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The Do and Do Not of Coworking

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Having more than one person under one roof can present problems, as anybody who has been in a relationship, shared an apartment, been in a band or travelled with a group for a prolonged time could attest to.

So just imagine how many problems sharing a place of work with ten, twenty, fifty or even more than one hundred people could result in.

This is why we’ve created the do and do not of coworking, with help from the good folk down at Queens Collective in Melbourne, Australia.

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The Do and Do Not of Coworking

  1. 1. The Do and Do Not of Coworking
  2. 2. DO Share Your Idea Coworking is about much more than a desk, a chair and a wifi connection. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! It’s about the assisted serendipity that comes from sharing a workspace with others and sharing what you’re working on. Welcoming the insights, collaborating with and accessing the networks of your coworkers are some of the major benefits of coworking.
  3. 3. DON’T Protect Your Idea For Dear Life As indicated in the previous slide, the benefits of coworking come from the collective knowledge, networks and ideas of the community. If you want to protect your idea from prying eyes and ears, then perhaps you are better suited in a private serviced office or working from home. ! ! ! ! ! ! !
  4. 4. DO Enter A Quiet Area If Taking A Long Call There’s nothing worse than being privy to a 30-minute sales call of one of your coworkers while you’re trying to put together a financial model or some other task requiring bucket loads of cognitive energy. Excuse yourself and take the call in a quiet space such as a quiet room, a vacant meeting space, a designated call booth or outside if necessary. This especially applies to smaller spaces with twenty or less coworkers as opposed to large buzzy spaces that sound almost like the NASDAQ trading floor. Note: Taking many short calls in succession does not excuse you, in case you were wondering.
  5. 5. DON’T Treat Common Areas Like Your Personal Office This extends to cleaning up after yourself, pumping your own tunes whenever you feel the sudden need to blast some Skrillex and leaving a mess that extends across three desk spaces and has people climbing over bags and heaps of paper to get to their chair. Be cool. ! ! ! ! ! ! !
  6. 6. DO Ask Somebody If They Have A Minute Before Interrupting We’ve all been there. You’re knee deep into putting together a proposal and are now finally well and truly ‘in the zone’ after an otherwise slow start to the day. Then you’re interrupted and the cognitive switching penalty, the time taken to re-focus after switching your mindset to something else, kicks in. The end result? Lost productivity. It can take five to forty-five minutes to refocus. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! While coworkers all enjoy the social and community aspects that coworking brings, don’t forget the ‘work’ in coworking space.
  7. 7. DON’T Disturb People With Headphones On This is no different to the golden rule that many a weightlifting male subscribes to in gyms across the world. Don’t hit on girls wearing headphones in the gym. This same rule applies in coworking spaces. Headphones on means leave me alone. ! ! ! ! ! ! !
  8. 8. DO Check Meeting Room Availability Before Use We hate having to kick people out of a meeting room, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually booked the space or not. Save us the inconvenience, check room availability and book it before making yourself comfortable. ! ! ! ! ! !
  9. 9. DON’T Take Other People’s Food (or Beer.) So you like making yourself a coffee in the mid afternoon or perhaps reaching for a beer late in the day, only to find that somebody has taken your stash. Who does that you ask? Apparently, quite a few people, according to our survey respondents. Respect the possessions of others and, if you must take something, be sure to replace it asap or make it up to the person who has been victim to the misdemeanors of your mischievous hands. ! ! ! ! ! !
  10. 10. DO Clean Up After Yourself One would assume this a common courtesy but there’s no shortage of coworking spaces out there with dirty dishes on bench-tops or in sinks and coffee stain mugs on tables. Coworking spaces would be that much more pleasant if people just cleaned up after themselves. It’s not hard to put that dish in the dishwasher or take a minute to wash it yourself. Show the space the same respect you’d show your own home, after all, you probably spend more time in the space than you do at home anyway! ! ! ! ! !
  11. 11. DON’T Leave Dirty Dishes in the Sink Pretty self-explanatory really. ! ! ! ! ! !
  12. 12. DO Ask Others If and How You Can Help Me, me, me! While it’s easy to get caught up in your project and pitch it to no end, show an interest and ask people what they’re working on every now and again. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! If you can add some value or extend an introduction to a valuable third party, offer it. It often comes back in droves. #goodkarma
  13. 13. DON’T Pitch Your Tent in Meeting Rooms Whether you love them or hate them, meetings are a necessary evil when it comes to business. Sure, this writer has thoughts on the quality and number of meetings held in the corporate world being way beyond excessive, but in many cases, they can’t be avoided. So only spend the time you absolutely need in a meeting room and don’t hang around debriefing and loitering afterwards. Respect the needs of your coworkers and if you need a meeting room all around the clock, then maybe hire one exclusively or use a private team room that many coworking spaces offer.
  14. 14. DO Say Hello To Your Coworkers Pretty straightforward. While we have a tendency to get super busy (this does not mean super productive by the way!), taking a minute to show an interest in your coworkers’ lives, particularly upon your or their arrival in the office isn’t going to derail your business trajectory and send it spiraling into obscurity to join Pets.com or Sony’s Walkman. ! ! ! ! ! !
  15. 15. DON’T Play Offensive Music We all have different taste so in a space of say, twenty or fifty people, it’s going to be hard to satisfy everyone’s preferences. Play a mix and don’t play offensive music unless you’re sure you can get away with it. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Note: Offensive music extends to Taylor Swift and Nicky Minaj.
  16. 16. DO Respect Your Coworkers Respect their work, time, space and without stating the blatantly obvious, don’t do anything that may make a coworker uncomfortable. Put simply, don’t be a d*ck. !
  17. 17. DON’T Bring Offensive Smells Making a tuna milkshake and then heating it in the microwave? Ain’t nobody got time for that in a coworking space! Smell can be as disruptive as noise so think twice before you nuke last night’s curry. As an added side-note, should you fail to heed this advice and nuke last night’s curry anyway, make sure you clean the microwave in the event of a food explosion!
  18. 18. DO Ask Others For Song Requests and Be Conscientious of Volume Levels if ‘DJing’ So, the idea of turning up to work and having Armin Van Buuren DJ a 3 hour trance mega-mix might sound good to some, but the reality is quite different. If you’ve assumed the role of ‘DJ for the day’ at your coworking space, be conscientious of people’s taste, the space’s demographics, volume levels (there’s work to be done) and perhaps try and align the tunes with the time of day. ! Blasting Metallica’s Master of Puppets at 9am might serve as good wake up call, but it’s hardly going to get people in the right mindset to get their day started. ! Check out this article for some ideas on aligning music with the time of day, work type and productivity levels. !
  19. 19. DON’T Take Catering Reserved For Guests Of External Events Coworking spaces are a great space to host events of all persuasions. Often, external parties will rent out coworking spaces to hold meet-ups and talks on any number of things often associated with the startup ecosystem. Think virtual reality, lean startup, the internet of things, UX design, coding in Ruby, the sharing economy and so on. ! ! ! Events cost money to promote and run so while you might be hitting an early evening dip in your PHP coding output, don’t use it as an excuse to steal that slice of pizza intended for a paying customer of an event. There are over 50,000 7-Elevens in the world, after all.

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