When you spend more time at your desk than you do at home, office etiquette is something that we all must be aware of.
In a normal office environment, you can’t just act any way you like and forget your manners. Otherwise, your bad habits could stop you from getting a promotion. The way you conduct yourself when with your peers or colleagues gains respect, eliminates office disputes, and helps build and maintain a great company culture.
Practicing good workplace etiquette is even more important when you use a coworking space since it is a place shared by many people you’ve never met before in an open office layout.
Nobody wants to hear you talking to your buddy about your weekend, so step outside or to a private space for personal calls. And, if you know that a business call is going to take more than a few minutes, see if a meeting room is available so you can chat away without disturbing others.
Common courtesy and politeness never go unappreciated, and it’s good to get to know your fellow coworkers. Say hello in the morning, open a door for someone, or offer your help when you can. Be careful not to cross any boundaries though – you don’t want any harassment complaints.
Messy desks = messy minds, and frankly, no one wants to look at your rubbish lying around. When you finish with something, put it in the bin. Office kitchen etiquette is also something to think about since you are sharing the space with others. If you use a dish, wash it and put it back in its place. And if your food explodes in the microwave, clean it up!
You may enjoy a delicious curry or fish snack for your lunch, but everyone around you will no doubt be bothered by the smell. You really don’t want to be the one responsible for stinking up the working space so take your lunch into the eating area or kitchen. Same goes for chips and other snacks – the sound of a bag of chips rustling can get on others’ nerves, so step out for a few minutes and have a break while you eat.
This is standard office etiquette no matter where you are working. Going to the coworking space when you are sick is disrespectful and annoying to others. Since you can do all your work from your laptop anyway, stay at home and work from there instead.
Remembering that the meeting spaces are there for everyone to use is extremely important. You’re not going to be very popular if you consistently have the rooms booked out so no one else can use them. If you do have a lot of meetings, try taking some of them off-site to a café every now and then, or ask your coworkers if anyone might need the space before you book it. This also applies to the chillout spaces – make sure to balance your time between your desk and these areas so others have a chance to use them too.
While it’s nice to chat away with your fellow coworkers, some people might not have time to do so. If someone looks like they are deep in concentration, leave them to it. This also means talking quietly so as not to disturb those who don’t want to be.
We all know how annoying it is to hear someone’s phone beeping repeatedly. While in the coworking space, put all phone and computer notifications on silent and make sure to use headphones if you want to listen to music.
Rules are made for a reason, and coworking spaces are no exception. While your host will no doubt want to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible, they may have certain policies that they must enforce on their guests like smoking only in designated areas, or no drinking of alcohol. If you don’t follow these rules, you may find yourself being shown the door.
At Garage Society, we embrace office etiquette and provide a welcoming and respectful environment for entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers, and professionals. Please feel free to contact us at any time to learn more or to arrange a tour at any of our coworking locations across Asia.
Author: Ching Lam Ip, Programme & Marketing Lead, Garage Society
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