What are the rules of coworking? What to expect
Often in life, there are rules, rules of the golf club, rules for this and that, almost anything you join or wherever you work, there are rules to obey.
So are there rules to coworking? What do I need to know? What can I expect?
Like everything in life, there are different versions of the same thing, so the generic term ‘coworking’ covers anything from a shared office, some serviced offices, people who have a few spare desks in the offices they let out, to dedicated coworking spaces.
Similar to the cost of coworking, there are many different options and services on offer and therefore a number of different rules. Also, the culture of the space and the dynamics of the community engenders many unwritten rules that people will adhere to without realising.
Each space that I have visited, beyond the large more corporate feeling spaces, has it’s own slightly unique vibe, culture and feel. Often set by the owner of the space and her values.
Some of the expectations can be gained from a visit to the website of a particular space, if for example, there are lots of photos of people with suits, then turning up wearing ripped jeans, a beanie hat, and a ‘Unfuck The World’ T-shirt is not likely to go down well with the crowd (true story).
Dress code – do I need to wear a uniform? Well, I have yet to visit a space that has specified a dress code, unless you include the IOD (Institute of Directors) as coworking now, but as mentioned above, you need to check out the space a little bit before as 1 Alfred Place in London is very different to, say, 90 Main Yard.
Making calls and talking – some places have quiet areas, where it is not allowed to talk, make calls and noise, most of them then offer an area for calls, socialising and of course meeting space. A great example is the Mutinerie in Paris. Others will allow all of the above wherever. So if quiet space is your thing, then check out the spaces policy on this or ask if they have a quiet area.
Visitors – at your home office you’re less likely to bring visitors, so if you are used to going to a cafe to catch up with potential customers or colleagues, then this is one to find out about, some spaces are relaxed and as long as the ‘visitors’ don’t come every day and start working all day, then most spaces are OK with you bringing a visitor. However, some will require you to book a meeting room.
Hours of work – if you are a freelancer, then you are used to working all different hours to fit in with your life and that can mean the best time for you is early morning or late evening. So again some spaces do have an opening and closing times, or when you can work until. Then some are 24/7 operations, where you can come and go as you please.
Pets – this is a big one, not that many allow pet alligators or snakes, but some allow dogs. Now, this is great if you are a dog owner or if you love dogs, not so great if you are allergic to dogs or don’t particularly like them. So if you want a dog-free space check or the other way round, if you want to take Milo to work, check before you set off.
Others rules that you may come across could be around food consumption, use of meeting space, use of facilities, printing and so on.
My advice would be to check their website for FAQ page, alternatively a quick email or call. Lastly, check whether the space offers a trial or day pass, so that you can thoroughly check it out before committing to a membership.
Check out Copass, many of their spaces offer free trial days
What are the rules at @Work Hubs:
My philosophy is that 99.99999% of humans, well virtually all, are decent, honest, well behaved, respectful and reasonable people, and if you set out your values clearly, then you tend to attract like-minded people which tends to create harmony. So rules are unnecessary and a negative.
Respect is a big thing and trust is too. I trust our members to respect others and in nearly 5 years of operating, I have yet had the need to impose rules or to speak to someone about their behaviour.
There are two rules:
1. Respect each other.
2. Do your own washing up.
The rest is unwritten, as people know how to behave and be respectful.