Written by Julia Hoyt, Community Coordinator at NextSpace Coworking Berkeley
This post is dedicated to the coworkers and coworking space operators out there who self-identify as:
- Extroverts seeking a productivity space that holds them accountable
- Introverts challenging themselves to spend more time with others
- Thriving persons with ADHD
- Anybody who wants the best of all worlds!
What is a “Quiet Table” and why is it a good idea for a coworking space?
The idea began with one of our dear NextSpacers, children’s book author Dorothy Hearst. She wanted to cowork and also create a brilliant, highly-focused productivity bubble. So, she typed up a crystal-clear message in a simple black & white text-only sign.
Members use this sign on the first floor of NextSpace Coworking Berkeley, where medium to low volume discussions are encouraged. Members self-elect an inviting quiet zone, shaping the communal workspace in a largely unobtrusive way.
The sign alerts coworkers on the first floor that when they see it on a given table, a welcoming and respectful high-productivity zone is expected.
I ran with the idea and zhoosed it up using a free Canva template, so that the signs would:
1) Stand out to NextSpace members, and
2) Continue to be inviting as well as commanding
Now, let’s get to the good stuff — the why and the how of this “Quiet Table” concept
Lily Bernheimer, cofounder and director of Space Works Consulting, and a member of NextSpace Coworking Berkeley, writes in her book The Shaping of Us: How Everyday Spaces Structure Our Lives that:
“Time and again, we find that fixating primarily on the details of physical design fails to produce successful spaces. Even the most exquisitely executed museum will encounter unforeseen usage patterns and challenges beyond the fantasy of the building as a perfect finished product.”
Of course, the idea to have a quiet space is not new, right? It may even sound a lot like being in your local public library and feeling compelled to be as quiet as possible. And, yes, some of our members prefer library-like silence. For members seeking a silent space, where talking is generally discouraged, they can work on our second floor which is a members-only area.
But the beauty of localizing this quiet space to a single table is that these members still have a finger on the pulse of the community, so to say. They still feel included in the buzz and the energy that drives our “NextSpace Effect.” That’s what NextSpace is about! Collaborative communities of awesome, innovative professionals. And innovative people are going to innovate. That’s what entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and virtual workers of all walks of life do.
Tapping into that innovative energy is part of what makes NextSpace appealing to coworkers in the first place. Cat Johnson, a beloved writer and creative extraordinaire in the coworking community and longtime NextSpace Santa Cruz member, reminds all of us of some good old-fashioned horse sense in her blog “Good News! Coworking is Making Us Smarter.”
Johnson writes: “Remember that old wisdom about being mindful of the company you keep? Turns out (like most old wisdom) that it’s true—in coworking and beyond.” I’m not going to rehash her wonderful piece here (go read it yourself!), but what Johnson is talking about is hard facts.
Johnson underscores the data collected from various institutions, like the American Psychological Association and Northwestern University, which clearly shows that the people we work near and with impact our individual productivity.
How does a little old “Quiet Table” hold up to that level of research and data?
It goes back to our members: they are innovative and collaborative. To me, this means flexible and inviting. That kind of energy is hard to find, and it’s something that the staff and community create together!
If you’d like to see what working at a “Quiet Table” can do for your productivity, sign up for a Day Pass and experience it for yourself.
About NextSpace, Enerspace and Pacific Workplaces
NextSpace and Enerspace are coworking spaces powered by Pacific Workplaces (PAC). PAC offers flexible offices and coworking spaces. Our locations include a wide-range of full and part-time furnished office spaces, virtual offices, mini-suites and coworking. We offer this in a collaborative environment with curated communities that maximize networking opportunities and serendipity. Members have access to meeting rooms, coworking areas, business lounges, VoIP telephone, answering services, IT and admin support, an online legal library, and preferential access to a network of nearly 1,000 touchdown locations worldwide, under a pay-per-need hosted model PAC refers to as Workplace-as-a-Service. Our brands facilitate meaningful connections through events and day-to-day networking that help our members build relationships with like-minded people. For more information, visit Pacific Workplaces.