The joy of coworking

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of coworking. I started working in a shared office after getting a bit depressed working from home and immediately fell in love with my Brighton shared office. I loved the company of other people, the stimulation of being around creative people and the support I received from fellow freelancers. When I arrived in Leeds, I rented space in a shared office but didn’t like it. I was most of the time on my own and I just didn’t feel like I was working well there. Then I found another coworking space in Leeds at the Old Broadcasting House, a busy, buzzy shared office, which suits me perfectly. It’s different from the one in Brighton: it’s made up of lots of hotdesks, each equipped with a state of the art Mac and a 30” cinema screen. Best of all: the wii that anyone can access for a quality break between two deadlines. It’s perfect and I’m happy at work again.
I’ve always had the feeling that I work better in a shared office, and I found information on the Internet that explains that it might be due to physiology and personality types. Basically, we all need to be in a moderate state of arousal (the physiological and psychological state of being awake) to perform at our best, but the level of arousal we need depends on our personality type. Introverts are highly aroused and take in much more information than the average person, so they need to "turn down" the stimulation around them and so will seek quiet environments to work in. On the other hand, extraverts are minimally aroused and so need to increase the volume of stimulation around them to function at their best: they will thrive in a lively environment.
I consider myself an extravert and this would explain why I feel like I work best in busy environments. If you’re an introvert, you’ll likely be very productive working from home, but if you’re an extravert like me, I suggest you find yourself a nice rowdy office to work in. It has done me the world of good.
The effect of extraversion on L2 oral proficiency
The physiology of type: introversion and extraversion

By | 2016-10-18T15:49:20+00:00 December 5th, 2008|Freelance Translation|5 Comments

About the Author:

I am Céline Graciet, a freelance English to French translator. Since 2003 I’ve been writing on all sorts of areas linked to translation and the life of a translator.


  1. Corinne McKay December 5, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Great post! I think you’re right on that your ideal work environment has a lot to do with your personality. I’m an only child and I have an only child, which I think contributes to the fact that although I’m not an extreme introvert, I really like a quiet, non-chaotic work environment. I think another twist to the issue is those of us who work from home with our spouses; my husband and I don’t actually work together but we share an office, which has its ups and downs. “How was your day?” is kind of an irrelevant question when you were 3 feet apart for most of it; I think coworking (which will hopefully become more popular in the US!) is a really interesting option.

  2. céline December 6, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Well, I think I might be more tempted to stay at home if I had a treadmill desk… Whether you’re an introvert/extravert, I think one of the great perks of being freelance is that we’re not stuck with one work environment: cafés, local library, home, shared office, we can work (more or less efficiently) in lots of different places, which I think is a real bonus.

  3. Marc Glinert December 8, 2008 at 11:59 am

    …but on the other hand, try translating a highly technical piece requiring maximum powers of concentration with 2 telephone conversations (neither of them work-related) and 1 face-to-face briefing taking place in the same office.
    For this is my daily situation ‘on the other side of the fence’. (I am an in-house translator at a large financial services group).
    Give me peace and quiet any day!

  4. céline December 8, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Lol. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. The lovely sound experimenter behind me is working on a new piece with his headphones on and is quietly humming to himself without realising he’s doing it. Bless.
    The office rarely gets too rowdy; people are aware that we’re sharing a working space and are generally very respectful of one another. If it does get too much however, I always have the option of taking refuge at home.

  5. Silvia January 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Hey there!!
    I only discovered your blog few days ago and find it super!! I am only starting my translating career, and still don’t know if I am good enough for it, but I want to thank you for the coworking tip!!! I get very depressed if I stay at home all day, and will look into coworking if I decide one day to do it full-time.
    Thanks again, and keep up with the good work!!!

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