Could Co-working be for you?

Here are some DO’s and Don’ts

The number of people who work flexibly, in terms of location or employment status, is increasing in the UK.

It’s no surprise then that co-working office space is big business now. The co-working space provider WeWork is the biggest occupier of office space in London after the government. And across the world this work environment is becoming the norm for many.

But if you’ve been working home alone for a while, how do you ingratiate yourself back into an office environment? Perhaps you worked for the same company for a number of years and you knew everyone there really well.

Now, you’re going to have to mix with different people each day.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you make co-working a success:-

Watch your mouth

Remember that with all of these points, you are the face of your business.

Co-working spaces offer the chance to meet new people who you might be able to do business with. If you upset them by talking incessantly or too loudly, they might just give that new project to somebody else.

A joke might be funny to you but stop and think before you share it with someone else.

You are unlikely to know the people around you very well (if at all) so probably best to play it safe and save the jokes. You don’t want to inadvertently cause offence.

Talk to people that you’re working alongside and try to get to know them but save the excessive chat until you can go for a coffee with them. They may be too polite to tell you to be quiet but if they’re trying to work on something they won’t welcome your constant distraction.

Music in the office

As is the case in many public spaces, your music shouldn’t impact others. There is nothing more annoying than someone on public transport trying to be the DJ for everyone and playing music for all to hear. Make sure that if you like to work with music playing, you have good headphones.

Think security at all times

If you’re working from home and you go and make yourself a cup of tea, you can just leave everything where it is, computer screen on show. But now that you’re working in a public space you’ll need to be much more security conscious.

You’ll have to keep logging in to programmes and your computer, so make sure you have the passwords handy.

No, not written on a piece of paper on the desk. Use a password vault. It keeps a number of passwords in a secure digital location and it gives you the ability to use a single master password for accessing a number of different passwords used for different websites or services.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

No room hogging!

This is co-working guys.

That means you can’t spread all of your papers onto someone else’s desk. You can’t sit at a breakout table and expect nobody else to sit there. There are meeting rooms but they’re not intended to be used by one person for hours at a time.

If you don’t think you can stick to these rules, then we hate to break it to you, but maybe co-working spaces aren’t for you?

Keep it clean

Remember when you used to work in an office or work environment with other people? Well you’re back to that now. Don’t leave food in the fridge which is going to go off. People won’t expect to have to tidy up or clean up after you. If you spill something, clean it up and don’t leave rubbish on your desk at the end of the day. It’s common sense really.

Check before you bring your four-legged friend along

Some co-working spaces such as WeWork allow you to bring your dog but if you’re used to being at home with your furry friend, you may have to make other arrangements for them.

If you can bring them with you, consider that it will be new to them first of all, there may be other dogs around for them to get used to. Not everyone likes dogs, so it’s common courtesy to check before you bring them along. For some people, allergies make mixing with pets impossible.

Unpleasant smells

We didn’t have personal hygiene in mind here as that really goes without saying! Although, don’t be the extreme and spray deodorant, perfume or body sprays around.

Not everyone in a 5-mile radius wants to smell the same as you.

In fact, if someone has asthma, then it could have health impacts too. There are bathroom facilities available, so use them.

You’ll also need to be considerate about the food you eat in a co-working space.

Egg sandwiches are tasty but do you have to eat them at your desk? And if you’re bringing in hot food, think about how the aroma could be off-putting for others.

If in doubt, err on the side of caution. Some co-working spaces will have areas designed for you to enjoy your meals. Just think about others before you choose to sit and eat.

Who used up the milk?

You are not going to endear yourself to your fellow co-workers if you use the last of the milk and don’t replace it.

It’s very frustrating when you go to make a cup of tea only to find an empty milk bottle sitting on the side. If you use the last of it, make sure you provide a new bottle/carton.

If you go to the printer and the ink or paper has run out, make a call and get someone to come and restock.

Or do the job yourself if you need to.

Remember, you might be a freelancer but you are also part of a team now. A co-working space team.

Don’t let the side down.

If after consideration you think you can live by these guidelines, there are a number of co-working options available to you.

Do your research to find a workspace that’s not too small or too big, is going to suit your industry, isn’t going to break the bank and allows or doesn’t allow pets etc.

How can THP help?

You can find is a wealth of information about THP and the services we provide to businesses and individuals at www.thp.co.uk.

If you need any business advice at all, come and see us at one of our offices in CheamChelmsfordWansteadSaffron Walden and London City or call us on 020 8989 5147.

Join The Conversation
ICAEW
Member of the Legal Services Guild
Sign up for our Newsletter