One major plus of coworking is all the amazing people you can meet, but coworking communities are constantly evolving as new members join up and others leave. The atmosphere of a coworking space depends on the people working there, and for it to work well there are some basic rules you need to take on board.
To get the most out of your coworking experience and let others make the most of it too, there are some rules that need to be followed. Let’s look at just some of the main do’s and don’ts of sharing a workspace with a community of people.
Say hello when you come into a room. It sounds basic, but it’s amazing how many people just come and go without acknowledging the other people in their coworking area. Offer coffee or tea if you are getting up for it. Ask if anyone wants to go to lunch. You’ll get as much from your coworking colleagues as you are willing to put in, so be as approachable and sociable as you can manage.
… but don’t be a distraction
It’s a constant temptation to chat to all the amazing people in your coworking space. Everyone’s got such an interesting job or is working on some incredibly innovative project and you probably want to know all about it. These creative folks get great haircuts and… Wait! Take a breath and step back. Make sure you are never interrupting the flow of other people’s work. There’s a time and place for chat and it’s never when someone is actively engaged in their work, has their ear buds in, or has specifically told you that they are busy.
When you do get a chance to chew the fat with one of those interesting co-workers you’ve spotted remember that, for as relaxed as the atmosphere might be in your coworking space, it’s still a place of work. Keep the noise down when you are having a conversation and take your phone calls out of other members’ earshot. And (please!) when you’re in the groove of your own work while you listen to some tunes, check if you have your music on so loud it’s leaking out of your earphones.
Keep it clean
Tidy up after yourself. This is another basic rule that can be easily forgotten, especially if you have a lot of work to do and need to return to your desk. This one can be a deal breaker, though and repeatedly forgetting to clean up will grate on the other members’ nerves and can quickly spiral into you being seen as a problem. Using a fully-serviced office doesn’t mean you can leave your stuff everywhere or forget to wash dishes after you’ve used them. Do yourself and your co-workers a favour and deal with it before getting back to your work.
Stay aware of boundaries
Coworking spaces make it their business to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They enjoy disrupting the traditional idea that offices spaces have to be stuffy and formal. However, that should not extend to getting inappropriately or overly friendly with other members, telling off-colour jokes or getting into juicy details about your, or others’ private lives in the coworking space. Use good sense to judge where the boundaries lie and, if in doubt, play safe instead of having to say sorry.
This one is a definite do. While all the above rules need to be followed make sure that you are making the most of your coworking space and networking with the professional people around you. If you are friendly, non-distracting, quiet-when-appropriate, tidy and respectful co-worker you should have no difficulty in making new professional connections.