Coworking is not all ping-pong and pizza every day. There are actually entrepreneurs and startups getting shit done in coworking spaces. So there are some unwritten rules that need to be spoken of so people who want to change the world are able to do so.
To the contrary, here’s a quick and powerful list of things NOT to do if you spend your days with your laptop within the walls of your local coworking space.
1. Talk on the phone in the open workspace
We get that everyone is here to get work done and sometimes that means chatting over the phone or having a skype call. To be fair, short and relatively quiet phone calls in the open workspace shouldn’t be a problem. It’s the long conversations that can start to become a distraction for other members. Even if they are just hearing one side of the conversation, lengthy and loud conversations are meant for a closed door or separate room. Your coworking space has likely designated spaces for phone calls. If you don’t know where they are, ask your Community Manager! And be mindful every time you answer that phone.
2. Listen to videos or have skype calls without headphones
Lengthy one-sided conversations in the open workspace are one thing – lengthy two-sided conversations are quite another. Having headphones is basically an unwritten law in the coworking community – for music, phone calls, watching videos, listening to webinars, etc. Doing any of these things with wide-open speakers is a giant no-no. If you still haven’t gotten around to picking up a pair, check with your Community Manager for a set with a built-in microphone. Or check out any of these sites for where to pick some up.
3. Avoid social interaction
Don’t be that guy who uses the space often but never says a word to anyone. You won’t see the benefits of coworking that way and the rest of the community might think you’re a weirdo. There are likely social events to attend that are put on by your Community Management team. Those are the easiest way to socialize and meet your fellow coworkers. Give them a go! What’s the worst that can happen? You might, I don’t know, have fun at work.
No, you’re not responsible for taking care of the space, nor are you responsible for some of the things that might go wrong in the space. However, there is nothing wrong with taking some initiative for the changes you want to see in the space (props, Ghandi style).
It’s unreasonable to assume that the only people to have an impact to make change in the space are your Community Managers or the coworking space owner. Your coworking space is made up of the big C word… COMMUNITY. And you’re a part of it.
Try this: Instead of rushing up to your Community Manager when the coffee is low, make a new pot. Instead of putting your dishes in the sink because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, unload it! The fridge is running low on milk? Offer to pick some up on your way back in from lunch. It’s these tiny little ditties that make the community work as a whole. When the community is working together, eventually those little things turn into one big awesome coworking space full of happy people. And you’ll have had something to do with it.
Also, try to have a bad day after you’ve done something nice for someone… it’s almost impossible.
5. Disrespect the Space
Obviously, right? Maybe, but it deserves to be said. As mentioned previously, this is your space as much as it is everyone else’s. You pay for it, and you should care for it as such. This can mean the little things like cleaning up after yourself when you’re done with lunch or the meeting rooms. Tuck in your chair. Wipe the coffee ring off the white desk. Turn of the lights if you’re the last one there. You know, give a shit. Or you can’t expect anyone else to either.
Take the time to get to know your space and the people that make it a community and a place that you'd want to be. Be mindful and aware of others around you and do a little something to help out every now and then. Together, these things will make a huge difference and will attract others to want to be invovled. The possibilities will be endless.