The Do’s and Don’ts of Coworking Etiquette

Published · 3 min read

By 2020, 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and solopreneurs. This changes the way we work calls for innovative office space solutions. After all, it can get lonely working at home, all alone every single day.

If you haven’t heard of coworking, here’s the scoop: Coworking is a shared office environment concept where people come together and get things done.

Like most things in life, there is a code of conduct you’ll be expected to follow in these spaces. And there are some unwritten rules to keep in mind. If you’re one of the early adopters, you may already have some of these do’s and don’ts under your belt. But if you’re thinking of transitioning into a coworking space, don’t jump in blindly. Here are three do’s and three don’ts to keep in mind as you share work space with others:

Do be mindful of your surroundings.

Umm…duh. Seems obvious, but seriously, don’t be the person who yells into your phone, smacks gum nonstop or creates a huge ruckus every time you walk through the door. This is a SHARED space, so be respectful of the people around you. Your hosts will typically designate certain spaces for phone calls, so use them. Don’t disturb the peace.

Don’t be too dependent.

Coworking offers an awesome blend of independence and collaboration, but don’t be tempted to go overboard in relying on others. For example, don’t go asking around for the Wi-Fi password when it is clearly displayed around the space. Don’t assume that the people around you prefer to collaborate as often as you do. And don’t constantly ask others for office supplies. In short, be self-sufficient and don’t be a mooch.

Do take advantage of events.

One of the great advantages of coworking is the fact that there are such a wide variety of professionals at your fingertips. Take advantage of this and LEARN from the people around you. Be interested and supportive of other’s work. Most likely, your hosts will organize monthly events to bring everyone together outside of work hours. Attend and soak up new knowledge.

Don’t mess with the kitchen.

If you currently work in a coworking space, you know that the kitchen is sacred. Mess with that as a newbie and you’ll find yourself on the bottom of the coworker hierarchy. Learn the rules of the shared spaces right away and clean up after yourself. Nobody has time to be cleaning up, coping with or smelling your mess.

Do be mindful of time restrictions.

Whereas your last boss may have been eager to have you stay past work hours, the same will not be true of your coworking hosts. The people that run these spaces aren’t earning more money based on the time you spend working, so don’t take advantage of their time.

Don’t be a hog.

One of the perks of coworking is the ability to book a conference space if you need to hold in-person meetings. These rooms tend to be in high demand and are booked well in advance. Don’t be the person who books a room “just in case” something comes up. If you book the room, use it and get out before your time slot is up.

Just like we had to learn to behave on the playground as kids, we have to learn how to behave in coworking spaces. Follow these unwritten (common sense) rules to get the most out of your coworking experience.

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