Coworking Do’s and Don’t’s: Maintaining Relationships in a Coworking Space
Nearly everyone has worked with an annoying coworker—or perhaps more than one…or several—who had no concept of what it takes to develop and cultivate a harmonious work relationship. We have all met our share of Andy Bernards who seem to have never worked in an office environment before, lacking awareness of the organic social environment around him. You might have even left your previous job, thanks to such a character. Of course, as a solopreneur, freelancer, or startup owner, you might now thank them. Silently and from afar.
As you prepare to strike out on the next phase of your independent professional adventure at your Atlanta coworking space, you may shiver at the thought of meeting someone who doesn’t understand the finer points of the atmosphere. Worse yet, you may worry that you might just become the office pariah you fear so much. Never fear, the chances of your upsetting the naturally existing balance of your new coworking community are minimal due to the sheer fact that you care.
Heed a Few Key Do’s and Don’ts of Maintaining Relationships in Your New Coworking Space
The best relationships—coworking, friendship, or otherwise—tend to benefit from setting clear boundaries where everyone abides. By learning the general do’s and don’ts of a shared work space, you—and your startup crew, if you have one—will get the chance to enjoy a mutually rewarding relationship with your fellow coworkers.
At SharedSpace, we have our own horror stories that have helped us work to develop what we think is a pretty positive environment for our coworking community. It helps that they already seem to know them, but just so you feel more confident in your new digs, we want to share what we feel are the most important do’s and don’ts:
- Do Collaborate and Network. While there are times that everyone needs to hunker down and solitarily concentrate on their work, one of the biggest boons of coworking is the community. As independent workers, you already have something exciting in common, so go ahead and step out of your comfort zone, and collaborate and network when appropriate. You never know when a friendly chat in the common area will spark an idea for your business.
- Don’t Go Overboard with Communications. This “don’t” might seem like it is in direct contract with the first “do,” but hear us out. You might not realize just how closed-off you have felt while working at home. It is easy to get overly enthusiastic and downright chatty when you have been starving for human, or at least adult, contact and conversation. Monitor the behavior and cues of your coworker, in each case, and wind the conversation down if you note their need to get back to work. Or just ask if they need to break away. People tend to appreciate honest concern.
- Do Keep Things Tidy. Just like you clean up shared spaces if you have a roommate, it is important to keep things tidy at your Atlanta coworking space. While a coworking space is meant to be relaxing and casual, it is also a professional office where community members regularly host their own business clients.
- Don’t Make Unnecessary Noise. Whether you have a telephone call or are listening to music on your headphones while you work, mind the volume. Your shared office doesn’t need to silent as a tomb, but some ambient noise is more distracting than others. Again, monitor the environment for any response. And again, ask if you fear your Skype session was a bit too loud. You can adjust with more information.
Do You Feel More Confident About Your Future Coworking Relationships?
Our list of do’s and don’ts is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that you can do as you get to know your coworking community better, but the most important “do” of all is to pay attention to your surroundings and adjust your behavior, accordingly.
At SharedSpace, we love helping new coworkers adjust to the coworking environment. It’s even better when we get to see coworkers become increasingly comfortable and active within the community. If you are still worried about fitting into your coworking surroundings, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help you with any questions or concerns.