29 Jun Coworking Etiquette
Etiquette in a coworking space is no different to what’s expected in any office environment or collaborative hub. We’ve all been victims of frustrations in a coworking space or experienced the frustrations of a coworker. It could be the person in the office who decides to play his audio or videos on loud speaker, pounds their keyboard too loudly or is oblivious to how loud they speaks while having a phone call conversation. Resentment towards these individuals is an expected result of spending the day in close proximity to strangers. But while it is essential to learn to pilot through their behavior in a healthy way, it’s even more important to avoid actually becoming one of them.
When working in an open plan office, etiquette is a vital consideration and expectations of how to conduct yourself and consider those around you. Coworking spaces should establish a set of basic rules that are clear, concise and clearly communicated to everyone. However too many rules will lead to people forgetting them and ultimately not abiding by them.
To help cultivate a positive coworking environment where space, amenities and services are shared, mutually respected and even made more enjoyable by interaction with complete strangers, we considered these key points:
Keep a pleasant and quiet phone voice.
In a coworking space, the noise of one group can mean disturbance for another. It is obvious that each space will have its own attitudes of lenience toward noise levels. Thus, it is important to observe and understand how everyone is using the shared set-up. If people around you are having a team meeting or a discussion in common areas then taking calls or having quick meetings at your desk, will be accepted by all. On the other hand, if everyone is avoiding it then for discussions, use meeting rooms, boardrooms, or an outdoor space so as to not disturb others. For members new to the space, they can find out from the coworking manager or facilitator what the noise policy is, find out where in the office you can take calls, or the phone booth area as you take the time to get a feel for what your neighbors can tolerate.
Be friendly and keep an open mind.
While it’s understandable that work can get really busy at certain times, during those slower periods when the day seems like it’s dragging itself, why not make an effort to introduce oneself and interact with your coworkers, as well as attending events being hosted on-site. Of course, one of the main advantages of being part of a collaborative office space is that it facilitates networking; one might never know what opportunities, connections or mutual sharing of skills could crop up from a simple hello to your neighbor. However, you might have to excuse yourself if it’s a good time to talk before interrupting someone doing their work. It’s this open attitude that makes coworking spaces vibrant, creative and welcoming. Make an effort to keep a pleasant tone, greet coworkers and listen patiently. This boosts morale and fosters good working relationships.
Practice leaving no traces.
Take initiative to leave your work station as if nobody used it. Organizing, tiding up and other small tasks can make a huge difference. The kitchen is most likely the heart of any coworking space, a communal place that everyone shares meals or chats over a cup of hot tea or coffee. So it’s easier if everyone tries to do their part in keeping it tidy as much as possible, perhaps by putting things back where they belong, and washing the cups and utensils you’ve used whenever possible.
Don’t overbook conference room.
A number of coworking spaces provide members with conference rooms for business meetings, brainstorming session or to just have a quiet space to finish your work. However, these rooms are limited and also, for everyone’s use. Thus, make sure to always book them beforehand and be thoughtful of the time allotment
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 coworking manager or the facilitator as well as members who 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 work-space.