Coworking spaces are getting very popular for entrepreneurs and remote professionals, thanks to the affordable price and the sense of community it provides.
Here are our 10 commandments with 5 dos and 5 don’ts that you’ll need to keep in mind to make the most of your new experience in a coworking space:
- Maintain cleanliness
- Network with others
- Replace items which you’ve finished
- Respect others’ privacy
- Be polite in addressing issues
- Don’t oversell
- Don’t talk loudly on the phone
- Don’t hog the meeting room
- No gossiping
- Don’t be too dependent
Things to do in a coworking space
1. Maintain cleanliness
You may be tolerant of a messy workspace, but the same may not be true for other members. Be considerate and only occupy one desk space and keep your belongings nice and tidy. A messy desk may be a sign of genius, but it sure can be an unsightly disturbance to your neighbors.
Also, first impression counts. A messy desk can come across as disorganized and careless, which you wouldn’t want your fellow members to see this as he or she might just be your next client or team member.
Cleanliness must be observed not only at the desk area but also in other communal areas like the pantry or bathroom. If you’ve spilled coffee, make sure you clean it up. It’s as simple as that.
2. Network with others
One of the unique things that appeal to even Tech-giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Verizon is the opportunity to connect with innovative startups. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer, connecting with others in the co-working space is always good, even if they are not directly related to your industry.
Start by a simple “Hello” or “Good morning” if you’re new to the community. Never forget to smile as it does wonder in building rapport with others. A connected community makes a co-working space more vibrant and you will also feel that you are a part of the crowd. It won’t be a surprise if a fellow member ends up being your best client.
3. Replace items which you’ve finished
No one likes to be at the receiving end of an empty coffee machine or a copying machine that prints blank. If you’ve used up the last bit of that dark roasted coffee beans, you ought to refill it, or at least let the coworking space manager know and have the team to handle it.
4. Respect others’ privacy
Just because you’ve been getting on fine with other members, it doesn’t mean you can start ignoring their privacy. Avoid peeping on members’ computer screen as you make your way to the pantry.
Even if a fellow member is just browsing on news feed, no one likes having someone peering over their shoulder. Respecting privacy also means not lingering around when someone in the coworking space is having a call, even if it piqued your curiosity.
5. Be polite in addressing issues
When you’re in a shared working space with dozens of professionals, conflicts may occur. For instance, a member could have formed a habit of holding discussions with colleagues at the communal table. As a result, you’re constantly distracted, and productivity took a nosedive.
Rather than being consumed with frustration, you should bring up the issue with the member politely and in a diplomatic way. If that seems awkward or uncomfortable for you, the best course of action is to get the co-working space manager involved to remind them to be considerate.
Things not to do in coworking space
1. Don’t oversell
You may have a five-start product and are super excited about it. You can talk about what you sell at the water cooler casually of course, but don’t go all out and try to pitch everyone you see walking by the pantry. After you introduced or talked about your products or service, if the other member is interested they will ask you for more details. Otherwise, be brief about your products or services and don’t be pushy in trying to ask other people to try. Of course, genuinely asking for feedback is fine and encouraged.
2. Don’t talk loudly on the phone
It could be a long-distance call from a potential client which you’ve been expecting all day. But that doesn’t mean you can drown the co-working space with your voice and your conversations. Phone calls are a common distraction that annoys other members in a co-working space.
Most co-working spaces have phone booths or designated areas to take calls. Just move to one of those phone booths to avoid the piercing glares from annoyed members.
3. Don’t hog the meeting room
You’ll want to be mindful when using the meeting room at a coworking space. Remember that it’s a shared facility, and other members may be waiting patiently for your discussion to complete. Stick to the schedule and allow others their rights to use the space.
Even if it’s a pay-per-use facility, it helps to be considerate for others and leave the meeting room punctually, always return the meeting room when your reserved time is up. After all, the key to having a productive meeting is to keep it short and simple.
4. No gossiping
In a shared working space, there are moments where people’s private life crosses the workspace. It’s essential to remain professional and avoid gossiping about other members. Being tight-lipped on what you’ve unintentionally learned will gain you respect while starting a gossip earns you no favor from others.
5. Don’t be too dependent
It’s OK to borrow a pen or laptop charger once in a while, but asking to borrow items from fellow members every time you come it, expecting you can always borrow from them is not acceptable. Be self-sufficient and be prepared before you come into the coworking space. Consider having a locker where you can store all your belongings and supplies so you don’t have to carry it back and forth. Same goes with asking for information and questions to fellow members, if the sign for wifi password is just at the front desk, just walk there instead of being lazy and disturb the person beside you.
Ultimately, you’ll want to be considerate when using a co-working space to ensure that the shared area remains free of distraction. Stick to the house rules, and if there isn’t any, use common sense.