Before the pandemic, I would often work from a coffee shop. I enjoyed low hums and little buzzings from studying students. Plus, being ‘stuck’ in one place did wonders for my actual productivity. When I was traveling for work, I would buy day passes to nearby co-working spaces, just to be surrounded by the other creatives and working people consumed with their projects. I feed off this kind of minimal social energy.
However, when the world paused for a year, this was no longer an option. I was glued to my home office, and the little corners I’d carve into random spaces of the house just because they reminded me of a day surrounded by busy creatives looking for business resources and shelter from the city bustle. Things had changed, I just hadn’t adapted very well.
We suddenly asked what the future of co-working would look like in a post-COVID world. The world shut down, but work didn’t seize for some of us. While we did everything at home, well-recognized co-working spaces like WeWork and The Wing immediately struggled and were rendered almost useless to a once-loyal following.
Some important numbers to note:
- According to Go Remotely, women account for 44 percent of the global co-working workforce
- 92 percent of people in co-working spaces are satisfied with their work
- 68 percent of people who use shared study spaces can better focus on their assignments
- The biggest and most common issue was dealing with distractions, according to another study by Udemy
There are many positive benefits to virtual co-working, even for a severe introvert like me. I thrive when I’m left on my own, but I still crave comforting social cues that I once took completely for granted. At least we learned that we could technically work from just about anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection.
The Real Thing
I kid you not, as I wrote this, my boss reached out to me via Slack so we could schedule our own team virtual co-working session. Our small team is spread out all over the U.S., so scheduling a few hours of time to work together to work through a video call is a small, but necessary step to building a team presence and spending essential time with my remote co-workers.
If you’re new to this, start small by scheduling an hour-long (or more) video call with a co-worker. No need to even interact much, just keep your video or audio on while you work the designated hour as side-by-side as a video meeting can get. There is also the option of finding a virtual accountability buddy who can help you stay on track.
Take it up a level by using Gather, the most adorable and accurate way to take your team into a virtual office and unleash their team skills. You can customize your avatar, and even your virtual office; work in space, or in a cozy study room with your team for a brainstorming session.
Try looking for virtual co-working requests on LinkedIn or in Facebook Groups with other participating creatives. You can always create your own request as well to build a steady and comfortable virtual co-working group.
How To Fake It
I have a difficult time working in silence, so I definitely benefit from a little noise. One thing I used to enjoy pre-COVID was the casual noise and bustle of my local coffee shop. Or if I’m writing, I especially love the noise of rain or a ravenous ocean. A podcast or study playlist just won’t make the cut, but you can’t exactly run out and travel to your favorite productive noises.
For moments like this, I’ve turned to Noisili. You can become a mix-master of your favorite worldly sounds, and mix and match them to create supreme soundscapes to your very detailed liking. If you want to feel like you’re in a cafe again, then I Miss My Cafe is a very safe bet. You can enjoy a barista-approved playlist, or create a soundscape of your perfect day at the cafe with the interactive sound controls on different coffee shop noise elements like customer conversation, machinery and even barista comments.
featured + main image via our previous post on Growing Your Career While Working From Home.