A shared coworking space is the perfect blend of the formal business tools of a stuffy CBD corporate office and the calm relaxed haven of working from home. It isn’t completely free for all however, with other people and businesses sharing the same space we need to be considerate of others and occasionally think about what we do. There are some unwritten shared working space rules. United Co. asked their members and this is what we found.
1. Don’t Be Stinky
Working in a shared space or any open plan office the fist and most obvious of the shared working space rules is smell. We all know that bringing your left over curry from last night is a simple lunch solution and it smells divine. It smells so good that everyone in a ten meter radius is now starving and can’t focus on their work. But at least you didn’t make a garlic and tuna salad.
It isn’t only about food though. You may not have had the chance to shower before you came in for that important call so it might be you that is smelling a little ripe today. If you are, consider finding the end of trip facilities or gym. On the subject of gym and gym smells, please don’t wear your sweaty kit in a shared space. You may have had fancy new perfume or aftershave for Christmas. Your family really might want you to wear it but learn that moderation is important in everything.
2. Don’t Be Dirty
It is easy to be busy and forget to do something. We have all done it. We are high performing individuals with businesses to run, projects to deliver and clients to service. We are also grown ups, we know that (look away kids) there is no Father Christmas and certainly no fairy that cleans up after people. Shared workspaces have shared amenities. Don’t leave your dirty coffee mug in the sink, don’t spill food and drink and expect it to magically be wiped up after you. Do your bit and keep the space around you tidy and clean. We aren’t just talking about food here. Please don’t put your feet on the desks or miss the bin with your fifth crumpled up draft of the proposal. It is easier to stay clean than get clean.
3. Do Not Turn The Volume Up To Eleven
As a passionate entrepreneur you will naturally have phone calls that see you getting carried away with enthusiasm. It’s only natural. Pacing around with your phone crooked in your shoulder as you wave your hands around might help you get your point across but the other coworking members around you probably won’t find it as useful. Find a private booth or consider a private office if you spend a lot of time on the phone.
The volume doesn’t always come from the work either. We know you are hilarious but not everyone wants to hear your jokes first thing on a Monday morning. Or the drama. Oh the drama! Coworking spaces are great to build a community but a community for your business and career success not a community to absorb all of your personal issues. One of the unwritten shared working space rules is to think about the noise level that helps you to concentrate and get your work done and stick to that.
4. Don’t Be A Resource Hog
Shared workspaces often come with a shared members’ kitchen like the one at United Co’s beautiful Fitzroy building. Another of the unwritten shared working space rules revolves around the tea, coffee and snacks available; don’t gobble them all up yourself. No one will thank you for bringing armfuls of goodies back to your desk.
Gone are the days when you could use up the internet bandwidth by streaming videos to your desktop but some technology can still only be used by one person at a time. While United Co. has high quality multifunctional printers throughout the building, you will not make any friends if you print out a thousand sales letters at the same time during a busy period.
5. Don’t Spam Other Members
Community and community events are an important aspect of life in a coworking space. Community managers can help you make connections that help you and your business thrive. However joining a coworking space just so you have a captive audience is frowned upon. A community is there to be mutually supportive. It is there to help all members equally. A big one of the shared working space rules is give and take. Not just take, take, take. To be a successful business you will need to grow a strong support system and blanketed, untargeted selling to your neighbour will not go down well.
6. Don’t Be Rude
Saying good morning with a smile costs nothing and gives so much. Don’t blank your neighbours when they exchange greetings with you. Choosing to work in a shared space means there will be people around you. You probably chose coworking so you could be around people with the same drive, energy and enthusiasm as you have. Probably the most important of the shared working space rules is being a good neighbour.
This goes beyond good morning of course. Try not to drop too many f bombs. Projects, staff and clients can be frustrating sometimes but save the frustration for the gym or let it go through some yoga or meditation in the wellness suite. Swearing and inappropriate language has no place in a shared space. We are professionals after all.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
The flip side of being rude is not asking for help when you need it. Coworking members are attracted to the possibility of collaboration. Creating a network and a community in a shared space is fantastic for bouncing ideas off people or finding new ways of doing things. Community events, seminars and workshops provide excellent opportunities to grow. You won’t want to use up a big chunk of someone’s time trying to fix a spreadsheet you can’t understand or making your presentation sing but members are usually happy to give you some quick tips or best practices.
If you need help with the space itself, with booking rooms or greeting clients there is a concierge to guide you. If the technology is giving you a headache you can call on the onsite IT support. The last of the unwritten shared working space rules; don’t suffer in silence, ask.