Coworking etiquette: Are you a “co-worker” or a “co-irker”

coworking etiquette
Coworkers at work. Male and female programmers and designers. Team coworking man and woman in office, programmer community coworker. Vector illustration

Coworking might be the newest and coolest big thing in the business world, but it has also given rise to a new office label – a “co-irker.”

Co-irkers are basically people who work in coworking environments and don’t follow coworking etiquette.

With coworking offices on the ascent in Australia, hundreds of thousands of Australians are figuring out how to get the best out of these coworking arrangements.

Just like any office, coworking spaces are going to have a set of etiquette that workers should abide by in order to maintain a healthy and fun work environment. Coworking environments offer something that traditional office environments simply don’t. If you follow the étiquette, you’ll get so much more out of the experience of coworking and probably plenty of new business as everyone networks.

If coworking is the future of office working, it’s important that we all understand the étiquette of coworking so we can get the best out of it.

Folley has the following list of dos and don’ts for coworking environments:

  1. Don’t be too noisy: Don’t stand in hallways talking loudly on your phone, gather or have robust conversations with others in the corridors. Your colleagues might be fine with it, but employees from other businesses might not be. Our @WORKSPACES offices include soundproof booths and areas where you can shut yourself off from the rest of the office. Every coworking office should have these. Use them.
  2. Dress appropriately: “Even though you might not need to dress your best on a particular day, your friends from other businesses might need you to in order to portray a professional environment in front of their clients. No business wants their clients to be confronted with poorly dressed people, even if they’re from another business.
  3. Leave the kitchen as you found it: “This is a problem that all offices face, and coworking environments are no different. In coworking offices, there can be a sense that you don’t own the kitchen so you don’t have to maintain it. But once you’ve been in a coworking environment for long enough you realise how silly that is. While we have cleaners that do maintain common areas, leaving an area as you found it is really important.
  4. It’s not your lounge room: Most coworking offices have a common area. For instance, our @WORKSPACES offices offer a range of common areas for relaxing and informal gatherings. I’ve occasionally seen people use such spaces as if it’s their own personal lounge room at home. It’s not. It’s important that we’re mindful that although common areas can be quite large, they’re for everyone.
  5. Don’t poach staff: Coworking offices have a number of different businesses operating in the same office. It’s natural that you’re going to find people you want to bring over to your team. If you’re interested in hiring someone from another business, go through the correct channels. Speak to their manager and the business owner first. Poaching can cause divides in the office environment and make things very awkward, so tread carefully.
  6. Be friendly and engaging: One of the main reasons people join coworking offices is that they want a social environment whilst they work. They don’t want to be cooped up at home, alone and miserable. One of the main advantages of coworking spaces is that you get to network and collaborate with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. If you’re friendly and engaging, I promise it will be good for your social life, and your business as well.

Jenny Folley, Founder and Managing Director, @WORKSPACES