What’s Good Etiquette in the CoWorking Space?

Etiquette in the CoWorking Space

With some predicting a freelance workforce at 50% by 2020, co-working etiquette is quickly becoming a defining component for any co-working space. And etiquette isn’t just about how the members behave, but also about how the co-working management sets expectations and upholds those standards. From loud phone calls to garlic shrimp at lunch, workplace behavior is about to get a whole lot trickier.

Let’s start with phone calls. With cell phone reception still far behind land line clarity, scream-talking is fairly commonplace. Plus, 95% of co-working members will be cell phone based. Phone booths are now standard for most co-working spaces, but they don’t solve all problems. For example, a quick phone call to a client can easily turn into an hour-long discussion. And if you need to be in front of a computer while talking, a phone booth or patio might not be a viable solution. Moreover, even those who occupy an office can be a bother if scream-talking with their door open.

This is why strong, gentle management is critical. Co-working contracts need to specify some basic expectations. “All calls longer than 3 minutes need to take place behind closed doors.” Then, when someone is scream-talking in the open or in an open office, the on-site manager can quickly step in and relieve the frustrations that the other workers are feeling.

Food is another major issue. As is slurping coffee. And chewing gum. Even someone clicking a pen or playing with their long hair can be enough of a distraction to drive hard-working members to find another location. The current generation of millennials isn’t known for their selfless lifestyle, and they will be the ones working freelance jobs at co-working offices.

Establishing a Code of Conduct is key in keeping co-working members happy. Enforcing the code means having an on-site Emily Post who can keep a reign on behavior. Ideally, your on-site manager would come with the inflexible gentility of a Savanah librarian. “Keep quiet or get out, sweetie-pie.”

Managing people has always been the most difficult part of any business. So, managing a collection of people who have no employment ties to each other or the office space means having a well-worded contract and a strict manager to enforce the rules.

(And everyone over the age of 25 will quietly say, “Thank you.”)