The rise of the gig economy and the growth in number of people who found their calling as startup founders gradually introduced us to the coworking trend that brings together strangers in a shared office space.
In terms of design and style, coworking spaces could be any of the following: playful, homey, fancy, or funky. They’re meant to be super cool and inviting to draw people in to rent a desk or a conference room.
Just like in a normal office setting, you have to treat other people breathing in the same space as you are with respect and kindness. Because it’s a shared space, everyone gets treated equally. What Guest A can enjoy, Guest B, C, and D can do too.
Anyone who enters the door of a coworking space must abide by the house rules or else, you’d get kicked out. The rules may be written differently in every coworking space you’ll go to but they all seem to remind us of one thing -- the Golden Rule.
You don’t have to make every member to like you, but you can keep them from disliking you. If you’re planning to rent in a shared workspace, keep these things in mind:
Don’t create distracting noises. The room may be filled with dynamic personalities but it’s still a workspace so being rowdy isn’t something everyone would be happy about. When making phone calls, be sure to keep your voice down or go to a corner where you can’t disturb anyone.
You know what else can be annoying? It’s when you’ve just arrived and your things are slamming the table until you get settled. Creating this unnecessary noise can distract those who’ve worked hard to get their focus.
Be mindful of time when booking a conference room. When your time’s up, leave the room immediately, not because someone’s giving you an icy stare, but because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t feel like it’s okay to extend your time when you don’t see anyone waiting for you to vacate the room.
Occupy only the space you’ve rented. If you paid for a portion of a huge table, it may not be obvious but you know there’s an imaginary boundary for each person using it. Keep your things close to you if you have a couple of work paraphernalia other than your laptop.
Don’t act like you own any of the shared equipment. Again, it’s a shared workspace. You shouldn’t keep the printer all to yourself for a long time, but if you have a handful of documents to print, let the office manager know first. And if somebody needs to print a page or two, be kind enough and don’t frown on the interruption.
Bring your own office supplies. This is a practical tip if you don’t like borrowing from other people or expending supplies in the office.
Keep the kitchen clean and tidy. Don’t leave the table with any trace of your meal. Throw your trash properly and wash any of the shared utensils you used. Got fish for lunch? Others might not like the smell of fish so if you’re thinking of heating it in the microwave, don’t.
Don’t eat anybody else’s food. Unless there’s a note saying it’s for everyone’s consumption, don’t dare touch that food you found in the fridge or on the kitchen table.
Be friendly. Say hello. And smile. If you’re not fond of engaging in small talks, that’s fine. Just be nice.
Build connections. Being friendly goes a long way especially in a collaborative environment. For sure there’s somebody in the room who might be interested in what you’re doing. Who knows? A startup founder might be sitting right next to you and could be looking for a freelancer to help out with an upcoming project.
Be considerate. All the tips written above boils down to this. Act like the true educated person that you are. Don’t forget your manners at home!
If you feel like renting in a coworking space for a longer period of time, it makes sense to have more projects so you can afford the fees. Be sure to check the Freelancer job listings every day.