13 min read

How Can You Be Productive in Coliving Spaces?

Blended coworking and coliving spaces are disrupting the traditional expectations of corporate society. They are rising in popularity because advances in technology have made it possible to work remotely, and the idea of working within a like-minded community that provides endless networking opportunities is thrilling.

Many coliving units are built with designated coworking spaces inside. They are designed specifically for remote workers, digital nomads, entrepreneurs and startup founders who yearn to surround themselves with passionate workers who inspire and motivate output.

The best part of living and working in a coliving space is the work/life balance. You can have the time of your life while also achieving productivity levels that go beyond what a traditional office can provide. 

How can you be social and productive at the same time?

The people who move into combined coliving and coworking spaces often share similar goals, priorities and work ethics. After all, working for and by yourself requires a level of driven, self-motivated effort with little managerial oversight needed.

Therefore, coliving/coworking members tend to be high achievers who aspire to accomplish their goals. This gives way to a dynamic and vibrant community that is willing and eager to share and learn from each other in order to grow. 

Do community events take up lots of free time?

Coliving spaces are known for hosting community-organized events. Some examples are community dinners, movie nights, BBQs and business networking events. These events are fantastic through ways to make profound connections with the people you live and work with. 

And oftentimes, they provide networking opportunities with local investors or entrepreneurs to glean advice from and potentially form partnerships with.    

But just because there are many community gatherings does not mean that members have to participate in each one. If you have work to do, it’s entirely ok to prioritize those efforts over hanging out with the group. In fact, at any given time you’re likely to find people working throughout the house, regardless of what’s scheduled on the social calendar. 

What if we all work different schedules?

The perfect work/life balance is different for everyone. Some people prefer to work for a few hours a day, daytime or nighttime, six to seven days a week. While others stick to the more traditional 9-5 work week and take weekends off. Then there’s those who must work the hours of a specific time zone, regardless of whether or not they’re on the other side of the world.

That’s what makes coliving and coworking spaces so unique: there’s no “right” way to be productive. And that is inspiring in itself. 

It's easier to be productive when where you stay has a coworking space that is separate from social areas, as this will prevent people from walking around you when you work. 
The people in the houses will soon be your friends, and it’s easy to just turn around when you have a dilemma to ask for help/inspiration. Living with smart people who are eager and willing to help you succeed is what helped me to see rent as an investment instead of an expense. 
Companies are actually just people behind the scenes living right next to you, and you can “almost” treat your roommates as your consultants or trusted advisors. People are happy to connect with you, and help out when needed. You get so motivated to boost your business when you see how others hustle. 
Daniel Beck, CEO @Coliving.com

Coliving/coworking spaces also give you the opportunity to try new working styles. If you don’t have set hours, you can commit to switching up your work routine each day. For example, if you’re a morning worker, set up with the nighttime group and see how it feels. By assessing how varying environments affect your focus, you may discover a system that works better than your current techniques.  

If you’re someone who prefers to surround yourself with others to boost productivity, the chances of finding somebody else working at any given time are high. Or, if you’d rather work alone, you can always retreat to a quieter part of the house to minimize distraction. 

In essence, working different schedules doesn’t hinder productivity at all. Rather, it enhances it. 

What if there’s a loud community gathering in the house?

Coliving/coworking spaces are mindful that their members work varying schedules. That’s why they display the social calendar ahead of time—so that everybody is aware of what’s coming up. 

For example, if there’s a networking event scheduled on a Wednesday night when you have to work, you’ll have known about that weeks ahead of time. This means you’ll be mentally prepared for the noise and have had time to choose an alternative workspace for the night. 

Oftentimes, the coworking spaces are not used for community gatherings, so you can still work there if it’s soundproofed enough. The same goes for your room. In both places, you can also wear noise-canceling headphones to block out music and voices. But, if those options aren’t suitable, you can venture to a cafe off-premises. 

