Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with the rise of remote work. They offer a flexible and collaborative working environment, with the added benefit of networking opportunities. However, with so many people in one space, it’s important to use basic coworking etiquette to ensure everyone can work productively.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the top five unspoken rules of coworking etiquette.

#1. Eating Food That You Did Not Bring

We get it, sometimes you forget your lunch at home or want a snack between meetings. However, it is important to remember that while a coworking space may have a communal fridge, not everything is fair game. If you did not bring it in or do not know to whom it belongs, it is best to leave it alone. Additionally, if you bring food to store in the fridge, be sure to label it with your name and the date to avoid any confusion. Beachworx offers complimentary coffee, water and snacks for members and visitors.

#2. Microwaving Odoriferous Foods

While bringing in a homemade dish for lunch is a great way to save money and show off your culinary skills, be mindful of the impact your food choice may have on the workspace. Strong smelling foods can quickly fill the entire common area with an unpleasant odor, distracting fellow workers from their responsibilities. If you do have a craving for a particular dish that may have an odor, it is best to either eat elsewhere or wait until after work to indulge.

Avoid microwaving foods with potent smells such as:

  • Seafood
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Cabbage-based recipes

#3. Trying to Sell Your Products to Fellow Coworkers

Coworking spaces are meant to foster a sense of community and collaboration, not as a marketing platform for your business. It’s understandable that you’re excited about your company and its continued growth – and we all know the importance of networking – but there is still an appropriate time and place to speak with others about it. Here are some good rules of thumb:

  • Don’t push your products or services on others who are trying to work.
  • If you want to network, do so in a polite and respectful way. Introduce yourself, learn a little about the other person, and if their business could benefit from your service, ask if they would like to grab coffee or schedule a time to understand what solutions you offer.
  • Don’t monopolize common areas, such as the kitchen, as an easy opportunity to engage passersby for sales pitches or promotions.

#4. Speakerphone in Common Areas

When you are in a coworking space, it is important to remember that you are not working in an isolated office. Your actions and behaviors have the potential to affect those around you. One of the biggest etiquette mistakes is talking on speakerphone in a public space. Not only is it disruptive to other coworkers, but it could potentially violate the confidentiality of the person you are speaking with by allowing others to overhear the conversation. Here are some tips to be mindful of:

  • Use a headset or earphones to take calls in a common area.
  • If you must take a call without a headset, find a private area where you won’t disturb others.
  • Keep conversations short and to the point as to minimize disruption.
  • Always use your inside voice and refrain from using curse words or slurs that will offend others. 

#5 Treating your Coworking Space as your Personal Space

True, we likely spend more waking hours in a workspace than we do in our own homes, but some tasks are best delayed until you’re in private. Personal grooming immediately comes to mind. Find a restroom if you must trim or paint your nails (or toenails), tweeze any errant hair, or apply colognes, body sprays or deodorants.

Also be respectful of the furnishings in a coworking space. While comfort can enhance productivity, it’s disrespectful to put your shoes on accent tables, desktops, sofas, or chairs. Shoes are the operative word in that recommendation. Shoes should stay on feet whenever in public.

Coworking spaces offer a great opportunity to network and collaborate with others. As illustrated here, it’s important to follow basic coworking etiquette to create a respectful environment where everyone has a productive working experience. The easiest way to maintain harmony is by asking yourself the question: “Would it bother me if someone else were doing this?”

So, the next time you’re in a coworking space, be mindful of your surroundings and behavior. If you have concerns about others, voice them to the community manager, whose responsibility is to keep everyone accountable to the house rules.

Happy coworking!