Feeling like you’re putting in the hours but not getting the outcome you were hoping for? This is where a coworking space comes in. You see, while there can be many reasons for this, one of the most overlooked reasons is the type of work environment you’re currently using.
With a rapid rise in the number of professionals and students working remotely since the Covid-19 pandemic, not everyone’s productivity is benefiting from new ways of working. Any change to your work process can significantly impact your output, even for those adapting to hybrid working models.
But how can you tell if your work environment is what’s hindering your ability to work to your full potential?
Because other reasons such as a lack of motivation or even burnout could be to blame, we’re here to help you spot when it’s time to try out a coworking space and see if that improves your workflow.
Even though everyone from students to those in the business world have already discovered the benefits of coworking spaces — it’s always best to see for yourself the difference they can make to your life!
Let’s get started.
1. You’re having difficulty focusing on your work
On paper, working from home sounds great. You get to roll out of bed with no commute to worry about. Plus, there’s everything you need (including your favourite coffee!) right at your fingertips.
However, the main benefits of working from home can also pose the biggest challenges. With your home offering more distractions than a traditional office space, it can be difficult to maintain focus.
This is why even though there are several reasons to use a coworking space, one of the most popular ones is to increase productivity. Really, the fresh coffee and meaningful connections are just an added bonus!).
Some of the biggest distractions posed by home working include:
- Family, roommates, and neighbours
- Technology, e.g. TV and tablets
- Social media
- Housework or ‘life admin’ tasks
If you’re a procrastinator by nature, your list of distractions could be endless. This is why it’s important to identify what distracts you the most and focus on ways to remove these distractions from your work day.
2. You struggle with accountability
Working in an environment where your boss is present makes accountability a natural part of your job. Even though most bosses would like to think that their employees work well independently, management structures exist for a reason.
If you’re working ineffectively, it’s more likely to be noticed in an office setting. As an office worker, you’re often more motivated to keep on top of your processes and manage your tasks more effectively.
Accountability in your job can be even more difficult to achieve from home if you are your own boss. Without the presence of other people, or the incentive to achieve your goals within a working day, it’s easy to fall into bad habits.
With that, it’s fair to say that accountability can be a challenging aspect of working life for remote workers to get right. From letting certain tasks slide to not following correct procedures, working independently requires a lot of self-discipline.
However, accountability and overall responsibility for your job can still be maintained when working independently. It’s just a case of finding new ways to ensure you still push yourself to perform in the way you were hired to.
As well as reevaluating your work setting and improving your self-discipline, ask yourself:
- Could you benefit from more regular check-ins from your boss and teams when you’re not in the office?
- Is working from home causing you to feel overwhelmed in your role?
- Are you lacking passion for your job and could benefit from better collaboration?
- Are you avoiding meetings that involve discussing your development as an employee because you know you’re not working as effectively as usual?
3. You’re unable to separate your home and work life
One of the biggest issues people working from home face is the inability to separate home and work life. When you’re working in an office, it’s easier to turn off your computer, jump in the car, and leave work in your rearview mirror.
However, switching off from work tasks can be incredibly difficult when you work from home. Without that separation between your work and home environments, it’s easy for your brain to struggle with the switch from ‘work’ to ‘home’.
The same can be said for students. Alternating between ‘study mode’ and home life can be extremely challenging.
This is where boundaries need to come in. Setting yourself boundaries as a remote worker or student is essential for ensuring you don’t succumb to burnout or allow work to encroach on every aspect of your life.
We all need time off. So, if the lines between work and home life begin to blur — it’s definitely time to do something about it!
To help ensure your work tasks don’t spill into your home life, we suggest:
Having a separate workspace
Carrying out all work-related tasks in a space that’s completely separate from where you usually spend time in your home can really help create a work-life balance when you’re a remote worker or student.
However, while some people find it useful to confine work-related tasks to a certain room in their home, not everyone has the luxury of space. This is where renting a coworking space can be hugely beneficial.
Switch it off
This one might sound obvious. How many times have you just closed the lid on your work computer instead of shutting it down? Or, how about allowing email notifications to continue coming in after hours?
If you’re lucky enough to have a designated work computer or phone, switch them off completely in the evenings and place them somewhere you won’t easily reach for them.
Tip: If the technology you use is also used for recreational purposes, try using different browsers and turning off email notifications as part of your after-work ‘winding down’ routine.
Say “yes” to socializing and “no” to out-of-hours work
Due to the lack of commute and the ability to eat lunch at home, there’s a misconception that working from home means you have more free time to do what you enjoy. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
In fact, a report by Owl Labs (2021) found that 55% of respondents say they work more hours remotely than they do at the physical office. This is especially common among employees that struggle to switch off from work at the end of the day.
To avoid this? Ensure you’re setting aside time for social activities and rest. The more “free” time you have, the more likely you are to fill it with work tasks.
4. Your home isn’t giving off the right professional image
Even though more people than ever work from home, it’s still important to remember that your workspace is largely connected to your professional image. Even for small business owners, a lack of professionalism can still negatively affect your ability to network and form valuable relationships for the future.
Not only can the aesthetic of your home office interfere with this image, who you’re around and what infrastructure you have can also impact how clients view you or your business.
