The Guild offers coworkers more than just a place to work. We offer a supportive community of professionals that lift each other up and encourage success. When you work alone, either remotely for a company or as a freelancer, it can get a bit lonely. It’s exciting to be able to share news and successes with your coworkers. But sometimes our coworkers can be a little distracting, especially when you’re working on a deadline or something that challenges your brain’s processing power.
Here are some strategies that will help you to focus on your work and make coworking enjoyable for everyone:
- Wear headphones. Sometimes the obvious solution is the one that’s most effective. Bring headphones or earbuds to work. Your employer may even be willing to cover the cost for noise cancelling devices or you can write it off as a business expense!
- Post a busy signal. If your coworking space doesn’t have a system in place yet, create your own version of a do-not-disturb sign. It could be your headphones or a sign that you can place on top of your computer.
- Lower your voice. When one coworker starts talking louder, there’s a tendency for the rest of the room to follow. Monitor yourself throughout the day to be sure you’re using your indoor voice, especially when you’re on the phone.
- Accept interruptions. Changing the way you think about interruptions helps too. Try to let go of anxiety and frustration.
- Gather your thoughts. At the same time, distractions have a real cost. One famous study found that it takes 23 minutes to get back on track. You may be able to speed up that process by taking a moment to assess your activities and plan your next moves.
- Avoid rush hours. Certain times during the week are quieter in a coworking space than others. (Hint, it’s usually Fridays) These are perfect times to get work done.
- Book a conference room. The Guild offers the consulting room to members to use free of charge up to 8 hours a month. You might be able to use an empty meeting room or office where you can close a door.
- Send a message. Instant messaging apps let you carry on some conversations silently. If you need to talk face to face, consider going somewhere out of earshot.
- Batch communications. If you are overwhelmed by emails and voice messages, try cutting back on the frequency. Keep a running list of subjects you need to discuss and address them all in one or two daily communications.
- Shield your eyes. Visual noise counts too when you’re sidetracked by watching what your office neighbors are doing. Limit your line of sight with oversized plants, privacy screens, and curved computer monitors.
- Relocate. Printers or the kitchen area are hot spots and usually distracting. Try to position yourself away from noisy equipment or popular areas of the office.