Coworking is attracting independent professionals and startups for a number of reasons: Shared spaces are cheaper than traditional offices, usually offer better amenities and provide a better opportunities for social interaction. Compared to working from home, coworking spaces foster productivity and allow workers to connect with each other. It's no surprise that they're taking the working world by storm.
Just like in case with a large corporation, a shared workspace relies on a code of conduct, which can be either understood or clearly laid out. Often the expectations for space users is the same across different coworking communities. The most common expectations in coworking spaces are simple, but they really do help keep everyone happy. If you're new to the world of coworking, here's what you should do:
Both on the physical and emotional level, you should be mindful of other people’s space. For example, make sure that you're allowing enough room for other people in communal spaces, especially when you have a bunch of items with you. While hot desks are assumed to be shared, dedicated desks are off limits, so don't peruse a book, borrow a pen, or go through documents you find on one. If you see someone wearing headphones or immersed in their work, don't distract them for no reason.
If you need to make a phone call, use a phone booth, step into the hallway or take a walk. During group or team work, remember to keep noise to a respectful level because other people are using the same space for individual work. Use headphones to play music instead of blaring it from speakers. Everyone understands that some level of background noise is acceptable in coworking spaces, but be reasonable about the amount of noise you create.
By prolonging your client meeting or taking too long to wrap up a call, you're probably causing a delay for everyone else who needs to use that rented space. While some bumps in the road are expected, it's not acceptable to delay a fellow coworker's plans. That’s why time management is crucial when booking a meeting room in a shared workspace.
You know how the saying goes: "Cleanliness is next to godliness." This maxim is particularly crucial in coworking spaces, where dozens of people share one area. Because workers come and go throughout the day, you should make sure to keep your workstation clean and tidy. No one likes dealing with a mess left behind by a previous coworker, so make sure to toss your coffee cup and spare napkins before leaving.
If your shared office space has a set of rules, obey them. As a general rule, treat the space like you's want it to be treated. This means eating only in designated areas, brushing up on the visitor policy and smoking outside. And while this should go without saying, avoid discriminatory behavior and harassment toward your fellow freelancers—it's their space, too.