More and more companies and freelance workers are opting to share their workspace these days. It’s a cheap solution and usually works well, giving previously solitary work-from-homers (ahem) social contact and networking opportunities, as well as simply getting them out of their caves. Whether it’s a serviced office space in Victoria or the front window of a local coffee shop, there are basic rules that everyone must follow if they want to create a harmonious and productive working environment.
Read on to get these winning tips:
Think about others
A shared office or a coffee shop might look and feel like it’s informal and easy-going, but everyone there is trying to get some work done to, you know, eat. If you have to make a lot of phone calls – especially if you’re Skyping and like to swear every time you lose the connection – maybe go into a private room or stay at home that day.
If it’s a sudden call, take it outside and maybe reschedule it to a better time. Speakerphone is out! Use headphones if you like and look around to see if anyone’s being distracted by you – if they are, move away.
Talk to your co-workers
Even to the people you don’t work with. Shared offices can lead to some brilliant collaborations and ideas – if someone next to you works in a different field they may have a different perspective or solution, or know someone else who does. So strike up a convo now and then!
On the other hand, if you need a bit of time to focus on a project, let people know. If you’re usually amenable, co-workers won’t mind the occasional raincheck for coffee or brainstorming. Keeping communication lines open builds trust and understanding.
Every working environment has the potential for conflict – lots of different personality types are slung together for eight or more hours, five (or more) days a week and this can get tense. Try to spot potential flashpoints and work out how to defuse them. If a desk-neighbour has the uncanny ability to play Taylor Swift when you’re 15 minutes from deadline with that client, refrain from violence and say “I just love “Shake it Off”, but I have to get this report into <that client> by 3.00pm and you know how they are… Can we listen to her together later?”
Always be prepared
Think about what you need to get a day’s work done. Snacks, hand cream, water bottle, headphones; oh, and a laptop and phone. Just because you’re sharing an office space doesn’t mean you can pilfer Becky’s moisturiser and co-opt her charging cable. It’s OK to ask to borrow things occasionally, but only if you’ve forgotten your own. You should at least possess everything you need. On the other (smooth) hand, be ready to lend things to people if they’re stuck.
These tips will help you to settle into any working environment and make a success of it, as well as make some important contacts and even some lifelong friends.