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What not to do when co-working

Shared spaces may be a little more relaxed than traditional offices, but that doesn’t mean you can leave your manners at the door and do whatever you like.

Co-working brings a really diverse mix of people together, which is why good office etiquette is crucial to achieving cohesion and collaboration.

Bad and downright bizarre behaviour will not only ruin the atmosphere, it could negatively affect your reputation and business.

Here is what not to do in a co-working space.


Good office etiquette is crucial to the smooth functioning of a co-working space. Picture: Helena Lopes/ Unsplash

1. Don’t bring drama

People look for community and positivity in co-working spaces, so when one person brings their personal issues into the office, it can have a very negative impact.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t confide in your co-workers when you have a bad day or family emergency every once in a while. But you should be careful not to make a habit of it, as constantly bombarding them with negative stories will likely affect their enjoyment of the space.

2. Don’t overstay your booking

It is important to wrap up on time when it comes to booked rooms.

By prolonging your meeting or call, you are delaying someone else’s, which could have negative consequences for their business.

3. Don’t use bad language

Foul mouthed co-workers are unlikely to be welcomed with open arms in a co-working space.

Professionalism is integral to business, and swearing is a sure-fire way to appear unprofessional and cause offense. So, keep that language for the pub.

meeting room

It’s important that you stick to your scheduled meeting times. Picture: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

4. Don’t talk loudly on your phone

No one likes being forced to listen to another person’s conversation.

It is not acceptable on public transport and it is definitely not welcome in an enclosed shared office.

So, to avoid annoying your co-workers, try to keep your voice at a suitable level when talking on the phone, and never take a call on speaker or video whilst in a common area.

If you are going to have a jovial chat with your friends or a Jerry Maguire “show me the money” moment, take it outside.

5. Don’t gossip

Co-working is about making connections and building a network, which will be difficult if you are known as the office gossip.

If you talk behind people’s backs, or consistently spread rumours, it will create a negative atmosphere, which could result in people avoiding you.


Discussing ideas with fellow freelancers is encouraged in most co-working spaces. But there’s no place for swearing or excessive showboating. Picture: Helena Lopes/Unsplash

6. Don’t boast

So, you’re doing so well, you want to shout it from the rooftops. Good for you.

The only problem is that no one wants to hear you blow your own trumpet.

Being proud of your achievements is one thing, but nothing will make a struggling co-worker feel worse than your constant bragging, so keep showboating to a minimum.

7. Don’t complain

The occasional whine is okay, but regularly complaining is sure to drive your co-workers up the wall.

If you have lots of things to moan about, then maybe it’s time to find a new space.

8. Don’t only join for the networks

While the ‘never stop hustling’ mantra may work on the startup funding circuit, it’s unlikely to make you friends in a shared office.

Constantly being on the lookout for networking opportunities will disturb those around you, and could also give off the impression that you’re only interested in people who can give you something in return, which, ironically, is more likely to impede your networking efforts than to facilitate them.

By all means, share your business with new contacts. Just remember that sometimes it’s more important to get your head down and work.


Focusing on your own work is often more important than networking – and a less disruptive strategy for your co-workers, too. Picture: Jose Aljovin/Unsplash

9. Don’t bring your kids to work

While co-working spaces may be relaxed, they are still professional areas and not somewhere to take your children. The last thing your co-workers want when they’re hosting important clients is kids running around the office space.

If your child is sick or your care option has fallen through, then stay home; don’t think it’s okay to park them at a hot desk.

Many shared offices these days have a connected childcare centre, so perhaps look out for this feature before settling on a new a shared office space.

Look for the perfect co-working community on Spacely.

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