As more and more companies and industries transition to remote or flexible work, coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Of course, some companies, especially startups, have always worked in coworking spaces. Other professionals are probably more used to traditional offices. Coworking might be a new concept and experience for many people, and it’s important to understand coworking space etiquette if that’s the case.
Coworking spaces are shared office spaces that can be used by individuals, teams, and even entire companies. Most coworking offices have everything you could possibly need for a productive workday and more! Think high-speed internet, fresh-brewed coffee, and even after-hour events.
Of course, when working from a shared office space, it’s essential to be mindful of others working around you. Understanding coworking space etiquette before arriving to a shared space for the first time will ensure you’re a respectful member of that space.
1. Don’t forget your headphones
Whether you like to listen to music, podcasts, or white noise while you work, make sure you do so privately. A good pair of headphones are an absolute must-have in a coworking space. Not only do they ensure you aren’t bothering others, but noise-canceling headphones can help block out conversations and activities that may be going on around you. Keep in mind that this goes for calls and meetings as well as music. Odds are, nobody else wants to hear both sides of your conversation! Of course, one of the many benefits of a coworking space is the chance to meet and share ideas with other professionals, but sometimes you don’t want to be disturbed, and headphones are a great way to signal that.
2. Be mindful of space
In some coworking spaces, you’ll have a specific desk, table, or booth all to yourself. In others, you’ll be sharing space. And nearly all coworking spaces have communal areas with tables and couches for working. The shared nature of these spaces means it’s essential to be mindful of how much space you’re using. It’s impolite to spread your papers and tools over an entire table if there are others also looking for space.
3. Make use of call booths
Most communal offices have “phone booths” for making calls or taking short meetings. These booths tend to be soundproof and allow you to talk freely without disturbing those working around you. Make use of these booths as much as possible when you’re on calls or meetings. Some coworking spaces will have a process of reserving booths, while others will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.
4. Keep an eye on the clock
In coworking space etiquette, time is everything. If you’ve reserved a meeting room, be mindful of the person who has booked it after you. If you’re using a phone booth, be aware that others may be waiting to use it as well. The same goes for booking tables or workspaces. Most things in coworking spaces are shared, so keeping to a schedule makes you a good communal user and allows others to do their work as well.
5. Clean up after yourself
General etiquette in most public spaces dictates you clean up after yourself, and coworking spaces are no different. While every shared office will have janitorial services, it’s important to leave your workspace just as clean as you found it, so that the next person can easily sit down and get to work. This also goes for the communal kitchens many coworking spaces will have, as well as printer rooms, meeting spaces, and phone booths.
6. Be aware of boundaries
Collaboration is one of the many great benefits to coworking spaces. That being said, not everyone wants to collaborate all the time. Be mindful of other people’s work habits, and try not to interrupt when you can avoid it. Many coworking spaces will host events specifically for networking and collaboration. Get to know your fellow workers there!
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