Coworking is about collaboration, community, sustainability, openness, and accessibility. You get out of it no less than what you put into it – but you might get a great deal more, especially if you follow some simple coworking etiquette rules.

Many of these tips are simple common sense, but based on many coworkers’ experiences of shared office space, they bear repeating:

Be a good steward of the space.

Leave no trace. Or at least, leave your coworking space as clean as you found it. Don’t leave food wrappers or dirty cups on the desks. Reorganize supplies if you’ve been shuffling through them. Wipe down surfaces, push in chairs, etc. Do all the little things that make a space tidy. That includes cleaning up after your guests.

Bring your own supplies. Try to view the supplies at your coworking space as being for emergency use only. If you borrow something from another coworker, return or replace it as soon as you can.

If you see something that needs to be done, do it. If you pour out the last of the coffee, start a new pot. Refill the paper in the printer when the tray is empty.

Be a good neighbor.

Use a quiet phone voice. This is one of the biggest pet peeves in traditional offices, and an even bigger one in a shared workspace. If you need to speak loudly because your caller can’t hear you, go into the hallway so you don’t disturb your neighbors.

Also, if you use a headset, be aware that people often don’t realize how loud their own volume outside the headset. If you’re getting dirty looks, you might want to ask if you’re being too loud.

If you’re watching a video or listening to music, use headphones. Keep your voice down when conversing with others. Don’t be the loud person everyone wishes would leave.

Try to keep colognes and other scents to a minimum. Many people are sensitive to strong odors.

Speaking of which, try not to bring obnoxious-smelling food, and never microwave fish of any kind. It’s a smell that lingers, and not in a good way.

Use respectful table manners. If you can, eat in the break room rather than at your desk. If not, eat quietly. For some, hearing someone else chew is incredibly irritating.

Don’t make others clean up after you. Throw away your food trash promptly. Wash your dishes or put them in the dishwasher rather than leaving them on the counter or in the sink.

Respect the community.

Coworking is all about community. Be a contribution.

Be friendly. Say hello to people. Listen to others if and when they speak to you.

Be courteous. Open doors, and hold the elevator.

Make connections. That’s what coworking spaces are for. If you’re an introvert who prefers to work quietly most of the time, that’s fine. But make an effort to talk to your coworkers. Offer support and be willing to engage.

Ask for help when you need it, but don’t create drama. Coworking is about collaboration and sustainability. Try not to make others uncomfortable.

Be nice to your community manager and receptionist. They are there to help you, but don’t take advantage. They’re an integral part of the community and should be treated accordingly.

Be inclusive: invite others into the community, and welcome diversity.

Respect boundaries.

Only use the space you paid for, and only for as long as you paid for. Don’t pile your things on the hot desk next to you just because it looks empty.

Don’t monopolize the conference room, meeting room, office, or phone booth if you’re not using it.

If you want to have a conversation with someone, ask if it’s a good time. Notice obvious cues that people want to be left alone, such as wearing headphones or reading intently.

Don’t join just to network, or spam fellow members. Coworking is not about how members can help you, it’s about how you can all help each other. It’s about building relationships and creating possibilities.

Join LawWorks.

If you’re a lawyer, we want you to be part of our work space and community. We’re creating a coworking environment specifically to suit your needs, complete with MCLE-accredited classes and networking events. Why work from home when you can share space with fellow legal professionals?

Contact us today to find out how to join.

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