There’s no doubting the popularity of taking an office or a desk in a coworking space. One need only look at the proliferation of coworking spaces in NYC in the past few years to see that, while the local Starbucks might be fine for a while, how often do you want to hear the barista calling out yet another grande chai latte?
But there are those who might have been working out of their apartments for so long that they’ve forgotten that ‘coworking space’ means that there are other humans around, in close proximity, we might add, and that while there might not be a formal list describing coworking etiquette, it’s there. You’d think that it being an unwritten code would be good enough, but there are those who need it spelled out, so happy to oblige, and our thanks to the coworking space organizers and denizens who helped us to compile this list.
Here are the heads ups in no particular order, and hope it helps (ED: AlleyWatch has offices at Cowork.rs and of course, none of these points were inspired by our fellow Cowork.rs, at all):
- The office manager is not your personal secretary. Do not treat him/her as if he/she is.
- Don’t assume that the items that are available for public use are there solely for you. That’s why it’s called a ‘shared’ space.
- Don’t leave your dirty dishes in the sink. Wash them, or put them in the dishwasher, or better, d) all of the above
- If you spill something – coffee, tea, whatever – clean it up. That’s what the paper towels and the mop are there for. Familiarize yourself with these items.
- Not everyone is interested in hearing your phone conversation. Keep it down. Or find a spot away from everyone. Most spaces have ‘phone’ booths. Use them. If they’re all occupied, give it a minute.
- When you’re having a conversation, try to keep the volume down. There are other people working around you. Or trying to. That’s not what people are talking about when they’re suggesting that you be disruptive.
- If the coffee urn is empty, make more. Making sure that there’s freshly made coffee available is not someone’s job – it’s everyone’s job.
- Don’t slam doors.
- Flush the toilet once you’ve finished. If you don’t want to wash your hands, that’s up to you, but seriously, flush.
- Fill the printer with paper if it’s out. Especially if you’re the one responsible for it being out of paper.
- Don’t eat someone else’s food or drink their beverages that you happened to ‘find’ in the refrigerator.
- Throw out the leftovers from that lunch you had last week. You’re not going to finish it, it’s taking up space, and penicillin is no longer effective, anyway.
- Speaking of which, keep your interoffice affairs private. Watch the PDAs, and FYI, always best to keep it on the down low.
- If the TV/monitor in the conference room isn’t working, check to see if it’s plugged in before you interrupt the office manager/tech support. Same for the printer and the fax.
- Remember that Happy Hours generally start after working hours. Don’t start getting raucous mid-afternoon, just because it’s after working hours for your outsourced tech team.
- Keep the ringer on your cell phone at a civilized level.
- If you’re at a shared table, contain your mess. Don’t assume that you can spread your stuff out across the entire table.
- Don’t take three seats at the shared table when you’ve only rented one.
- Be friendly.
- Don’t steal chairs from the conference room.
- Don’t squat in the conference room, especially if you know that someone else has booked it.
- Break down your boxes. They’re yours.
- Don’t take someone else’s personal coffee cup. Or anything else that doesn’t belong to you, or is there for communal use. The operative being communal.
- Don’t assume that the kitchen is there for you alone. Remove your food from the microwave when it’s finished. And remember that that table is there to be shared, too.
- If you spill something on the kitchen counter or on the table, after you’ve had your lunch, clean it up. That’s what the sponge is there for. It’s by the sink. Yup, that’s it.
- You know those signs that are posted? ‘Recycle,’ ‘The Refrigerator Will Be Cleaned Out on Friday – Please Remove Your Food.’ Yup, they apply to you, too.
- It’s someone in your company’s birthday and you bought a big cake. Happy birthday, someone! Don’t toss other people’s food from the refrigerator to make room for the cake, et al. Rearrange the items. There’s more room in there than you think and yes, you are allowed to toss non CDC-sanctioned science projects. In fact, thank you!
- When a friend stops by and you decide to have a natter, go out for coffee, or move the conversation to the kitchen. People around you are trying to work and aren’t really interested in your conversation. Seriously.
- Don’t readjust the temperature to suit you. Bring a sweater. Or take your sweater off.
- Throw business to your fellow coworkers, if you can. We’re all in this together.
- If someone looks like they are busy and concentrating on something, they probably are and do not want to be interrupted by whatever is on the top of your mind.
Image credit: CC by Roland Tanglao