“The office is in inverted commas now, because it’s what you make it. I can contact whoever I want from anywhere, and find out whatever I need.”
When considering what makes a more productive, creative and connected work environment, there is no doubt that the flexibility of stepping outside your home office – out of isolation – can be an attractive prospect. There are lots of reasons why shared workspaces are fast becoming a popular choice amongst consultants, freelancers and remote workers – but for many, it boils down to just one thing – happiness. When considering what could make you more, productive, creative and connected should you not be prioritising simply where you’re most happy?
“If I work harder, I’ll be more successful” Shawn Anchor
I watched a Ted Talk recently by Shawn Anchor, he is an author, (comical) speaker and a happiness researcher. He said that companies and people have a belief that if we work harder, we’ll be more successful. And if we’re successful, then we’ll be happier. So, to reach the penultimate goal of living a happy life we could start by finding a place that makes us happier. Success and happiness come hand in hand.
For many, the birthplace of a new business was the home office, spare room or kitchen table. Some business owners continue to be happy working in solitude, in the comfort of their own homes. It simply works for them.
For others, a change of environment offers a change of pace. As an entrepreneur, remote worker or freelancer working for yourself doesn’t have to equal working alone. Seeking to share experiences, values and your new-found independence can come with the desire to step into a new workspace.
It’s more than just your office
The landscape of offices is changing and when looking for the place you want to base your business it’s worth remembering where you work is also where you spend your time. When you walk into a new workspace don’t just evaluate the features, consider the benefits. Will that kitchen area be ok for preparing lunch or will it be ideal for sharing a coffee with your new co-worker. Are the event rooms impressive in size, or is it the Thursday night yoga class in there that will mean more to you.
Find a place where you can spend time with like-minded people and where you can see yourself being happy. I truly believe that if you are happy, your business will be set to succeed.
What gets you motivated?
Dan Ariely starred in one of my morning Ted Talk videos. He talks about what makes us feel good at work and what these key motivations look like. He highlights that often we, and the people we work for consider money to be a key motivator.
It’s safe to say that for today’s entrepreneur, the status of being self-employed rarely comes with an increase in pay. Most of the people I asked said that they took the plunge as they wanted greater autonomy and greater flexibility. Being employed by someone else didn’t give them an opportunity to achieve this and certain instances it made them unhappy. Many voiced that even though working for themselves would welcome added stress and an initial decrease in salary the benefits were greater. They feel more engaged in their work and that’s what makes them happy.
In studies Dan carried out, meaning, creation, challenge, ownership, identity and pride all contributed to productivity, happiness and inevitably success. Sharing success can’t fill you with pride if there’s no one there to share it with (cats don’t count).
Feel motivated in a place that brings you happiness
I asked the members of Workplace why they joined our shared working space and why they would recommend it to others.
From gaining a sense of belonging to starting a new routine, they had a lot to share:
“I feel pride to show my clients, future employees, and friends what “my office” looks like.”
“I feel as if someone cares about me which is hard when you first go it alone. At Workplace, I am greeted with a friendly hello as I walk through the door. This gives me the sense of belonging I lost when I stepped out of full time employment.”
“I have managed to solve issues by chatting to other members who have a similar mindset to me. I am also motivated by returning the favour to the people I share this space with.”
“Working in a shared workspace had helped me stick to a routine which I could easily have lost if I didn’t have a definite place to work. Workplace has helped me to really focus on what I am doing.”
“Although we are a collective of people all doing different work, I feel like I do have colleagues and I look forward to meeting up with them. I often spend more time here than I need to because I enjoy the environment.”
So when choosing where to set up your work environment for ultimate productivity and success - find a space that makes you happy. The rest will follow.