Over the last decade, the innovative and flexible layout of a coworking space has given the open office a run for its money. From employee happiness to ROI, coworking spaces take the cake and raise the bar for business worldwide, and have reinvented collaborative work culture.
It’s no wonder then, that a study revealed members of coworking spaces actually feel up to 70 per cent more focused while working from their respective coworking space when compared to any other office layout, including the traditional (cubicle) style, open office, and even the home office. We took a closer look at the exact reasoning behind this breakthrough in the working world. Here’s what we found.
Coworking > homeworking
Telecommuting or “working from home” has been on the rise recently, alongside digital advancements that allow us to take our office essentially anywhere. While the technology is great, as is the workplace flexibility, working from home is actually one of the worst things you can do for your productivity. This style of office really blurs the line between work and life; making the distractions and interruptions of your personal life, pretty unavoidable.
As the Freelancing Millenial blogger sums it up, “When you work from home, it can sometimes be difficult to separate your home and work life. It’s incredibly important to get out of your home as often as you can to work, so you can stay motivated and productive…Although I sometimes work from home, I rely on a coworking space to create that physical boundary.”
Finding the “right” kind of noise
Harvard Business Review recently published an article examining research regarding noise level and interruptions in the open office layout. Key findings were that “the right level of ambient noise” – including office chatter and bustle, actually prompts our minds to think more creatively, and stay on task. Interesting, huh? So then why do we find it so difficult to concentrate in an open office? If HBR’s findings are accurate, the muffled conversations of coworkers and the buzz of the copy machine should in theory, help us focus.
“The problem may be that, in our offices, we can’t stop ourselves from getting drawn into others’ conversations or from being interrupted while we’re trying to focus,” Harvard noted. And the content of the interruption itself may be an important variable to consider. What the research also revealed was that interruptions involving face-to-face interactions, and internal politics (i.e., drama), are the ones that negatively impact our creative thinking and level of focus.
Coworking members: we’re all created equal
What doesn’t exist in a coworking space is the substantial inter-colleague pressure stemming from the hierarchy within the company. Chicago Tribune points out: “While there may be rules — even posted rules — [in an open office], breaking those rules, and escaping censure for doing so, is a highly visible and universally understood way to establish dominance.” This means that interruptions from coworkers in a traditional office are already more detrimental to your productivity, only fueling the pre-existing stress.
In a coworking space, all members are created equal. Office politics are nonexistent and colleague drama is hard to come by. Unlike a typical company’s open office, the sense of stressful competition and hierarchy is simply not there. Everyone in a coworking space is working as an independent entity, but with the common goal of staying productive.