Coworking has already revolutionized the way we work and network. The impact of coworking on the way we approach making a living will continue to be realized with more people becoming short and long-term members of coworking spaces.
Yet, the rise of location-independent work means busier coworking spaces, which makes it important to consider the etiquette that should be employed when working alongside other people in these communal facilities.
If you want to be seen as a considerate coworker, you should keep in mind the following “coworking code” when working from a shared space.
Introduce yourself and what you do
It’s not only sociable to introduce yourself when you start using a coworking space, but it may help your business down the line―just don’t go overboard.
“I cannot emphasize enough that mentioning what you do when you are in a coworking space can really spread the word of your business,” said Belle Tisdale, a marketer at Writemyx and Nextcoursework. “Of course, don’t shamelessly self-promote, but if people know they have, say, a digital marketing expert in their space, then you become the go-to person for that niche.”
Take one-way phone calls outside
This is a bugbear predating coworking spaces, and we could just as easily talk about sitting on a bus or train. But unlike public transportation, coworking spaces usually offer places to take a call―be it a call booth or empty meeting room.
To be courteous, it may even be best just to simply walk outside when making a one-way call. Otherwise, it can be disruptive to a lot of other people and will make you appear inconsiderate.
Just say ‘hello’
You may be the shy, introverted type, and the idea of coworking may not totally be your cup of tea. But coworking spaces really are for everyone, and they do not need to be hives of constant social activity. In nearly all spaces, coworkers are respectful of each other’s boundaries.
That being said, a simple ‘hello’ and smile goes a long way to creating a better environment for everybody. And you never know―a quick, easy ‘hello’ can lead to amazing opportunities in the future as you make friends with your new colleagues.
Replace what you use
Nearly all coworking spaces have shared resources, such as coffee-making facilities and, of course, toilets. This is a simple rule, but if you drink the last bit of the coffee or use up the last of the toilet paper, let someone know so it can get replaced (if you can’t replace it yourself). Don’t take the attitude of “It’s not my problem.” That is not what coworking spaces are about.
Participate when possible
Coworking spaces oftentimes organize a wide range of events for people to get involved in, and these do require some degree of participation. You don’t need to be up in front for every presentation or offer your opinion in every panel discussion, but merely showing up for events can make a huge difference to your overall experience at the coworking space. So, if you have the time, show up!
Support where you can
It’s normal in coworking spaces to ask for advice or help when it’s needed. It could be that you have a little technical issue that you know someone else could resolve in a minute, or you may overhear a conversation in which you can interject with a useful solution. Coworking spaces breed good karma like this, so don’t be afraid to get in the middle of it.
Give community managers the respect they deserve
Without the community managers in your coworking space, nothing would get done, so it’s courteous and kind to give them the respect they deserve. If you have questions for them, perhaps try to find the answer on Google first so you are not just using them as a lazy way of getting what you need.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to approach them, and always make sure you appreciate their feedback or input. Truly, the coworking space wouldn’t work without them!
Don’t abuse rules and times
Most community spaces will have time limits on elements like receiving guests and reserving rooms. When you book meeting rooms for a particular time, don’t overstay your allotted time when possible. Rules should be respected for the benefit of everybody, and when mistakes are made, own it, apologize, and move on.
If something needs doing, do it
If you see something out of place, take responsibility and fix it. Communal spaces only work if everyone plays their part, so do not always assume that it is someone else’s job. It’s also a good rule of thumb to make sure your particular space looks the same as when you found it (i.e. push in your chair, throw away any trash, and clean up after yourself.)
Following these simple rules can maximize the benefits of using a coworking space, helping to create a friendly and creative environment for all of the people there. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that you’re viewed as a courteous coworker, which will likely lead to new friendships and appreciation from your fellow colleagues.
Katrina Hatchett is a lifestyle blogger at Academic Brits with a particular interesting in the art of communication. She is a regular writing contributor at Origin Writings, as well as a blogger at PhDKingdom