We’ve all been there before. You’re cranking out a good amount of work and then you realize you have to take a bathroom break. You disconnect from your laptop, take a couple of steps and run into Steve from Company X. You guys get to chatting and catch up on what’s been happening at each other’s perspective companies. 20 minutes later you realize you still need to hit the bathroom so you guys talk about grabbing happy hour later in the week. You finally make it to the bathroom and then on your walk back, you run into Suzy at Company Y. 40 minutes after you took your break you’re finally back at your seat.
This is a common problem at large coworking spaces. Here are a few tips I’ve found to be helpful when you need to get work done but still enjoy the coworking space.
1. Wear Headphones
This sounds silly but it’s actually a very effective tool. Very few people will go up to you when you’re working if you have your headphones in as it’s an unspoken rule that you’re busy. Although not fool proof, you can get away with this most of the time as long as it’s obvious that you have earplugs in–avoid using wireless earbuds. You can easily pass as if you’re on a call or just into your work.
2. Plan Ahead
If you have flexibility in your schedule to work, where and when you want, I’ve found it helpful to create a hybrid work schedule. I typically will plan to have more of a maker’s schedule at the beginning of the week. This allows me to plan out my week and know what meetings I have in the next couple of days and what needs to be done. With this in mind, I’ll typically seclude myself in the quiet areas at a coworking space or even during the morning hours at a local coffee shop if I’m in a time crunch.
I’ll then take meetings or do team calls later in the week. For this, I make sure I have all my conference rooms booked and give myself 30 mins in between meetings. This allows for any spillover in meetings but also allows you to mingle and talk to your fellow coworkers.
3. Know What You Need
Every person and company have different needs so it makes sense that not all coworking spaces are the same. With this in mind, it’s helpful to know if you’re at a stage where you need a network vs when you just need to get things done. This is not only important for your productivity but you’ll also limit your opportunities if you’re stuck in a place that doesn’t have what you need.
Don’t forget to do your research or just go test them out for a day. Although most spaces will offer similar amenities, you’ll quickly find that each has it’s own culture and strengths. Most will have a day pass or even a free day of coworking.
4. Just Tell People You’re Busy
It’s simple enough but always a bit harder to do especially if you’re a social person. Keep yourself accountable to your work. You can nicely tell a fellow coworker that you’re on a time crunch or need to get to work. We all understand as we’re also in the same boat. You’ll have more time next time to catch up!