10 Most Common Etiquette Mistakes Made in Coworking Spaces
With around 1.91 million freelancers in the UK alone in 2018, it comes as no surprise that coworking spaces have skyrocketed in popularity over recent years.
Gone are the days of lone workers spending morning, noon and night hunched over a desk at home with nobody to talk to other than the cat. Now we have coworking spaces, with aesthetically pleasing interiors and a forward-thinking approach to modern business.
London has taken the lead with revolutionary advances towards collaboration and away from the traditional office set-up. However, with more people than ever before wanting in on the action of a communal workplace, the need for office etiquette is as important now as it ever has been!
Check out our list of top ten etiquette mistakes for those working in a coworking space.
#1 Don’t Be a Stranger – Say Hi!
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to working from a shared office space in London. Yes, free coffee and unlimited Wi-Fi is a must, but most important are the other people around you.
There are very few environments that offer such a broad spectrum of individuals from an even wider range of industries, and you wouldn’t believe some of the collaborations we’ve witnessed over the years between the most unlikely of people.
Coworking spaces in London can be an intimidating place, but they don’t need to be. Don’t be that person who clocks in day after day, and hides themselves away in a corner with an invisible DO NOT DISTURB sign written across their heads. And if you see someone withdrawn in that way, go and introduce yourself, it can be as simple as offering a coffee to break the ice!
Remember, everyone is in the same boat, so don’t be a stranger – you’d be surprised how far a simple “Hi” can get you.
#2 Collaborate – Don’t Be Selfish
One of the best parts of meeting other business enthusiasts is finding out that they are exactly the person you didn’t know you needed! Whether it’s inside info, or some words of wisdom, making use of the expertise around you is a critical part of coworking.
London, in particular, is a hive of interesting and unique organisations and businesses, but you’re never going to be aware of them all! Meeting others that can pass on their knowledge is great, but keeping it to yourself is not cool!
So don’t be selfish with a piece of impressive information that could benefit others, sharing is caring as the saying goes!
#3 Participation Is Key
In keeping with the ethos of most coworking spaces, you are likely to be invited to an event outside of regular work hours that you should say yes to! Some of the best coworking spaces in London offer a range of fun collaborative activities.
Forget your traditional 9-5 paper shuffling office space; coworking environments thrive off the unusual, and as such you should expect impromptu midday games of Ping-Pong or a few beers in the afternoon to become the norm!
Being part of some of these events will work wonders for your sense of community, your work relationships and even your professional progress. After all, there is nothing quite like a 4pm beer to strike inspiration in a tired mind!
#4 Mind the Noise – Headphones are essential!
Coworking spaces can be hotbeds of activity, discussion, excitement and laughter. They truly are some of the best places to work for anyone who is keen on expanding their mindset and are open to suggestions and collaboration.
However, much like any collaboration space that is full of enthusiasm, there can often be an ever-rising noise level that understandably doesn’t always sit well with other office workers.
We understand and encourage positive desk coworking in our workspace, however, we do exercise a reasonable level of consideration to those fellow freelancers that are in your area.
Headphones are a coworker’s best accessory. You can participate in important calls and Skype meetings without disturbing an entire room of people, or go crazy for your favourite heavy metal without causing a wave of mass rage amongst your fellow members.
#5 Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind
There is nothing more obstructive to a productive day than unnecessary mess. We’ve all worked with people who work behind piles of papers, files, and mugs that haven’t seen the light of day in weeks.
It can be difficult to broach the subject of cleanliness with a fellow worker who is less than organised – but doing so in a non-controversial way can settle the problem before it escalates.
Try by offering to take away a dirty cup or throw away a piece of screwed up paper. By openly addressing the mess, it can often lead to a bit more self-awareness on their part and prompt them to get in there first (after all, nobody wants to be told how to clean up!).
#6 Don’t Be a Tech-Hog!
Whilst working from home is free for all intents and purposes, paying to work from a coworking space offers a host of top of the range technology that can be a huge benefit to your business.
Whether you’re printing, scanning or photocopying, being considerate of the others using the equipment will get you a long way in becoming the coworker of the week (this isn’t a thing, but it should be!).
