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CoWorking vs Productivity - Finding the Balance

Dror Wayne
22 August 2018

Allow me to bust a myth. CoWorking and Productivity are NOT mutually exclusive.

Many people are mistakenly under the impression that CoWorking could lead to less productivity. But that's not true - the statistics show that CoWorking leads to increased productivity. You just need to find the balance between focus and interaction, to make the most of every hour you spend in the office. Here's how.

It all comes down to interruptions

According to a study by the University of California, after a distraction, it takes an average of almost 25 minutes to refocus on work. The key is to minimise interruptions; separating your focusing time from your interaction time.


1) IM

By using instant messaging, you're demanding an instant response. Stop. You're killing your colleagues. This applies to any office, not just co-working. Whether it's whatsapp, slack or another platform - keep instant messaging to a minimum.

Similarly, turn off the notifications. If you use a project management platform such as or Asana, turn off the email notifications, the desktop notifications and all the other pop-ups. Other people can still set you tasks and tags, but you go to view them only when you're ready.

Slack has a really nifty feature for snoozing messages. If someone messages you whilst your snooze is enabled, they'll have the option to send you a notification if it's really urgent and important. So you don't need to worry about missing out if you're needed and your colleagues will definitely think twice before hitting that button.

2) Email

First things first: emails are not Instant Messaging.

Remember back in the day, when your "inbox" was a tray on your desk where people would put post and messages, for you to deal with when ready? 

Or when sending someone a letter involved quills, parchment and a messenger-boy?

You don't need notifications from your emails. You don't need work emails on your mobile phone either, unless you're travelling around for work. Deal with emails on your terms. Twice a day put "emails" on your agenda - knock them all out of the way in one go - so the rest of the working day you can actually work.

If something is so important and urgent - the sender will probably phone or IM you. Don't worry!

3) Live

You can be interrupted by Instant Messages and Emails whether you're working at home, in a traditional office or just about anywhere with an internet connection. But the difference in CoWorking is that there are people around you looking to engage. 

The key to ensuring that you have a clear time to focus is just that - making it clear. Send clear signals that show your CoWorkers whether you're open to chatting or just really need to finish that tax return. They'll respect your signals - because they all use them as well.

According to Stacey, a Community Manager at OneCoWork Marina Port Vell, headphones are a really effective signal. We at OneCoWork encourage people not to use headphones in general, but to be open to chatting. But when you need to focus without interruption, putting earphones in - with or without music - sends a clear warning to the entire office only to approach you if completely necessary.

Other CoWorkers use coloured post-it notes. They'll usually have a green post-it note at the top of their computer screen, to show they're open to conversation, but when they need to focus, they'll stick a yellow or pink one up.



Working in a strategically designed CoWorking Space such as OneCoWork presents you with a variety of places to work and you're able to mix it up every day! So if you're a copywriter and need unbroken focus, you can head to your personal desk, but when you need a break for a few minutes, you can grab a coffee in your nearest kitchen and chill in the break-out area. Then for a change of scenery, you can head down to the hot-desk area and for inspiration, head out to sit on the terrace over-looking sea at OneCoWork Marina Port Vell.

Be considerate of others, if you expect the same in return.

It's also important to respect others. For a big meeting, book a meeting room. If you want music, use headphones. Put your phone on vibrate, so the ringing doesn't disturb others - and when you do have calls, take them outside. If you're a team working together, take a private office or a group of desks close together, rather than crowding next to other workers.

OneCoWork's Community Managers are here to help you make the most of your time working. By hosting events and stimulating networking we ensure you get the most out of your coworking experience, but we're also there to help you work productively and effectively. If you've got any ideas or are looking for guidance, swing by the reception!

Last month, OneCoWork Marina Port Vell hosted a Breakfast Club on efficient working, entitled "How To Make More Money in Less Time" by our very own Dror Wayne. We'll be repeating this in Plaça Catalunya this Autumn, so make sure to subscribe to our updates! 

Dror Wayne is new to the OneCoWork team, having recently moved from the UK. Follow him on LinkedIn and subscribe to the OneCoWork newsletter (below) to stay up to date with the latest articles from Barcelona's favourite coworking space!

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