Working in a Coworking space affords a unique experience and the flexibility to act and carry yourself in a different manner than that of a traditional office space.
The benefits to Coworking includes having a space to work within the hustle and bustle of some of the most flourishing hubs in the world at a highly-competitive price point.
The benefits of understanding etiquette rules also affords you with the option to leave your desk at anytime to network, take advantages of extra services, and to connect with a unique social environment that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
However, this comes at a trade-off of your overall privacy, working without distractions, and working with complete strangers. That is why you need to practice proper etiquette.
Expert etiquette rules and best practices when working in a Coworking space.
1. Noise Management
The first thing you must be mindful of is your volume.
In an open office sound carries and some spaces may be built in a way that can carry sound through other sections of the workspace.
Different workspaces tend to have noise policies, for both communal and private work areas.
In some places you can have the liberty of openly talking aloud on the phone of a kitchen floor, whereas others will have you practice caution when setting up equipment as to not disturb others with the sounds of your items clicking and connecting about.
It is just always safe to practice safe etiquette rules.
2. Noise Management Works Both Ways…
Some workspaces are noisy, especially in communal areas that have frequent communal events such as luncheons and networking events.
It’s important to know the noise policy not just for what you can and can’t do, but also to have an understanding if at a certain time of the week 80’s hair metal is being played aloud. You should know where you can Skype and where you can sing aloud.
3. Don’t Stress…Self Service
For the benefit of you, other members, as well as the staff, it’s important you try to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Having to rely on staff to frequently connect on Wi-Fi and use the printer can slow you down, likewise relying on other members runs the risk of you not knowing what to do when the members moves on given the transient nature of members within a Coworking space, figuring out how to solve your own problems will ensure the best for your experience.
Likewise, if your Coworking space has an application or a Coworking management platform through which it operates from, master it as much as you can. Furthermore, you’ll tend to make better connections when other members are the ones asking you for help.
4. Connect and Collaborate
Never forget the best amenity within a Coworking space is the opportunity to collaborate.
This is where historical partnerships have been forged, and will continue to do so.
Take the time to introduce yourself, explain your business, and get to know what everyone within the space does.
You never know when “the next step” to your success is smiling right in front of you.
It’s said that by 2020 about half of the workforce will be freelance, taking advantage of this opportunity could yield something great overall. (Check out more statistics about coworking!)
Also, by mastering the Coworking application or the Workspace Management Platform within the space, you can reach out to other members by similar interests and work experience.
5. Clean Up After Yourself
Basic etiquette rules. As with parties, social events, and especially with Coworking spaces, the best practice is to “leave no trace.”
For the sake of the staff and the well-being of other members you work with, leave the workspace as if nobody used it.
If you don’t want empty bags of chips and granola bar wrappers left on your desk at the time you book it, don’t assume someone is always going to clean up for you prior to the next member booking your spot.
6. Be Considerate of The Areas
For instance, be aware if the kitchen area is also a place for people on laptops to continue working, in which case be mindful of talking too loud.
Some Coworking spaces are beginning to open Yoga studios, gyms, bars, meditation areas, among others, some of these places may not be the most ideal spots to talk shop within the workspace.
7. Don’t Overuse Services or Amenities
It can create extra problems and distractions of the members within a workspace when someone oversteps their boundaries.
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 only use your allowed space, use the conference room for time you need a conference room, and stay within the space you rented.
If your space is inadequate, you can always find a quiet study area or a phone booth to work without distraction an
8. Be Resourceful
Your workspace may not provide exactly all the supplies you need.
Especially if you’re someone who relies on niche technology or artistic materials to get work done.
While Coworking spaces are improving and can cater to your specific niche based on the community and the nature of the space, being as self-sufficient as you can be is still the best practice.
Furthermore, you can collaborate better with other members if they need your supplies and services.
9. Make Space For Your Management
Some business needs to be handled behind closed doors.
It’s not a good practice to terminate a partnership or an employee within a communal space, nor is it proper to handle a difficult conversation or business negotiation within the kitchen.
Be mindful of the energy you put out within the workspace.
10. Spread The Word
The best way to promote and grow a Coworking space is by spreading word of mouth, and no mouth is louder than that of a happy member.
Connect with your members and your workspace through social media, you may be able to gain some perks through referrals.
Not to mention bringing in members you already love to work with is a great step toward having a more enjoyable place to do business.
It’s most important to note that Coworking is not a “one size fits all” solution and much of the etiquette is decided upon the operators and members the occupy the space.
Based on the community, the nature of the space, as well as the kind of work being conducted, you can gauge what does and doesn’t count as good etiquette within your workspace.
By applying these ten basic rules you can easily adapt to Coworking and yourself have a more enjoyable and productive coworking experience.