Ever had a virtual meeting with children running around in the background? As much as society has grown to embrace the ability to care for your children while working, it’s also vital to remember that this distraction wouldn’t be present in an office environment or a coworking space.
Therefore, evaluating which aspects of your home office might not be giving off the right professional vibes is always good. As understanding as peers and clients can be about certain distractions, if it’s happening all the time, they’re likely to choose someone else to work with.
Some other examples of home office features that can impede your professional image:
- Not using a desk
- Clutter in the background of virtual meetings (this can make you seem disorganized)
- A lack of stable internet connectivity and hardware
- Background noise
- Bad lighting
5. Your home lacks access to technological devices and infrastructure
Following on from the previous point, how many times have you been in a virtual meeting and the internet has lost connection? Even though it happens to us all (and is a perfectly normal part of working remotely), when it happens consistently, it can impair your ability to work effectively.
When working in an office, it’s more likely that you’ll have access to all the tools you need. From professional-grade headsets to ergonomic chairs, anything you’re lacking can be purchased at the request of your company.
Even though many companies with remote workers will offer to purchase anything you’re lacking at home, other companies will require a formal request to be made in writing. This often results in home workers making do with the resources they have. Rather having to wait long periods for the equipment they need, or just purchasing items with their own money.
Some overlooked features every remote office should have:
- Adequately-sized desks (that are also a suitable height for workers)
- Ergonomic chairs (that again, can be adapted to a suitable height)
- Sufficient lighting
- Equipment that is fit for purpose (e.g. microphones and noise-cancelling headphones)
- Private workspace for discussing sensitive work matters
6. You’re missing out on networking opportunities
One of the perks of working in an office, coworking space, or university is that you’re constantly exposed to a variety of people in your industry. As well as this, there will be more opportunities to expand your knowledge and collaborate on certain projects.
When working independently, these opportunities can be confined to online meetings or designated brainstorming sessions. However, the best ideas often come to us at random intervals — meaning the ability to bounce fresh ideas off someone isn’t always possible.
By surrounding yourself with like-minded people or observing how others work, it becomes possible to elevate your work ethic and boost your creative and critical thinking skills.
Some other benefits of working around people include:
- Ensures you don’t feel isolated
- Promotes innovation
- Improves your ability to work in teams
- Teaches you how to tune out external distractions
- Enhances your ability to collaborate
- Establishes a sense of accountability
7. You’re just not suited to working from home
In terms of flexible working models, the ability to work from home has been a huge game-changer for many working professionals worldwide. Evening out the playing field for those living in remote areas and those requiring extra flexibility due to health, lifestyle, or family reasons — career progression is now accessible to a much wider range of people.
That said, working from home definitely isn’t for everyone.
One of the biggest issues facing those who don’t enjoy working from home is that they’re generally in the minority. In fact, half of Canadian workers now say that working mostly or entirely remotely is their “ideal” working scenario. With flexible hours and working models now more important to Canadian workers than workplace culture, it’s easy to see how the needs of those opposed to remote work can be overlooked.
With this comes several issues for workers that thrive in office spaces. If everyone else in your company is okay with working from home, the likelihood of companies continuing to rent expensive commercial spaces is low.
This is why as someone who knows they work better in an office, it’s vital to find alternatives that work for you. Whether this involves a coworking space or private offices you can rent as needed, it’s essential to know when working from home isn’t the best option for you.
Tip: Even though it’s largely up to individual employees to acknowledge when working from work isn’t working out, it’s also essential to communicate this information to your employers (or if you work for yourself, to ensure you’re being honest with yourself!). Trust us, an employer would much rather know why you’re struggling to reach your full potential and be able to do something about it!
How Backbone Executive Offices can help
If you’re struggling to work effectively at home, luckily, there are other options available. At Backbone Coworking & Executive Offices in Abbotsford, we provide state-of-the-art coworking spaces and executive offices for those wanting to thrive in an office environment — without compromising on the flexibility of an alternative work environment.
With spaces that cater to both private and community needs, you can adapt your use of our coworking space to match your business or personal needs. Whether you’re a small business owner or someone looking to make cost savings on a private office, we offer everything a central location office does — with more flexible agreements.
As well as everything from networking events to built in business services our coworking facilities offer:
- Boardroom and meeting room rentals (with fully accessible wifi)
- Executive offices (including both the office essentials AND some additional extras!)
- A health & fitness studio
- A virtual golf simulator
- A media/podcast room
- Event space rental
From mailboxes to printing — we have every business need you could think of covered. The joy for us? We get to see people thrive!
With individual day passes and even private desk facilities, our membership packages also mean you’re not tied into any particular way of working. Unlike in a traditional office space, we enable you to pick and choose how you work.
The benefits of coworking spaces are clear, but why not book a tour of our space and see for yourself what Backbone Coworking has to offer? Whether you want to grow your network or scale your business in a setting you can really focus in, we have the perfect space for you.
Want a tour of the space?
Our community of go-getter entrepreneurs could use another one like you! Shoot us a message if you have any questions or want to book a showing.
Backbone Coworking & Executive Offices
104-32615 S Fraser Way
Abbotsford, BC, V2T 1X8