How to Use Virtual Coworking to Increase Your Productivity
Struggling with working from home? Virtual coworking could be the perfect solution for you.
If you found yourself working from home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. Millions of people who only knew one way to work (by physically going into the office) found their lives turned upside down with this new arrangement. Though working from home has a ton of benefits, it also comes with challenges too. Many people who work from home struggle with the following:
- Staying on task
- Getting started with work assignments
- Focusing on difficult work assignments
- Feeling unmotivated to work
- Finishing work assignments
- Getting distracted by things around the house
- Feeling socially isolated
In an effort to combat the difficulties that come with working remotely, the concept of virtual coworking was born.
What is Virtual Coworking?
At its core, virtual coworking (similar to body doubling) is the act of people working together in a shared, virtual workspace. Through software like Melon, people can come together in real time and connect through their webcams and microphones. There are many different ways you can structure your virtual coworking environment, from collaborative to social and everywhere in between. Today we’ll cover how to use virtual coworking to increase your productivity through deep work.
What Is Deep Work?
Deep work is a term coined by productivity expert Cal Newport in his book "Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World." It refers to the ability to focus intensely on a cognitively demanding task without distractions. The goal of deep work is to produce high-quality work in less time, by minimizing interruptions and maximizing concentration.
Unfortunately, not only is deep work difficult to achieve in today’s bustling society, it’s even harder for those who work from home. At the office, things like coworkers, bosses, and customers provide accountability and help workers stay on task. At home, things like the laundry, your kids or pets, and even your TV are all vying for your attention. Thankfully, participating in virtual coworking can help you stay on task, stay accountable, and increase your motivation and productivity.
Getting Started with Virtual Coworking
Decide Who You’ll Work With
The most important ingredient to virtual coworking is, of course, other people you can work alongside. Though you can get started with just yourself and one other person, it’s a good idea to find a small group (in case one of you can’t join for whatever reason). People who work for the same company or those who are in the same line of work (writers, researchers, creatives, etc.) are great choices. However, you can virtually work with just about anyone, regardless of their profession.
Choose Your Software
The second most important ingredient to virtual coworking is software that allows you to video chat with people from around the world. Today we’ll show you how to use Melon, a free broadcasting and recording software that’s perfect for virtual coworking.
Decide How Often You’ll Hold Coworking Sessions
How many virtual coworking sessions you’ll require in a given day or week will depend on your job, so keep that in mind when planning your sessions. You can also decide if you want to have open sessions for people to drop in whenever it’s convenient for them. We recommend having sessions that last 45 minutes to one hour, with a few minutes at the start and end of each session reserved for activities.
How to Achieve Deep Work Through Virtual Coworking
Just having other people working alongside you is a game changer. However, we recommend giving your sessions some structure to really maximize the benefits that come with virtual coworking.
- Have everyone set their intentions at the start of the session. What are you working on? What do you plan to accomplish in this session?
- Attach a link to a Spotify playlist or YouTube ambience video to help encourage focus.
- Advise everyone to put their phones on silent, close unrelated tabs, and remove any other distractions from their space.
- Have your coworkers mute their mics but make sure everyone keeps their cameras on for accountability and motivation.
- After 45 to 50 minutes, have everyone pause for bio breaks and stretching. You can play a short game or pose a discussion question.
- Repeat steps 1 through 5 until everyone has completed their coworking for the day.
- Share what you were able to accomplish and any other words of encouragement.
How to Start a Virtual Coworking Session with Melon
From your Melon Studio page, click Add Guest, then copy the link from the popup window and paste it in a DM or email to your coworker(s).
Melon is free for up to two participants. If you upgrade to Melon Standard for $9 USD per month, you can host up to six participants. Melon Pro allows you to host 12 people in total for $17 USD per month. Finally, a Streamlabs Ultra subscription will grant you a Melon Pro membership as well as premium memberships with the entire Streamlabs creator suite of tools for $19 USD per month.
If you struggle with staying focused and motivated while working from home, virtual coworking may be the perfect solution. In addition to providing accountability and motivation, virtual coworking can help you achieve “deep work,” a state of deep concentration that allows you to perform quality work in a short amount of time. Melon is a free, browser-based tool that’s perfect for your virtual coworking sessions. Are you ready to get started with virtual coworking? Go to your Melon Studio page to start your first session!