Paul Shirley founded a virtual co-working space to support businesses re-training their teams to work from home. The idea behind these sessions is to encourage a better work-life balance and strategies to enjoy a flexible schedule.
Paul started connecting remote workers a long time ago. As a writer, he realized the importance of having a dedicated workplace to focus on and be productive. And he started to connect with other people to create a dynamic space where people could focus and build a healthy routine.
He first founded the Writer Block for writers working remotely. Then, he reached out to different creatives with the project The Process, a co-working space where different professionals can meet and create cinnections. One of the last initiatives, the Productivity Gym, encourages employees to make time for sports as a strategy to motivate the mind and increase productivity.
As more people are experiencing a more flexible work environment, Paul believes that is essential to create a space to learn how to benefit from this flexibility.
Here is an interview to know more about the latest virtual co-working space and why is important to build a healthy routine working from home.
1. To start, could you introduce yourself and how you got into the co-working world?
I came to this in something of an organic way. I was living in Los Angeles, trying to be a writer, when I realized I didn’t know what I was doing. My first step was to panic. When I stopped panicking, I thought hooking into a community was a good idea. So I built one! Called Writers Blok, it started with a simple concept: some writing and some chatting.
Eventually, we realized that it wasn’t just writers who needed this.
2. Let’s talk about The Process. How does that story begin and what is it about?
The Process happened because we figured out that our model of structure and accountability applied to all sorts of creatives, hybrid-model workers, and entrepreneurs. We also realized that we could take this online and that there was a lot of need for this in businesses that are dealing with a “new” kind of worker – one who wants flexibility but who doesn’t necessarily know how to manage that flexibility and still do deep, focused work.
3. Recently you launched the Productivity Gym project. Can you tell us more about why you think combining work life with health and sport is vital?
It’s mostly that the two are analogous. In the same way that we have to build habits and routines to transform our bodies, we need to build habits and routines to transform our brains to accomplish long projects.
4. What’s unique about your co-working space?
We host structured work sessions that make coming to our physical space feel like going to a gym or a yoga studio. Our sessions are either an hour or two hours long, and there’s always an element of goal-setting and accountability that helps people break their projects into manageable tasks.
5. In addition to your physical location, you launched a virtual co-working space. How is it going, and what does it offer?
Our virtual co-working space is aimed at helping businesses who need to re-train their staff in how to focus and accomplish big projects. We’re fond of it! We host virtual deep work sessions all day long. In addition, we help people track goals and check in with their daily habits around eating and sleeping and how those allow them to focus.
6. We can’t escape talking about the impact of the pandemic. How do you feel this long crisis impacted how people see their working life?
It served as a magnifier for a lot of people and one place this made them look was the state of their work lives. Many people realized that they weren’t getting fulfillment at work and have decided they need to remedy that!
7. Do you think remote work has the potential to create new opportunities and achieve a better work-life balance in which productivity and relationships coexist?
It does but it’s rare that people have the act of remote work figured out. I think a lot of people want the results of remote work (flexibility and freedom), but they struggle with the job of creating systems so they can actually do the work.
8. Who inspires you? Do you have any book or podcast to recommend to start an alternative work life?
I’m digging Andrew Huberman’s podcast and work around the science of how our brains work. And I’m way in on anything Johann Hari has written about focus and about connection.