5 Types of Coworkers In a Shared Office Space
When we ask our members, what drew them to our coworking space, the answer is almost always the same; the community and the potential to form great relationships. Recently the Harvard Business Review reported that being part of a community was one of the key reasons for why those who worked from a coworking space felt they thrived more in their work.
So, with so many different personalities all working under one roof, how can you get the most out of your work relationships without ruffling too many feathers? The first thing to note is that we don’t expect everyone to become best friends! Shared office spaces in London are bustling with all kinds of different people, we are at the heart of the UK and thus play host to people from all different walks of life, and not everyone will work the same way.
Five Types of Coworkers In a Shared Office Space
Over the years we have noticed a trend in the types of personalities that crop up in our coworking spaces, and today we want to share them with you. The key to a harmonious and cooperative shared office is not only understanding that everyone works differently, but also knowing how you can still get the most out of your professional relationships, whether you’re loud, quiet or one to work on your own.
#1 The Distracting Worker
In some ways, working in a shared workspace is no different than working in your traditional office environment, in that you will always come across certain individuals that love to be heard! Don’t get us wrong, we love a good laugh, and part of what makes Areaworks so great is that we are laid back and informal for the most part. That being said, if you have a big project in the pipeline, a crucial meeting on the horizon or a deadline looming, the last thing you want to be is sat next to someone who is loud and distracting.
The majority of coworking spaces will have a no noise policy in some parts of the office, to allow for those who really want to zone out and get their work done in the right setting. However, if you find yourself in close quarters with a distracting individual, here are some of our top tips for how to handle the situation:
- Engage in a brief conversation if possible, but ensure you end with something that draws a line in the sand; “it was so great catching up, I have a HUGE deadline coming so I will see you later” – they should get the hint!
- If someone is being loud, whether that be listening to music or chatting on the phone, don’t be scared to politely ask him or her to take the call outside, or lower the music and use headphones. Approaching a situation kindly and respectfully will usually sort things out with no issues.
- Don’t get sucked into office gossip! If you know of individuals who come to the office each day and do nothing but chat and gossip, it is best to avoid engaging at all. There is no harm done, for every person who doesn’t love a gossip, there will be someone else who does!
#2 The Know It All
Ever tried to offer advice, only to be shot down by someone who has been there, done that and got the t-shirt? The office know it all tends to be large and in charge, refuse assistance or advice, and wouldn’t be caught dead consulting someone else on a project.
These types of work personalities are fairly commonplace; however, you can get along swimmingly if you follow just a few of our tips:
- Be assertive – if you are being challenged around a subject that you KNOW, then be assertive and don’t back down to someone else. Often this will lead to a bit of an ego check on their part, and you may form a great working relationship.
- Don’t lower yourself to their level – if you find that you are being challenged on every opinion you present, it is better to walk away. Sometimes you can’t win, but it can’t help to get into a battle of egos with someone who knows it all.
- Use it to your advantage – if you are sharing a workspace with someone who knows it all, take advantage of it! You may gain some valuable info, know-it-alls love to share.
#3 The Complainer
Every office has one, whether it’s your typical 9-5 haunt or a coworking space, there will always be someone who is impossible to please! During your time in a shared office, you are likely to meet a few that love a moan; the coffee is too hot, the office is too cold, you know the type!
Hearing someone complain all day can be incredibly draining, and can hurt morale and hamper motivation, so check out our tips on how to form a great work relationship with the office whiner:
- Don’t be worried about challenging them – if you feel that the topic of today’s complaint is unnecessary, don’t be afraid to ask the question, “why do you feel this way?” or better still, “What could be done to make it better?” More often than not there will be no answer.
- Avoid engaging in negative conversation – if you hear moaning or complaining, it is usually best to stay away at all costs. The last thing you want to do is get involved in a long-winded conversation that will not only bring you down but will also add fuel to the fire.
- Try and change the subject, perhaps the individual just wants to be heard. Try engaging in a completely different subject, you never know you could make a great work friend.
#4 The Slacker
We have all had those days, haven’t we? We get to work and just can’t muster up the motivation to make real progress, especially when you could just drink coffee and have a chat instead!
The slacker is perfectly happy to have these unmotivated days, every day of the week. The important thing to remember is that not everyone needs to be as motivated as you. One of the biggest benefits of a shared office space is that you’re not likely to be in direct competition with anyone, and so everyone can do their own thing.
If you find that you are in close quarters with someone who seems to be easily distracted and loves watching YouTube videos on their phone, here is how you can still be productive whilst also having a great relationship with your resident slacker:
- Don’t let yourself be distracted – in the interest of maintaining positive relationships, we would advise that you avoid getting sucked into someone else’s lazy habits. A chat is great but know when to go back to your work or you could find yourself wasting the day away!
- Ask them about their work, what do they do, how long have they been doing it? Engaging them in work related conversation will not only show that what they do is valid and important, but it may also strike up a new-found motivation in them to get things done.
#5 The Lone Wolf
Although we love it when our members get to know each other, and collaborations begin to form – we don’t expect it. Becoming a member of Areaworks doesn’t mean you must socialise and become friendly with everyone else, and for the lone wolf workers out there, this is really important.
There are many signs you can look out for to determine whether someone prefers to be left alone, or is up for a chat, so making yourself familiar can go a long way! Remembering that some people simply work best in their own space will help you make better connections with them and avoid any awkward moments:
- Don’t interrupt a lone wolf worker when they are clearly ‘in the zone’. Wait until you seem them grabbing a coffee to strike up conversation and ask about their work.
- Be conscientious when you are working around them, don’t be too noisy, lone workers tend to prefer a quiet environment where possible.