How to make a coworking space your own according to the founders of General Assembly

General Assembly Founders Personalize Their Coworking Space

As the number of startups, freelancers, and solo-entrepreneurs increases, coworking spaces have never been more in demand. These community-oriented work spaces offer a range of amenities — from free wifi and coffee to networking events with popular speakers.

Designing A Coworking Space To Fit Your Needs

Despite countless perks, little privacy and a revolving cast of neighbors may inhibit your ability to settle into the space. But don’t fret! Follow these simple tips from General Assembly co-founders Brad Hargreaves and Matt Brimer and your coworking space will feel like home in no time.

Get involved in the community

“It’s all about the people! Decorations and furniture are nice, but it’s really about the community around you in the space. If you make an effort to get to know everyone around you—personally as well as professionally—it’ll feel like home and you’ll get way more value out of any coworking environment. Otherwise even the cushiest space will feel like a cube farm.” – Brad Hargreaves

One of the many benefits of working in a shared space is the intrinsic spirit of community that comes with a diverse set of entrepreneurs working in close proximity. Coworking spaces like WeWork often host classes, happy hours, and special networking events to give members an opportunity to mingle; sharing upcoming projects, past setbacks, and current successes.

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But you’ll never feel at home if you don’t participate. Feeling comfortable is all about getting to know your neighbors, and contributing to the flow of creative energy.

You might also want to consider hosting an event. This could be a great way to introduce yourself (or your company) and get to know your neighbors. Try collaborating with your coworking space to host a Meetup, fitness event, or happy hour.

Be design-conscious

“Don’t even think about fluorescent lights. Stick with halogens and incandescents, which provide a less sterile light spectrum. More natural light is always better. Plants are important too — give the space some green life and everyone benefits.”

Unlike traditional office spaces, many coworking facilities put a unique focus on lighting, furniture, layout, and design. This certainly facilitates hard work and inspiration, and with a few additions, it’s easy to give the space a personal touch.

1. Indulge your inner green thumb

Introducing plants into a workspace has been proven to increase cognitive function and productivity. Ruth K. Raanaas of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, says office plants may be a simple, cost-effective way to keep workers satisfied and focused. “Most people spend a large proportion of their life at work,” Raanaas says, “so even small effects may have great practical significance when aggregated over employees and time of employment.”

2. Introduce some color

Certain colors have been proven to have specific psychological effects (yes, color psychology is a thing). For instance, both green and blue have been shown to enhance performance on tasks that require generating new ideas. However, red has been linked with better performance on tasks involving attention to detail. Do you need to get creative, or crunch the numbers? Decorate your space (if only your desk) with colors that will help you get the job done.

3. Keep your space clutter-free

This one’s a no-brainer. A messy work space makes for an unhappy and unfocused work day. Keep your area organized–if not for yourself, for the people around you. Clutter has been proven to cause stress for everyone involved; including those who have to look at your mess.

Switch it up

“A coworking space should feel inspired (and inspiring)…the trick is to create a space and a vibe that can feel both energizing and calming at different times.” – Matt Brimer

One of the best parts of working in a shared space is your ability to choose your work environment. Many coworking spaces are designed with different “vibes” in mind–from communal tables and lounges, to hidden corners and conference rooms.

Don’t be afraid to explore the space, and try out which area makes you feel most comfortable. If you’re having a hard time concentrating at your desk, head over to a couch or communal table. There’s likely an area that will make you feel right at home.

Tell us, how do you make your coworking space work for you?

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