Working at home really sounded like a great thing. No need to get dressed, no in-person meetings, you had your own private bathroom, and basically, you never had to physically interact with any other humans.
After a few stints in bureaucracy-heavy offices, you welcomed the opportunity to get away from it all. Perhaps, you’re a tech-savvy marketer located in Eugene, Oregon working remotely from your fairly priced apartment, things are looking great and much improved from your prior work situation.
The Mindset Shift
But then something happened.
While you enjoyed your work, you found that sometimes you felt like a hermit and you were worried that you were actually losing your ability to communicate with people since you left the house a lot less often.
You realized that although remote employment was what you wanted, you needed more of a semi-office environment, and coworking spaces seemed to be the right answer. Now you’re wondering what behaviors to stay away from in your new office space so that you will work efficiently, and equally important, get along with others.
Here are five things you should be aware of:
Picking the Wrong Space
Make sure you understand the vibe and ambience of of possible choice for coworking spaces and ensure that this determination is made during daily general working hours. Yes, we understand that coworking inhabitants may be at work at any time including weekends, but 1:00 p.m. on a week day would be a good time to check out a new space.
That way, you’ll get the feel of what happens there on a regular day. If you need a place to make private phone calls, make sure that your facility gives you that option. Likewise, if you need to meet clients, your coworking space should have some conference room availability.
You may want a wired connection for your laptop along with a strong Wi-Fi signal for your phone or pad. Sure, this should be a given, but until you plug in and logon, you can’t be sure that your space is going to provide optimal connectivity. There are no coworking space inspectors that test for adequate Internet signals, so you’ll have to do this yourself.
We all wish we could just fire up an app and make money, but we’re talking about your career here. You already had a discipline problem while working at home. No, and it wasn’t your kid talking back to you. It was you watching daytime TV with a big bag of Cheetos when you should have been working. Even though you will be with others at your new workspace, you still have to treat work like work. Try to get there at the same time every day and establish a routine. While you may need to check email constantly as part of your business, you don’t need to follow politics every minute on CNN or Fox News. And while it’s fun to check your stocks every 15 minutes, that’s not conducive to getting anything done.
You just don’t want to be the smelly food guy. It’s as simple as that. There’s nothing like the aroma of yesterday’s Subway tuna melt wafting throughout the entire area after you nuked it trying to bring it back to life. If you are the smelly food guy, don’t expect to make many new friends at work.
Conversely, it wouldn’t hurt to visit potential coworking spaces at lunchtime to make sure that there aren’t a lot of smelly food people there.
Be Careful on Fridays
Coworkers demand strong Internet signals, clean and modern workspace areas, clean restrooms, and free snacks and even free beer. Just don’t overdo the free snacks and beer part because even though you may be having a good old time every Friday afternoon during an extended happy hour, you may find that now you are only working 4 and a half days per week. If you watch some old movies, you’ll see how many business people seemed to regularly have a few martinis during lunch; bet they didn’t get much work done after that.
Working at home and renting a space at a coworking space are not that different. The same problems that can slow you down at home can reoccur at your new location if you aren’t personally disciplined. And one more thing, crowded downtown areas may lack parking, so if you are thinking of taking your car to work, make sure there is a place to put it.