7 Essential Etiquette Tips for Coworking Spaces
This article is by freelance contributor Gloria Kopp. Gloria is an HR manager and consultant at Paper Fellows. She is writing expert columns for Microsoft and Oxessays blogs. Besides, Gloria is writing Revieweal blog for international students and educators.
Coworking spaces are fantastic if you're freelancing or starting your own business. They offer you office space so you can work and the ability to connect with others that you otherwise wouldn't have. As they're a newer concept, growing quickly in popularity, you should be conscious of the etiquette while working in a communal space. Here are some of the best tips for working in a coworking space with others.
1. Be Aware Of the Noise Rules
In a regular office, you'll often be expected to keep the noise down or, at the very least, know your office well enough to understand the fluctuating noise levels. But in a coworking space this may not be applicable. Take a look at how others are using the space to get an idea of what you should expect. If people are freely chatting and listening to music, then you know that some noise is to be expected. Work around this. If you're working in quite a loud setting, you may need to use a meeting room, phone booth, or lounge area, in order to make that Skype call. Or you may rely more on messaging through Skype, Slack, or Googlechat with your teammates or clients. Develop your writing skills to communicate (get business writing advice at resources as Essayroo or Ukwritings).
2. Be Self Sufficient
Unlike a regular office, there might not be someone to show you around and show you where everything is. Some spaces might have a community manager or front desk you can always come to with questions, but if they're giving a new member a tour or hosting an event in the space, they might not be able to assist as readily. Other spaces might be more independent and be run by the coworking space members. So if you need something, it's good to be proactive. Need the Wi-Fi password? There's probably a code posted on a board nearby or politely ask a neighbor at the communal table. Need to plug something in? There'll be a free outlet around, you'll just have to look for it. Try and solve problems yourself before interrupting others.
3. Collaborate With Others
Some may go into coworking spaces and worry about talking to others while they're working, as they don't want to disturb them. In fact, that couldn't be further from the truth. Freelancers, start-ups, and small teams, use these spaces to interact with others, so make sure you're taking advantage of this. Talk to others when they're taking a break from what they're doing or if they're grabbing lunch or coffee. Coworking spaces are natural environments for collaborations and you never know where a great thought partner can be found. You can also use online collaboration tools to chat, such as Academized or Resumention.
4. Mind Your Kitchen Manners
Many coworking spaces will offer kitchens with some amount of amenities you can use. Some will offer free drinks, coffee, or even free snacks. Before you go helping yourself though, be sure that you know what the etiquette is here. The last thing you want to do is upset others by taking something that isn't yours. And don't forget if you put food in the fridge. Week-old lunches don't smell the best when a whole fridge is sitting with it. That goes for the microwave too. You should always make sure that you leave the kitchen in the state you found it in, too.
5. Know When to Leave
Many coworking spaces double up as event spaces later on in the day. That means at some point, you are going to be expected to leave. Take a note of when coworking ends for the day in the space, and ensure that you pack up and leave without having to be asked to by staff. It's tempting to stay on if there are other people there, but this isn't a good guide for how long you can stay. Check the hours or ask the community manager beforehand so you can be sure. If you respect the staff's time, they'll remember that and help you when you need it.
6. Use Tools to Communicate
A coworking space gives you the opportunity to talk to others and create working relationships. But with different companies, roles, events, and the nature of the space, sometimes it's difficult to keep in touch or find time to connect. When this is the case, you can see if there's a Slack channel, Google Hangout, or Skype group, to join for the space. Or just shoot over an email to your new connection. Take care in how you write your emails though, as you still want to be courteous and professional. Try using writing tools like Assignment help, MyWritingWay or Grammarix to write better business emails.
7. Clean Up After Yourself
Finally, once you're done for the day, make sure you clean up after yourself. Don't leave any wrappers or old drinks at your desk, as it just becomes a problem for someone else. The goal is to leave your desk as if no one had been there that day. If you make this a habit, you'll be welcome back in any coworking space.
Coworking spaces are a great resource for everyone, and to keep the natural flow and culture of these spaces, you need to be mindful. If you always respect the space, you can get a lot out of them. Just a little time and effort is all you need.