Coworking spaces are liberating environments for anyone of an entrepreneurial bent. They’re alluring, almost magical places that offer promise, potential and an escape from office drudgery – but career freedom can be a double-sided coin.
Too much freedom can be exhilarating yet scary, like the first dip on a rollercoaster – it comes with a particular scent of danger (which is possibly why entrepreneurs find it so appealing) – and a very real sense of risk.
The ability to work your own hours, be your own boss and define your own productivity is offset by the threat of careering off the career tracks. Unless you happen to work for an established business based in a coworking space, the lack of a rigorous routine can open the door to limbo.
Irregular hours, uncertain work commitments and a lack of structure are not for everybody – and the way you deal with these challenges will quickly define your path to success or failure. But without great risk, there can be no great success.
So what are the top habits you should follow to make the most of your time in a world of work without borders?
Have a routine (but don’t stifle yourself)
Take time out to reflect on your work, schedule and make sure you’re being as productive as possible.
This is one of the key advantages of the coworking environment – at relatively low cost you can escape the echo chamber of your home office and become part of an eclectic professional environment that encourages a sense of belonging and structure – but without the internal wrangling, repetition or office politics of a corporate or even small or medium-sized enterprise.
Coworking spaces make a special effort to create an atmosphere intended to inspire, focus the mind and even provide support and professional guidance when needed. And there’s no dress code! Just be sure to set and stick to regular ‘office’ hours and, where possible, take proper breaks. It’s still possible to burn out when you’re your own boss.
Build your profile and rediscover yourself
According to Harvard Business Review, working among other independent professionals doing varied types of work can make one’s own work identity stronger, and even make you feel “more interesting and distinctive”.
Most people that leave the comfort zone of a full-time permanent contract do so because they feel they feel stifled and believe they have more to offer outside of their career pigeonhole. Ironically though, self-motivation can be far higher when you know the option is there to be part of a bigger picture – but one of your own choosing.
Depending on the kind of work you do, it goes without saying that you may also pick up valuable contacts and leads by immersing yourself in a likeminded or industry-relevant coworking environment.
Be part of a diverse community
In the words of Innovation Warehouse founder Ami Shpiro, coworking is about sharing: “Sharing knowledge, wisdom and experience… and sharing resources between startups – the same security, the same internet line, the same cleaner even – whatever makes sense.”
The by-products of a good coworking environment should be employment and growth and, for the ecosystem, the fact that you’re using a high-density yield on property and other available services helps keep business costs down.
“And in a way it’s a pity, because instead of it being a grass-roots movement to share and bring down the cost of growth, it’s become a property play,” says Shpiro.
“So what has proliferated does not include the core of what we do at Innovation Warehouse, which is the mentoring and knowledge for equity, and exchange of experience with youthful exuberance and innovation – not just innovation in terms of ideas, but innovation in how to take those ideas to market.”
Click here to read Part 2 of this series