Co-working spaces are increasingly becoming popular as the new workplace among up-and-coming entrepreneurs. We list the dos and don’ts to get the best results when you opt to work from one.
A wave of new entrepreneurship is sweeping across the country, as increasingly more youngsters forsake the traditional find-a-job-in-a-reputed-company career path in favour of starting their own businesses. An interesting by-product of this development is the huge rise in the number of co-working spaces on offer across the major cities in the country. As the name implies, a co-working place is an office where self-employed people, not connected with each other, work in the same space using common facilities like Wi-Fi, support staff, conference rooms, pantry, etc. A typical co-working space is one where you hire a table or two to work for a short, medium or long term. The obvious reason for opting for a co-working space is that in the early stages, an entrepreneur has very few employees and consequently does not want to be burdened with the cost and headache of running a full-fledged office, even if it is a small one.
Unlike in a regular office, in a co-working space, one is working with a constantly changing cast of self-employed co-workers who have no connection to the work you do. Not surprisingly, a different set of rules applies when it comes to everyone’s working style and workplace etiquettes. So, if you are a budding entrepreneur looking to start out on your own from a co-working space, LIS lists ten things you should keep in mind if you want to get the best out of your new work environment.
1) Treat the co-working place as a community: Though everyone working in a co-working space might not belong to the same organisation, like in a company office, the place is still more than just space where you are renting just a table. It is a place where you will be coming to work every day alongside dozens of others who are single-person entrepreneurs like you. So creating a community spirit that embraces all co-workers is an essential ingredient in creating a positive workplace environment, where everyone feels at home when they walk in every morning. Do your bit to foster this community spirit.
2) Try and show up for work every day: It is easy to be lazy when you are working for yourself. Showing up every day at work is not only good for your mental makeup and self-discipline, but it also provides a great deal of creative satisfaction. And from the co-working point of view, it sends the message to your co-workers that you are serious about what you do.
3) Don’t be aloof and non-communicative: Unlike when working in a regular office, you are perfectly entitled to be left alone and doing your own thing in a co-working environment. But cutting yourself off from your co-workers is not a very good idea. Friendly interactions with others not only promotes a sense of camaraderie and friendliness in office but also helps you relax and de-stress.
4) Use your co-workers as a sounding board: A corollary to the previous point --- it is more than likely that some of your co-users are more experienced than you are. Developing acquaintance and friendship could lead to surprising rewards like business leads, new ideas and unexpected solutions to problems you are facing. You could learn from similar mistakes they have made in the past, and more importantly, they could help open doors that could prove to be very helpful.
5) Provide advice and help to co-workers: As you would benefit from the wisdom of your co-workers, it is more than likely that others would ask you for help and advice. Do not hesitate to provide them. It is always a two-way street. Helping each other will ensure success for everyone.
6) Celebrate the success of your co-workers: It is only human to feel envious of a co-user if he has had a major success in what he or she is doing, and you are probably still struggling. Instead of retreating into your shell, you should celebrate their success. Cheer for them, promote them on social media, attend a party if he or she is hosting one in office or outside. Besides developing a sense of camaraderie, it will help you network with new people, and it is more than likely that they will do the same thing for you.
7) But don’t overdo your friendliness bit: While occasional interactions and chit-chats with your workers are essential and beneficial, too much of it will have negative consequences. Remember a co-working place is for working and not bantering. Others will find it as a nuisance and might start avoiding you. You will be in danger of being labelled as the guy to avoid. And of course, it will affect your own work as well.
8) Keep your noise level down: Most co-working spaces are open plan offices, and so it is essential that everyone keeps their decibel levels low when talking on the phone or when chatting with someone at the next table.
9) Mind your manners: Most co-working places have common facilities where you need to be mindful of the fact that others are equally entitled to them. The conference room is one example. If you have booked a slot, it is important that that you finish your meeting within the allocated time, and not linger on. Remember someone is waiting to use it after you. Also, ensure that all the furniture is put back in their proper place, and the writing board is wiped clean. The pantry is another place where you need to be careful about how you use it. Make sure you don’t leave dirty dishes behind, tidy up the wash basin after use, and don’t clutter the refrigerator. Similar rules apply if there is a dining area in the office.
10) Give constant feedback: It is always good to be in touch with the owners/managers of your co-working facility to provide them feedback on how the place is being run and used. Both positive and negative feedback is essential to make the place better. After all, this is where you are likely to be spending one-third of your day.
So, here’s wishing you the best as you embark on your entrepreneurial career from a co-working space.
Image Credits: Levels, Startupxplore