9 Key Tips for Shared Office Space Etiquette

Return to Shared Office Space in Many Forms

During this past year, many businesses and professionals returned to working from office space in some form. While some companies with permanent office space mandated a full return to working five days a week, most have embraced a hybrid work environment where employees work from a designated workspace a specified number of days per week and from their home the remainder of the week. 

But some businesses decided to jettison permanent office space altogether, adopting either a 100% remote workforce model or turning to shared coworking space. For many solopreneurs, the slog of working every day from the home office during the pandemic was too much, and they also have turned to shared coworking space or day offices—either full time or for specified days and times.

9 Shared Office Space Etiquette Tips

As it has been a couple years since many professionals have worked from a shared office space, a quick reminder on etiquette might be in order. Plus, in the post-pandemic world, additional attention to shared office space etiquette is likely warranted. Following are some tips that businesses and professionals may want to heed when returning to shared office space environments.

Respect Boundaries

For shared office space environments where there are dedicated workspaces allocated, it is important to avoid using those. Don’t camp out in a dedicated workspace without permission to do so, stop and peruse a book sitting in the workspace, borrow pen or paper, or look at documents (stored or not stored) in the area. For professionals working in a workspace—dedicated or hot—you need to avoid interrupting them or having work and personal conversations right outside of their space. 

Maintain Work and Meeting Schedules

When working from a shared office space environment, make sure you keep to a schedule. If you’re in a hot desk, then you need to be respectful of those using the desk before and after you. Don’t show up 5 or 10 minutes before your time begins and stand waiting on the professional who has the space reserved before you to wrap up things. Stand around the corner or sit in the lobby until your time at the hot desk begins. When wrapping up work in the workspace, you should not wait until a minute before your time is finished to clean up the workspace. Rather, you should begin a few minutes beforehand cleaning up the workspace and packing up your things so you don’t encroach into the time of the person who has the space after you.  

When you’re using a rented meeting space, the same applies. Employ efficient time management so that you wrap up things a few minutes before your time allotment expires so those who have the rented meeting space after you are forced to wait on you to pack up everything and vacant the space. 

Clean Up the Shared Office Space When Done Working

Cleaning up the workspace was applicable before the pandemic; it is even more important in the post-pandemic world. Workers come and go throughout the day, and thus it is critical that you keep the workspace from which you’re working clean. The last thing anyone wants to do is deal with a mess—napkins, cups of coffee, and other personal items—left behind by a previous coworker or user of a coworking space. You should always wipe down everything in a workspace before you use it and when you’re finished.

When it comes to the broader shared office space environment, you should make sure to avoid leaving unused food and beverages in the refrigerator and unwashed dishes and silverware in the sink or countertops. You need to make sure to wash them and put them away.

Manage Your Noise

One of the biggest distractions in a shared office space such as coworking space can be noise. Sound carries much easier in a shared open office where there aren’t cubicles and walls. This is important to avoid talking loudly in public areas. When in workspace areas, you need to ensure that you practice care not to disturb others—not just in talking to others and speaking on the phone but sounds working such as clicking on the keyboard and talking to others on video conference calls. 

You should always familiarize yourself with the noise policy of the coworking space where you’re working. Some of these policies may spell out what can and cannot be done during different parts of the day. 

Be Considerate of Shared Spaces

Per the above notations, professionals need to be considerate when using shared workspaces. This means you don’t leave personal things that the next person must clean up—empty cups, napkins, plates, and food crumbs, among others. This also means you must be aware of the time and when your reservation time ends and the time for the next user begins. Lastly, you need to be aware of your neighbors in the shared office space, making sure you don’t interrupt their work or create distractions.

Don’t Abuse Services and Amenities

Many shared coworking spaces come with a number of different administrative services and amenities. These can be a big efficiency booster. For example, when booking shared rented meeting room space, you should be sensitive to all other businesses and professionals in the coworking space. When leveraging staff for help photocopying and faxing documents, catering beverages and food, and cleaning up rented meeting rooms and workspace, you need to be sensitive to asking office space staff for assistance. 

Use Meeting Rooms for Meetings

Nearly all coworking space comes with rented meeting rooms that can be reserved by the hour, half-day, or even full day. For businesses in coworking spaces, they need to avoid using the office space to hold meetings. Rather, if you have a subject or issue that warrants a conversation that create noise and disturb other workers in the space, you need to rent one of the meeting rooms in the office space. 

Keep Private Conversations Private

All of us have virtual and in-person private conversations. These need to be kept private. If you have a virtual video conference call where private matters need to be discussed, you need to reserve a day office or rented conference room. Don’t put private matters at risk of broader exposure—either within your business or to other professionals and businesses using the same office space. When faced with a delicate situation at work—from a difficult performance review, feedback to a coworker, and termination of an employee or vendor relationship—be mindful of those conversations; these need to be kept private and in most instances held in a day office or rented conference room. 

Stay Home If You’re Sick

In our post-pandemic world, it is disrespectful and very poor etiquette to show up at work when you are ill. The same is true if you begin to develop symptoms while working from an office space; if you start feeling ill, go home immediately. Don’t put your coworkers and businesses and professionals in your office space at risk. Also, when you become ill after working from an office space, make sure to let your HR department—and/or the administrator of the office space—know so they can monitor any interactions between you and others in the office space.

Using Proper Etiquette in All Office Space

Ensuring you follow appropriate shared office space etiquette is more important than ever. For businesses with dedicated, permanent office space, documenting and educating your workers on proper etiquette should occur during onboarding as well as a regular basis across your workforce. For businesses using shared office space like coworking space, day offices, and rented meeting rooms from providers like Davinci Meeting Rooms, it is important for each worker to adhere to a certain etiquette of respect for others in the office space. 


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