You’ll never be surprised by a community event and will always have plenty of time to plan.

What are the coworking spaces like?

Coworking spaces within coliving units vary depending on the coliving company and chosen location.

However, you’ll find basic amenities across the board:

  • High-speed, reliable WiFi with backups in case it goes down
  • Large table(s) and chairs that sit many people
  • Work desks
  • Plenty of power points

Then, some spaces offer:

  • A designated working room separate from the rest of the house (to help avoid distractions and noise)
  • Private meeting rooms for hosting a meeting or taking a work call
  • Ergonomic workstations for increased comfort
  • Office supplies on site
  • Discounted or free passes to nearby coworking sites as a perk
  • Meal and beverage services 

For example, Startup House in Stanford has three distinct coworking spaces within their premises. Giving people options for where to work is a huge perk, as aesthetics, noise levels and lighting preferences vary significantly from person to person. 

In fact, numerous scientific studies have noted that physical office environments can have a huge effect on a person’s concentration and productivity levels. In fact, a study conducted at Cornell found that workers who set up near natural light reported a 10% decrease in drowsiness and an 84% drop in eyestrain. Coliving spaces tailored for productive coworking environments know this and often do their best to cater their spaces to varying needs.

Outsite also understands how a dynamic environment can affect overall efficiency. At their Mission location in San Francisco, they provide private desks in every room, as well as several quiet and sunny alcoves throughout the house. 

If you know exactly what type of space you flourish in, keep that in mind when searching for your ideal location. If you prefer working in large, open spaces and don’t mind distractions, then a private work desk may not be a benefit for you. Alternatively, if you thrive in peaceful and quiet nooks away from the crowd, your top priority might be finding a house with plenty of small, private workspaces.

The right option for you is out there, and the easiest way to find it is by filtering for your preferences on Coliving.com.

How to boost productivity in a coliving space

No matter how much a coliving space is tailored to suit your working needs, mastering your work/life balance falls on you and you alone.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you reach maximum efficiency: 

  • Bring noise-canceling headphones: For most people, these are a must. There will be times when it’s difficult to block out all of the noise in your surroundings. Noise-canceling headphones are your lifejacket in this situation. Throw them on, tune out the world, and get working.
  • Know when to retreat to a private space: It can be tempting to neglect your work when there’s a fun social activity happening around the corner. This is where you must learn how to separate work from pleasure and focus even when you may not feel up to it. Private spaces exist to give you respite from your surroundings. If you find it’s too difficult to concentrate in the common areas, remove yourself from temptation. Honing this skill will work wonders for your work/life balance, as the more time you spend on focused work, the more time you’ll have to socialize when you want to.
  • Plan ahead: If there’s an event coming up that you really want to attend, make sure to get your work done in time to enjoy it. If you prefer working nights but the networking event is scheduled in the evening, work during the day so that you can attend it. If you can’t get your work done in time, either skip the event and catch the next one or stay up late afterward to finish your work. Mastering your time management will set you free.

How to stay healthy in coworking/coliving spaces

The people who live and work in coliving spaces often achieve an ideal work-life balance. The “can do” attitude, community gatherings, chill zones, pools, spas, gyms and beautiful locations give residents the opportunity to work as hard as they play.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t still need to focus on prioritizing their health. For example, getting enough sleep is paramount if you want to be mentally and physically strong throughout the day. If you’re a light sleeper living in a shared room in a coliving space, you must find a way to get a comfortable night’s sleep regardless of your surroundings. 

Most coliving spaces enforce a quiet time after 10 pm, but that doesn’t automatically equate to silence. One way to battle noise and stray lights are by wearing earplugs and an eye mask. These can dramatically block out disturbances that may be bothersome. 

If you feel comfortable, you can also convey your sleeping patterns to your roommates and see if they can switch from a desk light to a headlamp after hours, for example. You’re likely to find that the people you live with will respect your wishes and do what they can to make you comfortable. After all, people who choose to live with others usually understand the importance of respecting a shared space.

