Coworking Spaces and the Psychology of Body Doubling for Focus
Remote work is pretty awesome. There’s no commute, your pet is there, and it can be the ultimate in comfort when you get to choose your work attire. But ever notice how all of that comfort starts feeling a bit like you just no longer take care of yourself most days because you have no reason to get cleaned up and look decent? Perhaps the neighbors are having some noisy work done on their house. You might have the kids at home with you all the time. Or maybe you’re just not getting as much done as you once did.
If you’ve gotten a little too comfortable at home, (hello, spontaneous naps, phone scrolling, and TV watching just because you can) you could stand to feel more like the professional you are, and you need better focus, you might try coworking a few days a week. There’s psychology behind having other people around you who are focused on their work too.
What are Coworking Spaces and Who Uses Them?
Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular with the uptick of freelance and remote work. These shared office spaces provide a sense of community and collaboration, as well as a professional environment for people to work in that include a lot of the basics you’d find in an office. Professionals of all kinds who don’t have a typical office to work from go there to work independently or gather to work in a group.
One benefit of coworking spaces is that they can provide a sense of structure and routine for freelancers. Working from home can be a double-edged sword as it allows for flexibility but as we well know, that can also lead to a lack of structure and discipline. Coworking spaces provide a designated place for work, which can help to establish a routine and create a better work-life balance.
The Psychology of “Body Doubling”
One lesser-known aspect of coworking spaces is the concept of "body doubling," which refers to the idea that people are more productive when they are working in the presence of others.
The psychology behind body doubling is rooted in the idea that humans are social creatures, and we are wired to be more productive when we are in the presence of others. This is because we are more likely to be motivated by the actions of those around us, and we are more likely to hold ourselves accountable for our own productivity when we are surrounded by others who are working. Without the distractions can lead to increased creativity and productivity.
Body doubling can also help to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness that can come with freelancing and remote work. Freelancers often work alone, and this can lead to feeling disconnected. Coworking spaces provide a sense of community and belonging, which can help make freelancers feel more connected to others.
Virtual Coworking Platforms
But if you want all of the productivity and focus benefits without leaving home, you can co-work virtually with body doubling platforms like FocusMate.com and Flown.com. While Flown is geared towards mindfulness and getting you into a flow state, FocusMate simply allows you to schedule a time with a stranger. You log in at your scheduled time, say hello, share what you’re working on if you wish, get to work, and enjoy your new-found productivity.
While the idea of body doubling might sound odd at first, it is definitely worth a try if your productivity has gone downhill. The sense of structure and routine provided by coworking spaces can help freelancers work more efficiently and overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness. And rest assured, after your first or second coworking sesh, it will seem natural.