Coworking is a great way to work productively among a like-minded community. Opportunities to socialise and collaborate with fellow professionals are literally within arm’s reach.
However, there are several unwritten rules (and some written!) that apply to coworking etiquette.
While company leaders and Hub Community Leads are in charge of managing each clubhouse, everyone’s needs to keep a few things in mind to keep things running smoothly.
Think of it like a sharehouse – there’s a level of trust placed in your roommates. Maintaining respect for the house and each other is the key to harmony, and the same principles apply to coworking etiquette.
Respect personal space and property
People can interpret ‘appropriate’ boundaries differently, but the key is that coworking is not a euphemism for ‘free-for-all’.
Always ask before borrowing people’s equipment, don’t eat anyone else’s food, and if you want to pick someone’s brain on a topic, be aware they might have bigger priorities and deadlines.
Work-friend boundaries are different
Some people find their best friends in their coworking space, but just as in a regular workplace, you need to be aware of different standards and social rules for your etiquette.
Not everyone appreciates ‘touchy-feely’ types when dealing with colleagues and strangers, and it’s important to respect boundaries when it comes to physical contact and conversations.
Keep communal areas tidy
Many coworking spaces have amazing Space Leads who make sure everything looks beautiful in the space, but you still need to make sure you clean up after yourself. Rinse and stack your dishes, wipe up any spills, and make sure you take notice of any instructions in the kitchen!
If public transport has taught us anything, it’s that many people talk louder than they think they do when on the phone. Show your neighbours that you have great coworking etiquette by taking your calls in a communal active space or even jumping into a phone booth. Similarly, as galling a prospect as it may be, not everyone shares your music taste. It’s what headphones are for.
When you’re under siege from distractions yourself (construction work etc.) you can opt for noise-cancelling headphones. Otherwise, you can move around to find quiet space when you need to focus.
At the end of the day, a harmonious workplace makes for better productivity and mental wellbeing all-round.
Read more: How to Choose the Best Coworking Space
Having a strong meme game in group emails doesn’t make you the #1 coworker (though it probably doesn’t hurt) – someone with great coworking etiquette is friendly, respectful and willing to help out when needed.