By Marcy Kates, Coordinator of the Microenterprise Network of Michigan

There’s a trend out there, and it is taking hold around the country—shared (or co-working) spaces are springing up in communities large and small, and can range from a spare office rented to a newly launched business, to no-wall open spaces housing a variety of start-ups, through full-service incubators and more.  Co-working in all its forms can lead to creativity, innovation, and success—for extroverts AND introverts—if the physical space and environment is carefully selected.

For the extroverts among us, this is obviously great—plenty of colleagues off which to bounce ideas (or hacky sacks), debate business philosophy or to beta-test apps.  The  no-wall/open space model works great for those who work best with abundant noise and activity—to an extrovert, that may be the preferred “white noise.” For introverts, who gain energy and motivation from quiet calm, this type of uber-social concept might appear problematic, if not terrifying.

Fortunately, there are many co-working spaces available that feature individual offices for tenants, but then offer common lounge, conference and other areas so that individuals can tailor their levels of social interactions. Many have round-the-clock availability, so tenants can select the hours when they are most productive—and perhaps even when the noise level suits them best.

It takes time and research to seek out the right space, as well as serious self-reflection about our own work habits and preferences. However, just as tailoring education plans to individual learning styles increases success in students, the time spent finding the most appropriate space will pay off in the end. All the services and assistance in the world may not help the new entrepreneur if the environment is inconsistent with his/her personality type.

For additional reading, here are a couple of interesting articles on the topic.

www.newyorker.com/currency-tag/the-open-office-trap/
www.inc.com/ss/8-reasons-consider-coworking-space/
www.forbes.com/sites//lawtonnursrey/2014/02/25/what-coworking-can-really-do-for-you/

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