7 Coworking Etiquette Tips You Should Always Follow

coworking etiquette tips

Flickr/Home Thods

If your company uses a coworking office space, you’re probably already used to sharing tighter quarters and amenities with other organizations. While you’re just as entitled to the common areas and kitchen as anyone else, there are some rules of thumb you should follow to be respectful of others. These etiquette tips will help keep you in check and make your experience, and the experience of others around you, a good one.

1. Keep the volume down.

This should be a given, but since you’re sharing a common space and walls are likely thinner than you think, keep your voice down. Whether you’re on calls or just talking to your team, using your “inside voice” is imperative to keeping your coworking neighbors sane. If you receive any complaints or passing comments, stay aware of your volume and tell your team to do the same.

2. Don’t hog the kitchen — especially around lunchtime.

Coworking spaces vary in shape and size, but we’d bet that most don’t have what you’d consider abundant kitchen space, especially if several companies work on the same floor. If you’re preparing your lunch or getting a cup of coffee, make your kitchen visit brief. Be aware of your surroundings, so if someone is attempting to get around you, you know to move out of their way. There’s nothing worse than the very frozen meal a coworker is attempting to defrost in the microwave for 10 minutes at peak lunchtime. If you know your food or drinks are going to take more time and space than normal, hold off until the big lunch rush has passed.

Unsplash/Helena Lopes

3. Clean up after yourself.

Spilled something in the common area? Don’t just leave it for someone else. Ask the building manager how you can help clean the mess. Beyond the common space, make sure you keep your office in good shape, too, because your coworking space may or may not have cleaning services regularly go through your room. If your building doesn’t offer regular cleanings, do what you can to keep your own space clean. Keep your personal area neat and free of any loose food or other trash.

4. Be aware of whatever your food smells like.

Yeah, we’re gonna be honest and just say that your baked salmon dinner from last night has no place in a coworking space. You probably shouldn’t even bring it if your office has its own microwave just to save your teammates from the stench. Be wary of anything that will produce a powerful smell when heated up, like broccoli, seafood and potent spices. You’d be surprised to know just how long that leftover curry odor can linger…

5. Be mindful about office pets.

If you’re interested in bringing your pet to work (many coworking spaces allow it), check with your building manager first, then your team and then others on your floor. It’s common courtesy to make sure no one is allergic or afraid of your particular animal. If you do regularly take your animal to work after checking with all appropriate parties, make sure you know each organization’s policy on pets. Do they care if your pet is roaming around, or are they all for it? Make sure you know before letting your pet frolick freely outside your office space.

Unsplash/Eloise Ambursley

6. If you see something, say something.

Part of being a good coworker is not only making sure what you’re doing is in check, but also saying something when someone isn’t in check. For example, if you notice someone made a total mess in the kitchen, alert the building manager that it needs to be taken care of. You’re not looking to throw people under the bus, but you could let the building manager know if it’s the same person or organization constantly creating the same types of disturbances.

7. Make connections when appropriate.

Networking is a huge plus to working in a coworking space, but you shouldn’t assume you can just throw your card at everyone. Genuinely get to know the organizations in your space through kitchen small talk and at building happy hours. Then, decide if anyone is a fit to network with, and give them your card. But don’t be knocking on doors asking if anyone wants to connect when it doesn’t feel natural.