When it comes to working at a computer, you have to be aware of the impact that it has on your body. Looking down at an angle, slouching, overextending your wrists, and more can cause your body strain. If you don’t have your own, ask the coworking space if they have extra laptop stands, a mouse and a keyboard. Using these tools can work wonders for your posture and alleviate muscle cramps.

Many community leaders are aware of how to help you work comfortably and will do what they can to provide ergonomic workspaces.

Coliving and coworking for teams

In some cases, entire teams may want to live and work together. This is often true for startup teams who want to grow their company from a remote location.

There are plenty of advantages to living with the people you also work with. We’ve seen examples of this in the sitcom Silicon Valley and the real-life stories of Apple and Facebook’s beginnings. 

Sometimes, the best ideas are bred outside of designated office spaces. For example, a casual conversation over breakfast or sitting by the pool may prove more inspiring than what is discussed in a structured business meeting. 

Coliving and coworking companies, therefore, aim to provide not just a multitude of options for productive work environments, but also plenty of relaxed zones. This way, teams can easily and comfortably take micro-breaks throughout the day without needing to venture far from their working environment. 

These breaks improve your ability to concentrate and reduce stress. In traditional settings, a microbreak means getting up from your desk and going to the break room or out for a coffee. In coliving/coworking settings, this means walking from the coworking space outside to the pool and taking a mid-afternoon dip. You may find it’s easier to discuss work on a pool floatie than at a desk because of the calming effect it has on your body and mind. 

Some companies set up coworking/coliving spaces for teams incredibly well. 

InnTech in Hong Kong is an entrepreneur-focused space built to empower its residents. Their houses offer both private and shared room options, as well as plenty of communal spaces to relax and unwind in. They are unique in that they have a partnership with Work Tech Asia, a serviced coworking operation, in which their residents can utilize those facilities at a discounted rate. Members can rent individual hot desks, fixed or floating work tables, or private offices for a daily, weekly or monthly fee. InnTech also hosts many events to help its members make influential connections. These events range from BBQs to workshops to investor meetings. 

Entrepreneur Houses in Lisbon, Portugal, offers coworking and coliving for entrepreneurs. Each room in the house has been optimized to help its residents achieve the optimal balance of work and relaxation. Their in-house coworking space is 200 m2 complete with a long wooden table that seats 11. The room was designed by artists and architects as a high productivity environment, and the chairs are ergonomic for maximum comfort. The coworking space is completely free for members.

Outsite, which has locations around the world, is a coliving community built for people who want to work anywhere while living differently. They welcome entrepreneurs and remote workers who crave a free and flexible lifestyle in a space that promotes both relaxation and motivation. The Outsite community events are aimed at helping its members forge meaningful connections. As an additional perk, entire teams can rent an Outsite location to host a retreat. 

Mokrin House in Serbia is perfect for entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers looking to get out of the city and into the beautiful countryside. The house has a huge backyard where residents can relax on beanbags or play sports while surrounded by seas of green in every direction. As for productivity, each resident has access to their own big desk in a large, open coworking space. The house goes above and beyond to make their residents feel at home. Besides providing three homecooked, healthy meals every single day, they also organize workshops, educational seminars, movie nights and coffee breaks, to name a few. 

The new age of productivity

Coliving and coworking spaces are filled with self-motivated members who equally value the freedom of working remotely and the power of surrounding themselves with a motivated community.

The companies that offer blended coliving and coworking spaces understand the value of providing diverse environments that inspire an equal balance of work and play. But, how productive you are in a coworking/coliving space ultimately depends on your mindset. The tools are there for you, but it’s how you use them that really counts.

If you can master your time management, understand your ideal work environment, be open to trying new working schedules and stay mindful of your limits, you will thrive in this environment. 

Find your verified coliving and coworking space today on Coliving.com. 

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