Basically, don’t hog the equipment, if you have a big job to do, choose a quiet time of the day to do it. This rule should apply for not only you but the others in the space, nobody should be falling out over printer ink!
If you have waited for hours to print something off because Joe blogs is printing out 3000-page memoirs, kindly ask if they wouldn’t mind pausing their job so that you can quickly make use of the facilities (usually they will understand!).
#7 Be Considerate
Anyone who has worked in any shared office space in London will know the age-old argument of who makes the next brew! Unfortunately, this is something that has made its way over to coworking spaces; so let’s nip it in the bud now, shall we?
If you have finished up the last of the coffee, make up a new batch! It’s a 5-minute job, time you can take away from a computer screen and your colleagues will thank you for it – trust us.
Take out the rubbish; change the toilet roll, close doors behind you – it’s the little things really! The people in your area may be strangers at first, but they are all there to work just like you, so taking the time to do those little things will make a huge difference.
Someone will soon call those who aren’t team players out on their actions; one of the least tolerated office antics is in consideration amongst colleagues, especially when it comes to something as important as caffeine!
#8 Make Appropriate Use Of The Meeting Areas
This one is simple; whether you’re meeting with colleagues about work matters or other things, don’t do it in the middle of the office.
Most coworking spaces in London offer meeting rooms which can be hired as part of your contract. Using these for meetings will keep your business private, and allow others to work without unnecessary disruptions.
Office etiquette should be present at all times, so this means leaving your meeting room in a better state than when you went in. Don’t leave coffee cups and sandwich wrappers left out for the next person, clean up after yourself and think of others (see point 7!).
If you have been one of those unfortunate enough to go into a disgraceful meeting space, find out who had it last and ask them if the items left behind belong to them? Asking them in public will usually prevent them from denying it and they will soon be cleaning up after themselves (but don’t forget to ask politely).
#9 Be Professional
We all love a good laugh at work, however, there should certainly be a line of professionalism that isn’t crossed when in the office, no matter what the environment.
If you are working alongside other business colleagues, then we recommend that any private conversations be done IN PRIVATE! You wouldn’t think this should be addressed, but over the years, we have witnessed hirings and firings going on in the middle of the shared office.
Being professional when the needs call for it is paramount for maintaining office relationships and preventing unnecessary embarrassment. The same goes for private and personal conversations, you may want to keep it low or take it elsewhere.
#10 Don’t Be an Office Pariah
Unless you have no sense of smell, you will be well aware that there are certain “trigger foods” that are usually frowned upon within a work environment.
Now, some of the best coworking spaces in London are situated near unique and independent eateries. However, for many looking to save the pennies, homemade cuisine is a go-to option and can usually be heated up in work.
We have had some interesting smells drifting through the office over the years, some more pleasant than others, so let us help you out by letting you in on an industry secret; avoid eggs, fish or broccoli at all costs if you don’t want to become the office pariah!
Following these simple steps to avoid any workplace embarrassment should see you reaching the top of the colleague leaderboard in no time!
If you want to learn more about the dos and don’ts of our coworking offices in London, or you just simply want to check out our spaces in Manor House, Hackney, or the soon to be opened Colindale, then pop in to see us or book a tour for a time that suits you. We’d love to meet you 😊
Areaworks is a provider of open supportive coworking office spaces in accessible areas throughout London. We don’t believe in stuffy central locations, long commutes, impersonal and uptight environments. We believe there’s a better way of working, and we’re here to make it happen: in our areas, with our areas. We believe in opening up communities that inspire progress and open up opportunities. We offer complete turnkey workplace solutions for start-ups, creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. We design our coworking office to feel open, to encourage collaboration and productivity, to inspire you to think differently. Areaworks currently has two coworking spaces in prime London locations. The first resides in Manor House, an area very close to our hearts (and where it all began). Our second space recently opened in Hackney, one of the fastest growing areas for all things innovation, in London. If you are looking for a coworking space in London, which provides you with the environment and opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals, then we have the perfect place for you.