MAR 24 2017

How Can I Strike the Right Balance at a Coworking Space?

Kamakshi Kamath

TAGS : coworking, bangalore, coworking in india

How Can I Strike the Right Balance at a Coworking Space?

Whether you’re managing a coworking space or are a coworker yourself, you’re bound to have this question.

A coworking space is one meant for co-dependency, collaboration and innovation. When so many people from a variety of industries and backgrounds get together under one roof, striking the right balance can be quite a sensitive thing.

So, how do you do that?

The first step is to figure the people out.

You do this by asking a few questions:

#1: What is it that leads people to cowork?

Well, mostly, you find that people cowork because other people cowork. Most coworkers are go-getters who like to network and create their own opportunities, but there are some who prefer their own private space to work - and they hate that disturbance. So observe, and act wisely.

Tip for coworkers: Before you jump too soon into interacting with new people, observe their behaviour and gauge their preferences.

Tip for managers of a coworking space: Make sure you create enough opportunities for both introverts and extroverts in your culture - don’t always focus on engagement alone.

#2: What motivates coworkers to continue coworking?

We live in a time where people love to do something different. Uniqueness is now more important than it ever has been. So while all the engagement and opportunities can keep a coworker happy, your USP as a coworking space is the most important thing - and that needs to be kept alive.

Tip for coworkers: Be a considerate coworker. While coworking means working on your own terms, don’t forget that there are other people with their unique needs and preferences.

Tip for managers of a coworking space: You started this because you know that no one size fits all. Talk to the members of your coworking space and see what they’d like to do differently. And then create that space for them.

#3: Who inhabits my coworking space?

But that doesn’t mean coworking isn’t for everyone! Whether you’re a solopreneur or the employee of a Fortune 500 company; a freelancer or a small business owner - coworking can open up new horizons. Your coworking space might have a mix of different kinds of people, so get to know them!

Tip for coworkers: Know whom you’re talking to. There are certain limits that a company has, so if you’re a freelancer, you need to be cognizant of that. And so on, vice versa.

Tip for managers of a coworking space: Coworking surveys and stats may or may not hold true for your own coworking space. Talk to your coworkers and then chalk out a plan accordingly.

Now that you know the people, you can create the right environment.

So what is this “right environment”?

#1: A delicate blend between open and closed spaces

Studies show that open spaces are not good for everyone. In fact, a number of workers reported that interactions in open spaces made them feel inhibited, uncomfortable and distracted. So open spaces stop such workers from reaching full bloom, while closed spaces cause some workers to feel creatively hampered and less happy about their work.

Tip for coworkers: Find your zone. A coworking space gives you the opportunity to explore, so don’t limit yourself. Keep experimenting with open and closed spaces. Sometimes, the same you might have different needs for different tasks - you might want to brainstorm in a quiet closed space, and do more mundane tasks in a lively, open environment.

Tip for managers of a coworking space: Create a variety of environments within your space. There needs to be a fine mix of people, ideas, lighting, decor, and so on.

#2: Encourage collective action, and yet keep everything decentralised

A coworking space is nothing without sharing and cooperation. But that does not mean that processes collapse without a few people around. The whole idea of codependency is that everyone needs one another, but no one becomes inevitable for smooth functioning. Having fun and taking responsibilities go hand-in-hand, and everyone needs to be a part of both processes.

Tip for coworkers: While taking up the ownership of things is great, don’t rely solely on yourself. Coworking also means shared ownership.

Tip for managers of a coworking space: Keep a watch on the goings on in your coworking space and ensure that every process is distributed evenly.

Trust us, once you’ve mastered the art of striking a right balance, coworking becomes the easiest and best way to live!
Still got more questions about coworking? Or looking for a coworking space? Get in touch with us, we’ll be happy to help.