Deep work. The term gained some popularity in 2016 due to Cal Newport’s book, “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.” It means undivided attention. It’s the kind of uninterrupted immersion in a task or project that workers need to maximize their potential. Other benefits of deep work include reduced stress and anxiety; increased job satisfaction; heightened creativity and problem-solving; and a greater sense of personal fulfillment.
Many coworking spaces are designed with deep work in mind. According to DeskOffices.com, “Most modern coworking spaces offer a hybrid of open-concept workspace with private offices that creates a work environment where both deep work and serendipity prosper.” The elements and amenities they provide, along with key attitudes adopted by coworkers, can make the environment a perfect place for engaging in highly focused, no-distraction endeavors.
Shared workspace features that promote concentration include the following:
Quiet zones. While coworking spaces are known for their collaborative, supportive, and social atmosphere, they understand the need for designated areas to which people can retreat for deep work. Therefore, most have available private offices and conference rooms or quiet corners—equipped with comfortable seating, dim lighting, and a peaceful ambiance. Some coworking spaces even provide soundproof booths.
Noise control measures. Soundproof partitions, acoustic panels, white noise machines, effective space planning (separating quiet zones from social areas), and sound-absorbing floor and furnishing materials are all methods that coworking spaces use to minimize distractions and enhance concentration. The extent and combination of soundproofing measures taken by coworking spaces will vary; most, however, would probably acknowledge that excessive noise can cause stress and inefficiency—huge deep work detractors. They also often seek feedback from their community members on ways to better support deep work with noise management.
Community Guidelines. It’s in everybody’s best interest to work well alongside each other. Therefore, coworking spaces develop guidelines or codes of conduct. Many of these protocols relate to noise levels and respecting privacy; some pertain to phone etiquette, conversations, gatherings, and events; a few may mention food smells, foul language, e-cigarettes, and vaping. They’re all meant to help reduce distractions (whatever the source), hold coworkers accountable for their behavior, and maintain a quiet, respectful, productive atmosphere. The fewer the distractions, the more deep work can be accomplished.
Amenities. High-speed internet, ergonomic furniture, natural lighting, lounges, copiers, printers, cafés, wellness facilities—they can all support deep work by providing the resources that enhance focus and concentration. Coworking spaces all offer different and, in some cases, a wide-range of such services and infrastructure.
A certain mindset and strategies adopted by coworkers are integral to deep work, as well.
Some of the most important attitudes and behaviors to embrace are the following:
- Intentional focus (get immersed in the task and commit to reducing distractions)
- Self-discipline (adhere to a structured work routine)
- Resilience (recognize that deep work requires effort and there may be setbacks)
- Time management (stick to blocks of time set aside specifically for deep work)
- Flexibility (be open to discovering what specific areas and times lead to peak productivity)
- Mindfulness (practice techniques that heighten concentration and manage distractions)
It’s equally important to be respectful of the needs of other coworkers. Be very aware of their own quiet zones, avoid loud conversations (on or off the phone), don’t engage in disruptive activities, and always remember it’s a professional environment first and foremost.
With information overload, a complexity of tasks, abundant distractions, and a highly competitive world, deep work is harder than ever to achieve. Perhaps it’s never been more important. Along with professional success, deep work also promotes personal well-being and satisfaction. Finding the right coworking space and adopting the right mental outlook might not guarantee the ability to perform deep work, but they provide a very good chance of doing so.