Member Payal Mohta works as a tech & business freelance content writer, while her podcast Love Beyond Anxiety, navigates mental health and relationships. She has found her professional oasis in the corner table in the Gallery where she sits undisturbed. It’s where her writer's brain churns its best work, assisted by the Ministry cafe’s iconic ice tea and conversations with fellow creatives.
We asked Payal to be a guest editor for our Blog and the newsletters we send out on a monthly basis. We think this first article definitely hit the spot! Read on and find out; did you get stuck in the wrong coworking space?
While on a recent work video call, one of my clients was particularly surprised that I work out of the Ministry Of New (MoN) every day.
I told him how my coworking space was a second home for me. While he confessed to “avoiding” the coworking space where he’d signed up for a one-year membership.
Apparently, they didn’t have a shorter commitment period, so now he felt trapped. Like one can in a gym membership.
“They [the said coworking space] have too many rules,” he went on. “It’s so annoying.”
“Oh, like what?” I asked.
My client said he felt he couldn’t take spontaneous work calls (90% of his workday) from any spot in the space. He also felt the internal pressure to dress more “formally” and “constantly” chat with co-workers who wouldn’t leave him alone.
I was befuddled.
Better mental health, increased income, improved work quality, and greater collaboration are reportedly some of the biggest benefits of coworking. I’ve personally experienced these benefits, but that’s because I chose the right coworking space for myself. While for my client even losing money was not pursuing him to leave his bed desk.
We wouldn’t want you to find yourself in the same spot. So here are 3 signs you’re in the WRONG coworking space and you need to find another one asap!
1. You don’t feel a sense of community
While most of us join a coworking space to get things done, we stay for the community. Modern flexible working is a boon but not if you’re always doing it alone. If even after spending a few weeks at your coworking space you cannot make a few personal or professional connections, it’s time to change desks elsewhere.
Maybe the culture of your office is too formal to strike up a friendly chat with your co-workers. Or there are hardly any group-bonding activities? If you don’t feel connected to the space and people around you, you’re missing out on the foundation of great coworking culture – belonging to a community.
Your coworking space does not have to be a social soirée. But human beings are social creatures and our need to belong is far greater than the need to hustle. For solo workers, a sense of belonging is what will bring a continuous flow of motivation, passion, and spark to our work.
I don’t come to MoN just for a desk, the WiFi, or their free, freshly brewed coffee.
I’m here for the warm smiles in the morning, for intellectually stimulating conversations, and for forming meaningful life-long friendships.
2. You’re not productive
The purpose of coworking is very much to get shit done.
Is your office too noisy for you? Or way too quiet for you to tick off a considerable amount of your task list? Are you always struggling to find the right spot for your team calls?
Maybe there are too many social activities at your coworking space you’re being aggressively encouraged to join. Or are the dull cubicles (sorry, I hate them!) making you severely depressed?
Whatever the case might be, if you’re unproductive at your coworking place, it's time to look for an alternative.
Thankfully at MoN, there are multiple spots to choose from according to your mood and needs. When my writer’s brain wants silence you'll find me in the Gallery with sunlight pouring through the French windows and snacks spread across my wide desk.
For client calls I book a slot in the dedicated Zoom Room. For a taste of human chatter, I head to the Library, and I can be found on the ‘black couch’ when I need a quick snooze. Ahem, even science says that post-nap work streaks are super productive!
Bottom line, there is a coworking place of your dreams, where all your work will get done. You just need to find it.
3. You’re always looking for a “change"
Are you constantly looking for the next bourgie coffee shop to set your desk for the day? While ditching the one you paid for at your coworking office?
Or you’re hoping for an invitation from your friend to work at their swanky office instead?
Better yet, you’ve decided that working from your bed might be a good change of scene after all?
Your constant need for “change” from your coworking space is bad news. It shouldn’t be your toxic ex you need to avoid, but your stable spouse you want to come home to every day.
After coworking for the past three years and have tried multiple locations in Mumbai, I know the right coworking space is precious. It's a space whose predictability and routine are cherished. A place you brag about to friends and family. A place without which (like me) you grow distressingly dysfunctional.
Anything less than that, means you’re still looking for your coworking soul space.
See you soon?
PS // Payal has been using our Time Traveller membership. Perfect for her freelance writer’s life that needs the routine of a desk for writing, fellow creatives to lean on, and as well as the spontaneity to travel for her workcations!