When you work from home, putting your feet on the seats and showing up in your PJs is completely acceptable. But not so much when sharing a co-working space. Here are some top tips to ensure a harmonious ‘workplace’.

Common courtesy

Working in a collective business hub is, in many ways, just like working from a regular office. You are sharing a space with people who have different work habits to you, operate on different timelines and could also have vastly different ideas of work attire and personal hygiene. While your co-working space will have a set of rules when it comes to such things, it’s important to be professional at all times so you can enjoy coming to the hub and happily working alongside others.

Your space and my space

Co-working spaces offer a variety of places for your to work, whether it’s a ‘hot desk’ available on a casual basis or a more permanent space which you book on a regular basis so you can set up and personalise your work station. For more casual bookings, the golden rule is to not take up any more physical space than what is allocated to you by spreading out your laptop, workbooks, stationary or personal items into other people’s area. In some coworking spaces you can move between different pods or desks and that’s what is so wonderfully flexible – but try not to leave a ‘breadcrumb’ trail of your things along the way.

Use your ‘inside voice’

Everyone understands communication is key for business, and everyone does it differently. Some business owners use email to keep in touch with their clients and suppliers, whereas others need to speak directly to them by phone daily. When doing so, please remember there are others around you who are working as well and try to keep your voice at a reasonable level. And always avoid putting calls on speakerphones.

Don’t get into Dire Straits with your music

A lot of people love to listen to music through headphones while they work – it helps them to cut down on the distractions of an office environment when they need to focus on a task. Others prefer to do without the headphones and have music or the radio playing so everyone can hear it. Check with your hub’s management about their policy on this before you assume it’s OK, and also with your coworkers. Your choice to listen to death metal music while you work may not be particularly popular with everyone else.

Um, that’s my lunch

Forgot your ham and salad wrap for lunch today? Bummer. That doesn’t mean that you can help yourself to the leftover beef stew that Tim the part-time accountant who works off the hot desk by the window has brought in. It’s also helpful to clearly mark foods that are yours in a shared fridge or kitchen space to avoid ‘accidental’ usage. While we’re on the subject of food, nothing will endear you less to your fellow co-working people than heating up a fish curry from last night. Take it outside or bring something less pungent if you’re going to eat at your desk.

Forget the hard sell

Co-working spaces are excellent opportunities to network with other professionals and potentially collaborate on new or existing projects. Amazing new businesses have been formed across the world this way and it is one of the most exciting things about these environments. However, don’t take it as an opportunity to push your particular product or service on to everyone in your environment. You’ll quickly become known as ‘that guy/lady’.

Small gestures count

You are working in a shared space so you can afford things as a collective that you may not on your own – high-speed internet, printing facilities, professional meeting rooms and high-tech presentation equipment. So fill the printer’s paper tray when it’s empty, clear up your worksheets and cookie wrappers from the meeting rooms when you have finished and replace anything you’ve borrowed from other workers within a day or two.

Working in a co-working space is an amazing way to share resources, step up from your home office and meet engaging new business professionals. And, with a few very simple rules you can enjoy a very harmonious – and productive – workspace.