Coworking Space Etiquette

Coworking attracts independent professionals and startups for a number of reasons. Shared office spaces present cheaper alternatives to traditional offices, they usually offer better amenities and provide an opportunity for social interaction. Compared to work from home, coworking spaces  foster productivity and bring freelancers better performance satisfaction.

Just like in case with a large corporation, a shared workspace presupposes certain behavior which is sometimes outlined in a code of conduct. Often, the expectations for space users is the same across different coworking communities. Let us consider the most common rules of etiquette and acceptable behavior.

1.    Respecting the boundaries of others both on the physical and emotional level. Be mindful of other people’s workstations and their spatial privacy. For example, a book on your neighbor’s desk or a vase with flowers probably serve as a sign of demarcation, so think twice before you slide a book closer to a coworker to make some space for yourself. It is also important to avoid discriminatory or harassing behavior towards fellow freelancers.

2.    Be considerate. If you need to make a phone call, it is advised to go to a phone booth or step to the part of the building where you won’t distract others. Show your respect for social etiquette and be friendly.

phone booth
‍Many coworking spaces are equipped with call booths or special areas where you can talk on the phone without bothering others

3.   Do not hamper productivity of others. If you see someone wearing headphones or a person seems to be immersed in heads-down work, do not distract them.

4.   Stick to the time limit when ordering a conference room. Remember that by prolonging your client meeting you are probably causing a delay of another conference and letting down one of the fellow professionals. That’s why time management is crucial when booking a meeting room in a shared workspace.

conference room
Do not linger in the conference room

5.   Cleanliness is next to godliness. This saying is particularly crucial in coworking spaces. Because there is a high rotation of people throughout the day, it is of great importance to leave your workstation clean and tidy. No one likes dealing with a mess left by a previous coworker. When you leave your workstation, take care of the garbage and don’t leave anything behind.

6.   Keep your voice low and be mindful of how you communicate.  Everyone understands that some level of background noise is acceptable in coworking spaces. However, if someone is rattling on for hours on end, it aggravates people around and affects their ability to concentrate on work.

7.   Adhere to the policies. If your shared office space has a set of rules, obey them. For example, smoking may be possible in designated areas only. Some shared workspaces prohibit taking food outside of the kitchen or dining area. Familiarize yourself with the visitors’ policy (if there is any) before your friend or loved one comes by.

show respect and smoke outside of your coworking space

8.   Confidential information. In case your work involves providing services to different people make sure you do not leave your client files in places where they can be observed by other people. The same holds true for the work files of your fellow professionals. Peeping at confidential documents or eavesdropping is unethical.

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