Coworking spaces can be a truly magical place. You get your work done and let your hair down in an open, collaborative, and supportive environment where you share a space with people who likewise share your values, or even your goals. But sometimes, all it takes is one person talking a little too loudly or carrying on a little too comfortably, and that magic disappears into thin smoke.
Coworking is based on the principle of sharing a space with others. And for all that coworking offices are all about giving you independence and freedom in your work, this doesn’t mean independence and freedom from basic human decency. So to help keep you from being that guy, we’ve rounded up the 5 rules of sharing an office space to ensure your coworking life is a smooth-sailing journey.
We all have a phone voice. It’s the voice you unwittingly use when a recruiter calls you and interviews you over the phone, or when your bank rings you to remind you of a missed due date. It’s a soft-spoken, well-modulated voice that says: I’m a professional!
And it’s precisely the kind of voice that you should have when inside coworking spaces. This isn’t to say that you have to treat every conversation like a job interview or an assurance that yes, you’ll be paying your overdrafts as soon as possible, thank you so much for understanding, you’re too kind, but it does help to remember that you’re still in a professional setting and, therefore, expect to act with more than a modicum of professionalism. One of the surest signs that a person is getting too comfortable in their environment is when they start to use their outdoor voice indoors, so just be aware of how loud and rowdy you can sound.
Don’t forget that before anything else, you’re all there to work, so save the shouty, excited chatter for when you and your office friends are not at work.
Long story short, you’re sharing an office, you are not the only one there, so keep it down.
Look–we totally understand what it’s like to emerge victorious from the apocalypse that is Metro Manila traffic, and we don’t hold it against anyone who happens to carry the scent of that battle with them.
And while it’s completely understandable that you’d want to freshen up before you start your day, be mindful how scent can carry in an enclosed, air-conditioned space. Have care when you use your perfume or fragrances–or pretty much anything with a strong scent.
That being said, your baon can also be the office’s public enemy number one. No matter what you think, you’re not the only getting a whiff of your grandma’s binagoongan or the karenderya’s adobo. No one wants to smell like a high school cafeteria, and, really, you shouldn’t be eating at your desk anyway. You’re not just leaving behind a strong scent, you’re also leaving crumbs and foodstuffs in your workstation, and a dinner party for the resident vermins. Gross.
The entire point of coworking spaces like Weremote is to provide you with a convenient place to work, where all your basic professional needs–and more–are readily met. Workstations are fully-furnished, and supplementary amenities like printers, phones, and other equipment are available for anyone who needs them. The operative term here being anyone who needs them–not just you.
Respect office amenities; don’t hog them for yourself and especially don’t damage them. If you find that you will need certain facilities for a prolonged period of time–say, you need the phone booth for two days for an important meeting–let management know ahead of time so that they can set up a schedule where you can use it for as long as you need, without inconveniencing anyone. Cleaning up as you go is a big factor to consider too, since you are using a shared space. Always return things the way you found them.
This applies to every little thing like putting markers back where you found them, returning the chairs to their rightful place, turning off the air conditioning when it’s not being used, or asking around if people are okay with the room temperature being changed.
And if you find that an equipment is damaged, be sure to tell management immediately so that it can be addressed at once. No one signed up for jammed printers and disconnected telephone lines, after all, so it’s everyone’s duty to make sure everything is in working order.
As a good rule of thumb: If you use it, WASH IT, If you spill it, WIPE IT , If you drop it, PICK IT UP! Those coffee mugs ain’t gonna wash themselves, and it’s not fair to people.
These sort of things makes you a decent human being.
Coworking spaces are much more informal than traditional office spaces, and while this is of course the entire point of these innovative work areas, sometimes it can lead people to let their guards down just a little bit too much.
The space might be painted in playful colors and murals, and there might be a game room that invites to you to play and not just work, but don’t forget that it is still a workplace, first and foremost. Maintain professional boundaries, even with your closest work friends, while inside the premises. Don’t horse around, or engage in antics that would bother the other workers sharing the space. This means no The Office level pranks, and definitely no harmful jokes and horseplay.
And boundaries aren’t limited to physical boundaries. Emotional and mental boundaries are also in full effect inside office premises. Do not make offensive jokes or comments. Don’t willfully act in a way that makes people uncomfortable, and treat everyone with kindness, or, at the very least, civility.
And if you or anyone you know have encountered harassment or offensive behavior of any kind while in the premises, do not hesitate to report the situation to management. Weremote has a well-trained staff and HR personnel prepared to deal with complications such as these, and we are committed to ensuring you work safe and feel safe in our environment. Approach any member of the staff, or head straight to reception so we can address situations like these as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do to ensure a harmonious work life in a coworking space is to just be mindful. Be aware of how loud you can be when you speak, and remember to use your indoor voice. Be aware of the scents you carry. Be mindful of shared spaces and amenities, have care with how you use them. Be mindful of how you treat others, and remember to respect boundaries and limitations.
Be aware of what you do and the space you occupy, so that you don’t trod on others. Courtesy is a simple matter of just not being rude, and it starts by being mindful of yourself and your actions.
Coworking can be an incredible experience and opportunity, and all it takes is a few, simple courtesies to ensure that everyone has a great time. It is not actually unheard of to get voted out of a coworking space for being too much! So the next time you work in a coworking space, don’t forget to follow these basic commandments, and you should be good to go.
At Weremote, we keep it simple: “Be the person you want to work with”.