A coworking space is beyond the definition of a shared workspace. It is a flexible and thriving community of different yet like-minded people who seek beyond the confines of an office organization. The rise of coworking industry is more than just a hype or a trend. It has become a lifestyle of choice by many who believe on its benefits.
But imagine, all different people from different faces of business working in one space, wouldn’t it be a riot? This is one of the valid questions anyone would ask. However, no matter how different it is from traditional office setup, coworking spaces has a code of conduct, which can be either understood or clearly laid out. To tackle it properly, here is a list of 10 essential etiquette rules in coworking spaces that may be unwritten but still be observed.
1.) Keep Noise Down
The first thing that you should be mindful of is your volume. With different organizations working on different projects, things can be distracting. During group or teamwork, remember to keep to keep noise at a respectful level because other people are using the space for individual work. If you think you are getting passionate about the topic you have with someone at the other end of the line, find a better place to have a proper conversation. If you want to listen to music, use your headphones instead. There is no need to turn your phone to silent mode, but just turning down the ringer volume would do. Avoid slamming doors or anything when you have a bad day. Try to be aware of your surroundings and keep the noise level down.
2.) Be Timely
By prolonging your meeting or taking too long to wrap up a call will probably cause a delay for everyone who else need to use that rented space. They have paid for that space and you are now costing them money. If your meeting is running over, move it elsewhere or wrap it up and schedule a continuation. This initiative will prevent tensions with other people and organizations in a shared space. That is why, time management is crucial when booking a meeting room in a shared workspace.
3.) Self Service
For the benefit of you, other members, and the staff, it’s important you try to be self-sufficient as possible. Having to rely on the staff or the members frequently on using some of the equipment can slow you down. It will be best to figure out on how to solve your own problems as your learning experience.
4.) Clean Up After Yourself
Basic etiquette rule. For the sake of the staff and for the sake of other members, leave the workspace as if nobody used it. Workers come and go throughout the day, you should make sure to keep your workstation clean, tidy, and dry. No one likes to deal with a mess left behind by a coworker, so make sure to toss your coffee cup, spare napkins , and wipe off any coffee stains before leaving.
5.) Respect Boundaries
Both on the physical and emotional level, respect other people’s space. If you see someone immersed on their work or using headphones, don’t distract them for no reason. You should be considerate of other areas, like for example, if a kitchen area is also a place for people on laptops, then be mindful of talking too loud. With different organizations inside a shared space, be sure to be aware of other people’s work expectations so that you don’t overstep and cause discord.
Avoid touching, eating, and using anything that is not yours. If it can’t be helped, ask the owners permission first before using something. If by instance you’re borrowing an office supply, make sure that you will have your own of such items to avoid repeated borrowing.
6.) Don’t Overuse Service or Amenities
This includes overbooking conference rooms and locking others out, using all the paper in the copy machine, and using a space that is assigned to someone else. Remember to practice etiquette rules, just use your allowed space and use the conference rooms for the time you only need it. If you have a large bundle of papers to print, let people know. That way people can print the one or two pages they need in advance. This way, it will prevent mishaps and frustrations. As the shared equipment are available for all, learn not to overuse them.
7.) Connect and Collaborate
The best amenity within the coworking space is the opportunity to collaborate. Take the time to introduce yourself, explain your business, and get to know everyone within the space. Being friendly will help you to expand your network and meet new people business contracts. You can make a lot of opportunities if you know how to blend in with different professionals in the coworking space.
8.) Make Space for your Management
Some business matters needs to handle behind closed doors. There is a right space for every organization. It is not appropriate to terminate a partnership or an employee, nor is it proper to handle business negotiation within the kitchen or printing area. Be mindful of the areas within the workspace and even the people you are working and not working with.
9.) Use Common Sense
If your shared office space has a set of rules, obey them. Treat the space like on how you wanted it to be treated. This means eating on the designated area, smoking outside, and other rules set by the coworking space. Avoid discriminatory behavior and harassment toward fellow coworkers.
10.) Spread the Word
The best way to promote and grow a coworking space is through word of mouth. Connect with your members and your workspace through social media, you might be able to gain some perks because of referrals.
Not all coworking spaces are created equal. But, based on the community, the nature of the space, as well as the kind of work being conducted within, you can gauge what does and doesn’t count as good etiquette. With these tips listed above, you’ll get the most out of your experience. Above all else, know the house rules. If you appreciate the space owner and respect your coworkers, you’ll have an incredible experience.