As the coworking trend continues to rise across the nation, a survey conducted by Freshbooks indicates that the number of self-employed Americans could triple to 42 million by 2020. This points to a need for coworking space and statistics point to a significant jump globally in flexible commercial real estate. According to Allwork, the number of coworking spaces will increase by 6% annually in the U.S. in 2020.
If you’re a self-employed entrepreneur, this is great news. You’ve likely spent countless days or years working from libraries, coffee shops, or other community venues. If coworking spaces haven’t reached you, chances are it won’t be long. Not only are flexible workspaces good for entrepreneurs, but they have become prime business investments.
The benefits of coworking speak for themselves. Not only do you get a quiet or private workspace, but you have access to a conference room, office supplies and equipment, educational opportunities, and networking with like minds. Sounds awesome, right? While coworking can be an ideal situation, knowing the basic etiquette can go a long way to a happy working arrangement.
Whether you’re new to coworking or a seasoned pro, these guidelines will guarantee that you remain in good standing with your fellow coworkers:
Be Quiet, but Not Silent
While your coworking space isn’t exactly the public library, people choose to cowork for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere. This means wearing headphones or earbuds to listen to music, watch videos, or edit your podcasts or videos. You’ll also want to take phone calls in the private phone booth or outdoors lest you get side-eyed. On the flip side, don’t feel as though you have to tip-toe around the coworking space. Quiet conversations amongst coworkers happen and are encouraged. After all, one benefit of coworking is networking. In a nutshell, be courteous, be neighborly, be kind, but don’t be disruptive.
Keep Shared Spaces Clean
Treat your coworking space with the same consideration and care that you treat your home. If you use dishes, return them to the sink. Should there be no toilet paper or paper towels available in the restrooms, restock them. If you use a shared workspace, discard your old papers, trash, and food wrappers and wipe down the surface prior to leaving for the day. Remember the old saying, “Your mother doesn’t live here?” Well, she doesn’t work here either. Clean your workspace and think about needs the person using it after you.
Make Friends with Fellow Coworkers
While coworking is about getting down to brass tacks and being productive, make time to meet your fellow coworkers when you arrive or throughout the day. Get to know the people around you and, if you can connect people who may have not met, do so. In an Economic Trends survey, 82% of people who worked in coworking spaces reported that coworking broadened their networks and 50% reported higher incomes as a result of coworking. So while you’re there to work, make time to socialize. It could help you grow your business.
Engage in Community-Sponsored Events
Organizers of coworking spaces spend their time carefully planning educational lunch and learns, social events, and other networking opportunities for you. As a community member, you should look to participate in as many functions as you can. Not only will you likely pick up some new information that will improve your business, but you might meet people who may be potential clients or business referral partners. And maybe, you’ll be inspired to host a social event or share your knowledge with the community.
Honor the Meeting Room Schedule
When it comes to meeting spaces, you’ll quickly see they can be hard to come by. Coworking meeting rooms are versatile and can be used for a number of things. Once you have been booked for a set timeframe, be sure to be in and out on time, erase any boards, and clean the space. A good coworker is courteous above all.
Now that you know a few basic rules for the road, dive in and become an active participant in your coworking community. Learn any community rules and obey them. And always treat the space with the same respect you’d treat your home.