The Etiquette of the New Economy: Coworking Protocol

For many, the new economy means freelancing, consulting, entrepreneurship, or a combination of all three. Despite the short commute from bedroom to home office, working from home can be isolating, and burgeoning coworking spaces offer an alternative to lonely pajama-clad soloists. These open plan coworking spaces aren’t like your neighborhood Starbucks; they’re equipped with wifi, conference rooms, kitchens, desks, workbenches, and plenty of power outlets. Most important, they’re filled with other people, and networking is not just possible, it’s encouraged.

As with traditional offices, there are certain rules of etiquette that must be observed. Sarah Gabot, writing in The Sqwiggle Blog, enumerates the good manners of coworking. Some of the more obvious rules include cleaning up common areas and not disturbing people wearing headphones. Others are unique to coworking: Say hello to your neighbors, and make a point of being interested in other people’s work.

Many coworking spaces use mobile desk and bench systems such as these Swiftspace workspaces. In the coworking world, mobile office furniture has its own unwritten Emily Post rule: Feel free to move it wherever you like, but put it back when you’re through.

Coworking can offer rich opportunities for creative collaboration, professional networking, and business growth. Just remember to be polite, don’t hog the conference room, and if you finish the coffee, be a sweetheart and start another pot.


Photo © Lee Torrens – Fotolia