August 9, 2011
A guide to coworking etiquette
Here on NWjobs, we've sung the praises of coworking -- independent workers coming together in shared workspaces -- on more than one occasion. Today happens to be International Coworking Day, with a celebratory local event scheduled at Gasworks Park this afternoon (event details here).
To mark the day, I thought I'd post a list of etiquette tips for coworkers. Susan Evans, cofounder of Capitol Hill coworking space Office Nomads, was kind enough to contribute her insights for this list.
Don't assume anything. Before you bring your dog to work or spend half the day taking meetings by speakerphone, check your coworking space's policies on pets and noise volume. "Every space is a little different," Evans says. Some are quiet, some are more boisterous. It's important to suss out the culture right away. Office Nomads, for example, welcomes well-behaved dogs and offers conference and phone rooms where workers can take calls privately.
Turn down the ringer on your phone. Be respectful of your fellow coworkers. In the words of one Office Nomads member, "Don't leave your phone on I Need To Hear It While I'm On The Bus volume."
Always keep a set of headphones handy. Most coworking spaces will be louder than your local library branch, and certain times of day will be more social than others. "The morning is definitely much chattier," Evans says of Office Nomads. "There are plenty of long conversations going on in the kitchen." Sometimes the surrounding banter won't distract you. Other times it will. A good set of noise-cancelling headphones is a must. But as this Work Shifting blog post points out, humming along to your playlist is not advised.
Never leave an empty pot of coffee. "That's critical," Evans says. He who drinks the last cup of java and fails to brew a new pot risks suffering the scorn of his fellow coworkers.
Participate! Odds are your coworking space will host happy hours, potlucks, and other group events. Attend and you'll boost your chances of making new friends and finding new business leads. "That's the quickest way to have a successful experience coworking," Evans says. "It's not that coworking is excessively social, but it's as social as you want it to be."
To learn more about coworking, see the below video featuring Office Nomads cofounders Jacob Sayles and Susan Evans, or see the website Coworking.com.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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