Is there a Need to Compromise on Privacy in a Coworking Space?

Maintaining privacy in a coworking space is something to consider and perfectly doable.| Photo by  Farrel Nobel  on  Unsplash

Maintaining privacy in a coworking space is something to consider and perfectly doable.| Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

With coworking spaces growing in popularity, many entrepreneurs and freelancers are turning towards these third places as a way to get out of their house while getting work done. Most coworking spaces provide offices for small-large teams, conference rooms, or communal areas for drop-in coworking.

So with communal areas and shared workspace, is there a way to stay productive and keep your work private in a space?

Depending upon your nature or work-style, you may be able to work better in a coworking space or maybe not. But it can take adjustment or just trying it out for yourself to see what works best. You may like collaborating with people, sharing ideas, and discussing new things, or you might like staying focused on the job when you are working alone in a quiet place. You can always choose a space that suits your style best. And on top of that you can maintain your privacy in a coworking space by being careful and setting up your own work area up for success.

Personally, I feel that coworking spaces are a great source to increase productivity and nurture your skills to another level. It allows you to engage with skilled individuals and grow your career connections. I started my career as a freelancer for CrowdWriter. Initially, it took me time to adjust with the space as I was used to working at home. However, gradually, I learned how I can maintain my privacy, and it improved my productivity to a larger extent. Based on what I learned, let’s discuss some tips that will maintain your privacy and comfort.

How to Handle Privacy in an Open Floor Plan

Remember when the open floor plan was revolutionizing how teams worked? Yes, it promotes communication across all levels, and sure, it clears the space from the alienating cubicle, but an open floor plan might not appear the best if you’re working on a sensitive project on your screen or have a detailed call that includes personal information.

Remember that within the open floor plan, a space is designed for people to utilize and work. Everyone around you is also focused on their laptops, phone calls, or meetings. And everyone within the space are usually courteous to you and your own work area if you have your things or laptop open nearby (as you would). That being said. There are a few other ways to maintain your privacy so you’re comfortable.

Utilize the Phone Booths, Conference Rooms, or Breakout Areas

There might be times when you’ll need to get into full details when you’re talking to your client or  team member. If you’re in the open space, see if you can step away from where everyone’s working, keep your tone even, and not yell on the phone or video call (not good for business or for being courteous within the space). Use headphones to keep the other side of the conversation only to yourself.

Remember everyone around you has been in the similar predicament of making a business call at the communal area and everyone tends to pay attention to their own work. However, if you’re getting into sensitive details or prefer to keep calls away from the communal area, see if your space has phone booths or breakout areas where there’s more chatter going on. Or if you’re hosting a client for a chat, take them to a lounge area away from others or book a conference room. 

If it comes down to it, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid discussing certain issues on the phone call at certain times if you can’t grab a private spot for a chat or if it’s very quiet in the space. Use emails or messengers instead to send over confidential or personal messages.


Keep Your Space Organized

Make it your habit to keep your desk or area of the communal table clean. If you have any personal or sensitive documents, be sure to keep it within your area or in your bag if you’re not using it. Staying organized will help you keep track of what you have on you so you don’t misplace them too.  If you have any files you need to have kept, your coworking space might provide storage or lockers for you. Or if you’re using a small office in the coworking space, you’ll have a key to your office or desk. Coworking spaces want you to feel secure as you run your business and will ensure your privacy and security are their priorities.


Lock Your Laptop When You Leave It

If you’re working in the communal area and step away from your laptop for a meeting or a  call, keep a habit of closing your laptop or locking the screen when you step away. On most models you can set a sleep timer if there’s no activity. And set it so when you return you can only access your dashboard after inputting a password. The hot corner feature on a mac is helpful in that you can swipe away any windows at a moment’s notice. You can also use privacy screen protectors on your laptop or mobile screen which shields any prying eyes from afar so that you can work in peace.


Get Satisfied with the Wi-Fi Security

Coworking spaces usually provide a secure internet connection. You can also always check with the community managers if you have questions on how secure the network is. You can double check if your coworking space has encrypted Wi-Fi and be sure to ask about network access policies. You may also use VPN services to secure your net searches. 

Mrs. Joe Wilson from Australian Masters says, “Whatever facility a coworking space provides me, I always preferred secure Wi-Fi connections. I stick with HTTPS and always use VPN to secure my files and data.”

So Privacy in a Coworking Space?

Working in shared spaces and open office plans can help with productivity and give you a space to focus outside of the house, especially when you work from home or can work wherever. But privacy and maintaining your own security can be a concern and you want to be comfortable wherever you work. Know that coworking spaces are designed for your ease of use, that similar entrepreneurs or freelancers are using the space as you are, and taking precautions to keep yourself organized and your workspace set up for security will set you up for success. 


Guest writer Stella Lincoln is a single mother who lives with her two daughters. She is working as a Business Marketing tutor at Academist Help and loves to be updated with the new technologies. Stella is fond of traveling, arts, and culture. In her leisure time, she shares her views and expertise on Educator House.