“Co-working spaces” or “shared office spaces” are popping up everywhere. Growing in number even before the pandemic, they are now super popular as companies large and small endeavor to reduce their need for extensive amounts of real estate, recognizing that working from home has been ideal for many of their employees and trips to the office only need happen once in a while.
Shared office spaces provide a number of options. Most include individual offices as well as conference rooms and communal areas often known as “collaborative” spaces, used for teams of employees to come together and work in one place.
However, the idea of shared office space isn’t appealing to everyone. The main concern usually centers around whether it’s possible to stay productive in such a space and whether or not one can maintain their privacy when using a co-working space. Security becomes a concern as well…and rightfully so.
Co-working spaces are primarily designed for ease of use, but there are ways you can work successfully and with privacy in today’s shared office spaces. As experts in a variety of office settings, we at Total Vision Interiors offer the following tips.
We believe three elements should be present in a shared office space to make it more private:
- Suitable acoustics – Shared office spaces can be noisy. As a matter of fact, that’s the number one complaint from those who use them. There are a number of ways, however, that this problem can be addressed. One is by the use of materials that absorb sound, like soft chairs and sofas as well as carpet. Remember, hard surfaces will cause the sound to bounce off them whereas soft surfaces will do the opposite. Modular walls, which are instant and flexible, can also assist with the sound problems. Remember, most shared office spaces offer a variety of options, so if you’re having a hard time hearing or are bothered by the sound, seek out a more private space like a closed-in office and use headphones when on calls or online meetings.
- Visual concerns – When everyone can see you, which is often the case in a co-working or shared office space, you certainly don’t feel like you have any privacy at all. You imagine everyone is viewing your every move. As such, your productivity may suffer. To address this problem, start by moving your furniture around a bit – if you’re permitted to do so – so that your desk and chair face away from the crowd. If you can’t make that change, consider the use of some sort of privacy screen or other blocker. Your co-working space, if it’s like most, may have some portable walls available that can be moved around and placed in front of or around your desk, either permanently or for days where privacy is really important to you.
- Enough space for each worker – One of the other concerns about shared office spaces is that there isn’t a lot of room between desks. That’s often the case in a lot of co-working places, and the visual and acoustic concerns figure into this as well. Another problem with being close together is that it continues to be a health concern these days as more and more people return to working outside of their home but Covid still lingers. The average co-working space is about 13 square meters/140 square feet, which is pretty small. Nonetheless, the best way to stay safe in such a compact space is, again, to consider some sort of simple divider that serves to stop the spread of germs. Glass or modular walls could do the trick and many co-working spaces are recognizing the advantages of purchasing such dividers.
Shared office spaces are here to stay and many individuals who require an office for just a portion of their work week find them very useful. Owners of co-working spaces are becoming more and more adept at making their spots more amenable to those seeking an inexpensive option to a “regular” office by including modular options and other temporary walls like those available at Total Vision Interiors.
If you are organizing a shared office space or would like to make some changes and additions to your current space, we have plenty of ideas for you. Call us at 604-209-9762 for a free consultation.