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coworking space etiquetteShared co-working space is popular around the globe.  And, co-working members are being observed for their etiquette practices while using these spaces.

In this post, I share  8 etiquette tips for co-working space. Most are common sense. But, sometimes we need gentle reminders of what’s considered good workplace etiquette.

These 8 etiquette tips for co-working space will enhance your professionalism and reputation.

And often there’s a ripple effect.  When your co-working space etiquette is exemplary, it helps promote courtesy and respect in your co-working community.

The goal is that all members of your co-working space feel it’s an inviting, friendly and respectful culture that everyone enjoys.

  1. Be tidy. Leave your co-working space spic and span. You want the next user to enter a clean space with no trash. Half-empty coffee cups or food spills on the desktop don’t reflect well on you. In fact,  leave the work space better than you found it.
  2. Keep voices low. On the phone and face-to-face conversations. People are there trying to focus and get their work done. Everyone understands that there will be some level of background noise. But loud voices are a distraction and discourteous to others. In fact, phone calls are best taken in designated “phone booths” or “Skype” rooms or outside. And, if you like to listen to music while you work, use ear buds and keep the volume minimal.
  3. Dress respectfully. You’re still “at work” so think what you might wear to visit someone’s office. Many workplaces have “business casual” attire guidelines.
    • Keep the emphasis on business versus the casual.
    • Work-out clothes and yoga pants are comfortable to “work” in at home, but they’re not considered business casual attire.
    • Men will look “work presentable” in dress slacks, Dockers-type pants or nice jeans  with woven shirts or polo-type shirts.
    • Women want to avoid anything too tight, too short, too revealing or see through.
    • You owe it to yourself and others to dress with respect. However, if the co-working office is right on the beach, as some are, beachwear and casual attire may be entirely fine for that office culture!
  4. Wear your scent sensibly. In communal work spaces, fragrances can migrate. Wear only a dab, or better yet, none at all. Many people are allergic to fragrances.
  5. Eat only in the communal kitchen area. This eliminates food odors, crumbs and potential spills at the work space.
  6. Work solo. Collaboration is often beneficial and synergistic. But, many professionals seek the shared office experience because they desire a quiet space to focus and work alone. In fact, some buildings even offer “quiet rooms” for members in addition to low and high-top open seating tables and sofas. It doesn’t mean not to greet someone you see on a regular basis. But, if you want a longer conversation, continue the chat at the coffee bar or reserve a conference room or meeting room that most co-working offices offer.
  7. Use good time management. If you reserve a conference or meeting room, keep to your allotted time so the next user can stay on schedule.
  8. Do unto others.

    • When the co-working space has a shared printer, replace the paper if it’s running low after you use it.
    • If there’s a coffee area, start a fresh pot if you had the last cup.
    • If the kitchen has a dishwasher and provides glass dish-ware, place dirty dishes in the dishwasher unless a staff person is responsible for removing dishes from the sink to the dishwasher.
    • When there are dedicated desks, be mindful to respect the boundaries of these members and not borrow a pen or stapler from these dedicated areas.

Whether your co-working space is in Baltimore, Barcelona or Berlin, these gestures of good etiquette show others that you are respectful, courteous and professional. They’re small things but have big impact to help build a friendly, cohesive and efficient co-working space and community that everyone enjoys working in.

  • These tips are in addition to any specific guidelines posted in your co-working space.
  • What other etiquette tips would you like to recommend if you work in shared co-working space?

You may also enjoy reading 6 Etiquette Tips for Remote Workers.

Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer, speaker and one-on-one coach. Her Oklahoma-based business etiquette firm, Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol, provides business etiquette training and professional development for a variety of industries in Oklahoma and nationally. For more information, you may visit her website www.EtiquetteTrainer.com.