It’s barely been a decade since the coworking, and shared office space industry began. Coworking’s lifespan has created new communities, new workplace culture(s), and inside each coworking space: a new style of etiquette that is still transforming and being perfected. When joining any shared office environment, it is important for an individual or team to buy into a space’s written and unwritten policies for courtesy.
Coworking is flexible. By design, there is a high turnover rate for members of any space. One of the biggest benefits of coworking has to do with being able to find space and leave at any time. Convenience is key. So, to help keep coworking convenient, members of a space should do everything in their power to make signing up and cancelling membership a seamless process. Helping a coworking space run smoothly is the best way to establish great business connections and build a friendly community.
Entering a coworking space as a new member is an easy process facilitated by an office’s Community Manager. This person is the liaison between individual members and the coworking space’s owner or upper management. A Community Manager’s job is to onboard any new members with information that will assimilate that person to the membership community. Some of the most common pieces of coworking courtesy that you’ll hear from a coworking space manager are as follows…
Practice leaving no traces—and clean up when you do.
Leaving no traces does not mean that a member should neglect coworking amenities like the kitchen area, printers, copiers, or bathrooms. However, being able to leave these shared spaces as if you weren’t ever there is a great courtesy skill to practice. This point of courtesy also includes refilling and replacing shared office items. Whether it’s the toilet paper, coffee, printer paper, etc.; it’s always best to think empathetically about the space member who comes next. Using a space’s amenities while also trying to be self-sufficient should be the objective.
Keep a pleasant voice level (especially when making calls).
Nobody is thrilled to sit next to a Mr. or Mrs. Loud Cell Phone Talker. However, this is a common courtesy issue that most coworking space members have committed. If a coworking space has a flexible conference room or phone booth, it is always best to plan the phone call, reserve a space to take the call, and repeat as needed. When planning for a call isn’t an option—simply keeping a pleasant, inside voice is always a safe bet.
Be friendly and make connections.
This one speaks for itself. There is no way for one person to grow without the help of others. Being nice and making friends when possible is a sure-fire way to have a beneficial coworking experience. What’s more, coworking spaces are hubs where professionals from all industries meet and collaborate. Being a nice guy or a swell gal might just be the avenue toward landing a new deal or receiving some help on a future project.
Leaving a coworking space and closing out membership is not something that many people have had to do before. While coworking spaces are meant to be very flexible, transition in and out of membership should again begin with a conversation with the Community Manager. The coworking industry has adopted some standard practices that make cancelling membership a breeze…
Give ample amount of notice
Each coworking space has its own rules to what “ample” time should be. However, airing on the side of giving more notice than less will often work to a member’s advantage when looking to cancel. What’s more, giving ample notice of departure will often save some money as well. For example, if a coworking space bills on the same day each month—giving the manager a heads up on when to stop the billing cycle will ensure an individual is not charged an unnecessary extra month. Additionally, members will be able to ask for a prorated last month of membership if their cancelling date happens to land mid-billing cycle.
Return any coworking space keys and any space property.
Coworking spaces offer an array of ways to enter a space so that members are able to work 24 hours a day, and seven days a week if they so choose (not sure anyone has achieved this level of “having no life” yet). In any event, members must return any physical keys, swipe cards, or close out of any mobile applications that grant entry to the coworking space. Returning keys on time is important for space security and ensures all members have the access they need. In many other cases, coworking spaces allow members to rent monitors, computer mouses, office supplies, etc. For many obvious reasons, it is best to return these items when closing out membership at the local coworking space.
Following the rules of coworking certifies that joining as a member and cancelling membership is an easy process. Current owners of coworking spaces all across the world are involved in a brand-new industry. As pioneers in the coworking industry, each owner, manager, and member have a hand in revolutionizing the coworking marketspace for future generations. So, practicing common courtesy inside a local shared office is a great way to contribute to a successful coworking industry. Whether you are joining a brand-new space or cancelling membership, remember that coworking is all about community. Don’t be a stranger, keep in touch, continue to attend events and network with your fellow coworkers to transform the way America works together. Happy coworking.