How to Act in Shared Workspaces

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How Should You Behave in Shared Workspaces? Here Are the Basics.

How should people behave when they spend a day working in a shared workspace?

The bottom line is, they should behave respectfully and professionally. After all, they are there to get their work done. They don’t want to interfere with other people’s ability to do just that too, and they don’t want to be bothered by other people either.

But there are times when people fail to understand or practice considerate behavior toward each other.

What are those other times, and what rules are those people failing to observe? Let’s take a closer look. And at the same time, let’s learn some lessons about how we should behave when we are working alongside others in a coworking setting.

Keep Your Voice Down

The fact is, many people forget to use their “inside voices.” Sometimes we tend to speak too loudly in the excitement of a good conversation, because of a weak phone connection, or simply because we forget that our neighbors need to concentrate.

So remember to keep it down. Many times coworking spaces offer call areas where you can talk on your cell (or find an out of the way spot to talk). Even then, remember to keep your voice down. There are men – and women – at work! Also, avoid using your phone’s speakerphone setting.

Don’t Hog Too Much Space

Maybe you were the first person to arrive in the space in the morning, so you tossed your coat onto a second chair, spread your papers out across half a table, and just kind of “moved in.” So as the day moves forward, try to be aware of whether you are using more of the shared space than you really should be.

And remember that if another worker shows up at a time when not much working space is available, it is nice to say something like, “Would you like to share my table?” Doing so sets up a collegial, friendly atmosphere where everyone can get a lot more done.

Avoid Distracting Games and Non-Work Activities

During a busy workday, maybe you like to de-stress by playing games on your laptop, watching videos, or shopping online. Even if you are not making a ton of noise if you do, you will be setting up a vibe that can diminish other users’ ability to concentrate on business.

Clean Up After Yourself

Most of the people who work in shared locations would never think of leaving behind a used beverage cup, a lipsticked napkin or anything else when they head for the door. But heck, stuff happens, and even a considerate person like you might forget to clean up when you are running out the door to your next appointment. So get in the habit of giving your workspace a final once-over before you leave it behind.

Take Responsibility for Your Guests

Maybe people have dropped in for a meeting, to look around, or just to say hello to you. When that happens, make sure your guests are talking quietly, respecting other users’ space, and obeying other rules.

Keep Your Shoes on at All Times

We feel a little embarrassed about pointing out the fact that keeping your shoes on is the professional thing to do when you are working in a shared space. But would you believe that this is actually an issue in some coworking spaces. Enough said.

Avoid Interrupting Other People Who Are Working

Most users of coworking spaces quickly pick up on cues from neighbors who do not want to be interrupted. But some people don’t, or they are simply so outgoing that they interrupt others in inappropriate or distracting ways. Make sure to pay attention to signs that other people are giving out, and don’t interrupt them. And if someone interrupts you while you are at work, consider saying, “I’m sorry, I’m on a deadline, can I check in with you at a better time?” You can also exhibit somebody positioning that sends a “do not disturb” message, like sitting in a corner with your back to the room or working with your headphones on.

Other Behaviors To Avoid

We can’t list them all. But let’s just mention smelling strongly of tobacco, leaving bathrooms in less than pristine condition or letting toilet paper run out, using profanity, moving furniture around in unreasonable ways, asking other workers out or trying to flirt with them inappropriately, trying to sell stuff or making political pitches to other people, bringing in and eating strong-smelling foods, and drinking the last of a pot of coffee without mentioning it to someone in charge. Some of these behaviors are annoying, some are infuriating, and all are to be avoided.  

And Be Friendly

Of course if you have a ton of work to do, you can put on your headphones to signal “do not disturb” and focus only on your work. And other people can do that too. But when you take those headphones off – or when you are arriving to start your work or taking a break, or otherwise moving around – a little friendliness goes a long way toward sending the message that the location you are using is a happy, friendly, collegial place to get just a ton of work done.

Projecting a friendly attitude doesn’t require a big time investment. All it takes is a nod, a wave, a smile or a few words like, “Nice to see you again.”

Is it time to take advantage of working in a vibrant, shared workspace? To make the right decision, contact KettleSpace today.

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