My first official experience with coworking was in 2010 and it turned out to be a test of whether I could survive in a coworking environment.
I was on deadline on my first day and expected to work into the night. I figured getting out of the home office would be good for productivity, so I joined Worbar Boston and hunkered down. Lo and behold, an AmeriCorps program was scheduled to host an alumni holiday party in the space that evening. A few of us still working after 5pm dutifully filed into a conference room to keep working. That’s us in the photo; just outside the door where the photographer was standing was where the AmeriCorps alums setup their impromptu bar.
Then, at 7pm, we had to move again, because another group had reserved the room for a conference call with colleagues in Asia. So I relocated into the open kitchen where noise from the party was omnipresent.
Here’s the thing: I had no problem focusing and I hit my deadline by about 9 or 10, roughly when I had expected. It was a coworking trial by fire to see if I could concentrate in a distracting environment that was pretty much the opposite of my home office. (I would call that an outlier in terms of distractions, in my years of coworking since then.) Turns out it worked fine for me. Oh, and the AmeriCorps group welcomed me to join them for a celebratory round when I was done.
I've been coworking since 2010. which has taught me a few things about making it work. I have a lot left to learn.