The workplace team at Jasmax, more and more, are being asked to design workplaces for shared use. Commonly referred to as “co-working”, it opens up a world of working how you want, with who you want, in exactly the same building footprint. Just as social media enables us to share our lives online, open, shared spaces provide great opportunities to share at work. But there’s a culture and etiquette that goes with sharing.
Here are 10 tips for co-working that we've learnt along the way:
Create ‘neighbourhoods’. Divide the spaces according to the different types of work you need to do. Quiet areas for focus, where there’s little or no conversation (no phone calls!) allowed. Places for the times when you want to get some ‘admin’ done - emails, general phone calls and other tasks that aren’t compromised by some interruption. Places for activity, where connectivity and collaboration is encouraged. And finally, remember to think about how these places work next to each other – you’d win no favours making the focus and the collaborative zones neighbours.
Bump and connect! Co-working offers some of the greatest opportunities for connecting and collaborating of any type of workspace. Good co-work spaces are designed to enable you to bump into people, to network, encourage one another and to share ideas. So instead of charging head down to the first available desk, slow down and take advantage of those possibilities.
Plant your personality. It’s not quite etiquette; it’s more about dressing your space. But it has its own ethos. People respond to greenery, it plays a role in balancing the quality of indoor environment and adds some softness and personality.
Consider others when you’re on the phone. They can hear your conversation, and may be concentrating. If the zone you’re working in prohibits phone calls, set your phone to silent and walk away before you answer. You’ll earn the respect of your co-workers and be part of setting the right culture and behaviours.
Zero footprint. Leave nothing behind. That means a clean, clear desk ready for someone to sit straight down and begin their work. Reset technology so it’s ready for the next person, and if you knock your flat white across the keyboard in a fit of excitement (or fury) then own it and sort it, accidents happen!
Keeping it clean. One of the biggest reservations about sharing is hygiene. Many co-work spaces are managed by independent operators and because you’re probably sharing equipment, keep your operator accountable for laundering it regularly – that means keyboards and mice too.
Don’t be an island! Because you’re changing desks, perhaps daily, you may not know the person next to you. Engage them in conversation (if you’re in a neighbourhood where talking is OK). Reach out and enjoy the company.
Eat in the café, not at your desk. Food is the basis of so many social interactions, the café is the perfect place to connect with others in a relaxed, engaging environment. Other spinoffs include cleaning up after yourself like it’s your own kitchen, and think about your food choices - that reheated curry may cause irritation or envy, are you prepared to risk it?
Make it personal. You may not have a space allocated specifically to you, but what’s to stop you from personalising that space for a day? Personalise your equipment, pin those family snaps to your digital desktop, treat yourself to a quality notebook and fountain pen. It’s easy to forget the freedom that comes with mobility, and sometimes it’s the little things that can be the difference for a conversation starter.
Linked-In In-person. Connecting online is almost effortless, but don’t forget to do it in real life too! Leverage the knowledge of all the people around you. Begin with a social occasion – get to know people away from the rigidity of a keyboard or camera. Foosball anyone?
Image: GridAKL - Auckland's first purpose built co-working facility, due for completion Oct 2017. Interior and spatial design by Jasmax.