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How Co-working Has Transformed My Productivity, Engagement & Meaning At Work



When I retired from teaching to start my own business in 2020, I discovered how lonely it can be when it’s just you running the show.


Maintaining focus, discipline and accountability can be a struggle and on those days where it all feels like too much, it is only with powerful reminders of your commitment, perseverance and determination that you can keep going.


I am fortunate to be part of a strong MAPPCP alumni community, who inspire, encourage and challenge me on a daily basis; whether by sharing their research, learning or experiences; or by collaborating on ideas and projects to bring positive psychology and coaching to a wider audience.


But the thing that has made the biggest difference to my mood, determination, engagement and productivity has been the weekly co-working sessions I have with two amazing friends in my little village.



Co-working spaces (AKA my dining room) provide the opportunity for like-minded people to come together for connection, support, motivation and focus; enabling people to manage their workload capacity better and work remotely, while also establishing a divide between work and home.


In fact, research suggests that when it comes to thriving, there is something special about co-working spaces. Many people who frequent them experience benefits shown to be significant indicators in personal happiness, motivation and satisfaction including:

  • Viewing their work as meaningful

  • Feeling like they have greater autonomy & control of their time and activities

  • Feeling connected to others through the co-working community

Alongside competence, these indicators contribute to Ryan & Deci's Self-Determination Theory (SDT) of human motivation and personality, fostering high quality forms of motivation and engagement for activities, including enhanced performance, persistence, and creativity.



But that's not all. Additional benefits experienced often include:

  • Being able to create a flexible more balanced work routine that supports both wellbeing and productivity

  • Increased productivity and engagement

  • More relaxed environment

  • Greater sense of identity

  • Increased enjoyment and connection with what you do, possible driven by explaining what you do to others more frequently

  • The opportunity to socialise more easily outside of your workplace

  • Working in an open space makes it easier to build support networks in which you can connect or ask for advice

  • Little direct competition and internal politics

  • Less pressure to put on a work persona to fit in at work

  • More sustainable option, with



Being able to work remotely and flexibly is becoming increasingly important to the workforce and could save organisations thousands in recruitment costs.


An article published recently by Forbes states that, "being a fully remote worker correlates to as much as a 13% decrease in the odds of quitting within three months of hire, saving businesses thousands of dollars per worker annually in turnover costs (roughly $84,000 per year in replacement and productivity costs, per technical worker)."



It doesn’t matter if you work in different industries - one of my co-working buddies works for a huge global organisation and the other is freelance - linking up with people from other industries can broaden your perspective and expand your network.


For us, what matters more is the connection of people determined to make the most of their time, encourage and motivate one another and hold each other accountable for their productivity, especially when we notice someone is flagging or distracted.


It is the part of my week that I look forward to the most and I can attest to experiencing much higher levels of engagement and productivity on our co-working days. I also get a powerful positive mood boost, which sustains me through the rest of the week and makes me feel even closer to my friends.


If you run your own business, work as a freelancer, or just work remotely, I strongly recommend you reach out to your friends & community. It is highly likely that there are other people in your local area who feel isolated, disconnected and unproductive at times. So set a time and a place to meet for co-working, or invite people over to yours. All you need is a comfortable space to work in and a decent Wi-Fi connection.


If you work in an office, think about creating opportunities to connect with your colleagues to support productivity and engagement. Maybe you could re-create the co-working space by organising a focused work session in a boardroom, or coming together for a break at a fixed time each day to connect and build relationships.


Whatever approach you decide to take, in my experience, connecting with and supporting other people is the key to unlocking enjoyment, productivity and meaning at work. So don't be shy, reach out and make time to experience the power of co-working for yourself.






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