Developments in technology have paved way for a more effective and convenient access to countless resources and a wide variety of talent pools both locally and internationally. Because of this, more and more individuals have ventured into self-employment. This factor has greatly influences the birth and the growing market of coworking spaces that are quite an unorthodox approach in business.

A coworking space is beyond the definition of a shared workspace. It is a flexible and thriving community of different yet like-minded independent professionals who seek more beyond the confines of a single organization. Its flexible approach to doing business, plus the synergy, collaboration, and networking benefits it offers to these freelancers, coworking spaces have more advantages than disadvantages. The mere  rise of coworking spaces in Singapore, with over fifty in 2017, is enough proof to show. It is more than just a hype or a trend. It has become a lifestyle choice by many who believe in its invaluable benefits.

But with all the different people from different faces of business working in one space, wouldn’t it be a riot? It is a valid question to ask, given that coworking is fairly different from the traditional office space setup every single person has grown accustomed too. However, no matter how different it is from the traditional, coworking spaces still observe the unwritten Emily Post rules. After all, everyone in it are still humans and run on the same basic preferences. To tackle it properly, here is a list of five etiquette rules in coworking spaces that may be unwritten but must still be observed.

Watch your tongue

A coworking space is open to anyone from anywhere. It is a place free of any kind of discrimination, which makes it appealing in Singapore where there is a vast diversity of people. In line with this, being mindful of other people’s cultural and religious backgrounds, and race are important. You had better watch the things you say to keep you from offending anyone and creating conflict among your coworkers. Avoid sensitive jokes, demeaning remarks, and racist and/or gender-biased comments and conversation. Better yet, be observant of your environment and your coworkers.

Keep your volume down

Young man in coworking space

This rule is applicable anywhere your feet have taken you, and most especially in a coworking space. If you think your getting passionate about the topic you are having with someone at the other end of the line, find a better place to have the conversation. Or better yet, step out of the office for a while to avoid disturbing the peace and concentration of others. There is actually no need for turning your cellphone to silent mode to avoid causing distraction. Turning down the ringer volume would do. Avoid slamming doors or anything, whether you’re having a bad day or just being yourself. Just do everything in a leveled volume.

Contain your smell and mess

Since desks are commonly and usually shared in coworking spaces, cleaning up after your mess is mandatory. Eraser shavings and mess as small as dust should be kept away. Do not just let your laptop and other gadget wires get in the way of other people’s desks too. Organize your things to avoid them cluttering all over the place and going over your neighbors’ desks. Containing you (food) smell must also be observed. Since appliances are shared in coworking spaces, avoid putting in smelly food like durian inside. You may love everything about durian, but not all people share the same opinion.
Also, avoid eating in areas of work. No matter how hungry you are, eat and drink at the designated dining areas. It is the safest way to avoid offending anyone with the smell of your food and the sounds you may make while eating. Additionally, it also keeps you from dropping food crumbs and spillage all over the place.

Respect the privacy of others

When you need to speak to someone, don’t just hover above their heads or peek over their cubicles. Try catching their attention by tapping lightly on their cubicle or table. Avoid touching, eating, and using anything that is not yours. If it can’t be helped, ask the owners permission to borrow first before using something. And then ALWAYS remember to give it back. If by instance it is a pen or any office supply you are borrowing, make sure that you will have your own of such items to avoid repeated borrowing. It is a huge no no to depend on the supplies of other people especially when you are able to afford it yourself.


Be friendly

Don’t sulk and don’t be grumpy. Being friendly will also help you expand your network and meet new people business contacts. Avoid venting out your foul mood on anyone. Keep your personal affairs personal and don’t take it out on anybody especially when they have nothing to do with your mood. Coworking spaces are very ideal for collaboration, business networking, and growth, which is why it has been making waves in the business community. You can make use of such rich opportunities if you know how to blend in with the different professionals in the coworking space. Just politeness and mindfulness can take you a long way.

creative team on coffee break talking at office