitate engagement across your whole group.

As Ed Catmull of Pixar explained in his book, “Creativity, Inc.,” it’s not always easy to have effective meetings that actually add value to your projects. However, the first step to any meeting is having a meeting room. Because meeting space is a hot commodity in some coworking spaces, preplan as much as possible to make sure you have the space when you need it.

#7: Start Making Business Calls at 4pm

If you want your business calls to be answered, the best time to make those calls is between 4pm and 6pm.

One cold-calling researcher crunched the numbers on calling success rates, During the 4pm hour, contact rates are nearly double that of calls placed midday. The 5pm block is also successful, with a 70 percent greater success rate than calls placed midday.

Notably, phone booth usage at WeWork tends to drop off later in the day. This can be to your advantage, helping you have more calling location options than at midday.

How Can Ooma Help You Work in a Coworking Space?

Communications infrastructure can be challenging when coworking. Running a small business from a cell phone may make you appear less professional. On the other hand, hardwired phone lines don’t make sense for coworking spaces.

Ooma Office phone mitigates both of these challenges by offering professional phone service that can be accessed from either a desk phone or a mobile app. It’s contract-free, scalable, and can be moved to different locations.

coworking space Ooma Office

Included with your phone service are many professional tools such as the multi-level virtual receptionist to automate incoming calls, conference calling tools to get all stakeholders in on the conversation, extension dialing to speed up worker productivity, and more.

Ooma has an ongoing WeWork partnership that provides unique deals for members of the WeWork coworking community. That’s how New York City-based Clarify Capital got started using Ooma phone service. As the owners explain in the video below, 99 percent of the financial firm’s business is done on the phones, which makes reliable service a top concern.

For the past nine years, Ooma Office has been selected the #1 VoIP phone system in PC Magazine’s Business Choice Awards. As editors explain, “Ooma has the top score in every single category of our survey. That’s really all you need to know.”

Learn more about how Ooma Office phone system is providing small businesses with innovative communications solutions.

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